• Sunday, April 30, 2006

    CEO on how to treat waiters – irony defined.

    Raytheon CEO drops bomb on the masses – etiquette bomb, that is.

    Insights in his new book include observations such as the following: People who are rude to waiters are not nice people.

    The news of this book dispensing pearls of wisdom from Raytheon CEO Bill Swanson, is brought to us by that hard news, analytical monster, USA Today. Did I mention that Raytheon is giving away 250K of his books? This must be the work of his poor PR person. As public opinion on the war - his company’s cash cow - plummets, does anyone out there besides me wonder about the irony of a man who profits from war coaching us on civility and values?

    Maybe these insights are news to those with the corner offices, but my guess is you could ask any 100 people laboring in the cubicles around him and they’d have some eye-opening info for him. Thanks Bill. By the way, have you checked your own employees to see who among them has footprints on their back resembling the shoes of their bosses?

    Bill warns us to be wary of those with situational values who can turn on the charm depending on the perceived status of the person with whom they are dealing. His example comes from a dining experience where someone was transparently rude to a waiter while being polite to him. Only someone as out of touch as the guy at the top could possibly think those of us who actually have waited tables, or worked in corporate America, needs this lesson on how to spot fair or decent people.

    But let’s put all that nasty war talk aside, it’s bad for digestion. Let’s dish instead!

    What are your top executive-without-a-clue stories?
    - I had a boss who chastised me for coming in at 9:05 ready to work, while she came in at 9:00 and spent 20 minutes blow-drying her hair at her desk. She also failed to notice that I worked 2 hours after she left each night.

    - Another dinged me on a performance evaluation for not making my numbers. Didn't think I'd save every memo about projects he stole from me when business was slow, so he could be sure to make his numbers.

    - How about the one who rewarded my co-worker who was running an internet porn site from the office while sending me to a client my predecessor had so embarrassed, our company was asked never to set foot there again. Thanks for the heads up there, Dave!

    Or bad service stories…Here are some of the LDG's pet peeves:
    - a server who asks "are you still working on that?"
    Unless I'm wearing a hard hat at your table, I'm eating, dining or enjoying a meal, not "working on that." "Working on that" sounds like, I don't know, I've made a bet with my companion that I actually finish every morsel served, or I'm in a competitive eating contest.

    - a server who is never wrong:
    e.g. "I'm sorry, there's a hair in my food." "No there isn't." "Yes, see, here it is."

    - a server who cannot answer a basic question about a menu item:
    e.g. "The osso buco?- "I don't know, I don't eat meat."
    e.g. “The salmon? – I don’t know, I don’t eat fish.”
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