There is no charge for awesomeness.

Would you like fries with that?

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In the nine-minute video above, a bright, ambitious young woman takes an entry-level job at McDonald’s. Her mother is not impressed, and thinks her daughter has thrown her life away and resigned herself to a career as a sweaty fry cook.

Watch it all the way through, and, unless you have no soul, you’ll be touched and realize a few things about the value of work, forgiveness and the love of your family.

Now, I don’t think McDonald’s is a company deserving of sainthood. Ray Kroc’s system of franchises has cluttered the American landscape and fattened millions of Americans (myself included). But the company does something amazing and nearly impossible: They make the exact same things the exact same way, every day.

You can go into a McDonald’s in Cleveland or Houston or London and the fries will taste the same. The milkshake will taste the same. There’s a comfort in that expectation, and that consistency is part of the reason those golden arches are a symbol not just of fast food, but of America itself.

It’s easy to make a hamburger taste sort of the same every day. Heck, it’s easy to do most anything almost the same way – cook a burger, publish a magazine or mow a lawn. But to do it the exact same way thousands of times a day in locations spread across the world is very, very difficult.

Any company should strive to have that same sort of consistency – in its production, in its interviews, in its customer interactions. Doing so makes it easier for your employees to execute, but also makes it easier for your customers to do business with you. There’s no question about what they’ll get in return.

And, more broadly, the landscape industry needs a video like this. Just as there’s more to working at McDonald’s than being “just a fry cook,” you know there’s a lot more to your work than being “just a landscaper.”

Chances are your company has – or tries to have – the same things our heroine wants: friendly employees, opportunities for improvement and advancement, programs to give back to your community. What you do is valuable and helps others. It’s time to start telling people that.


December 12th, 2011 at 12:49 pm

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