Published on: June 11, 2019by Michael Sansolo
There are times the movies predict the future all too well. In Ocean’s Eleven (2001), the Las Vegas casino heist movie, one comment repeatedly made is that in the hotel central to the movie, “someone is always watching,” which leads to all kinds of plot issues.
In the real world, the notion that someone is always watching is becoming truer by the day. Sometimes that leads to wonderful discoveries. The Washington Post ran two articles last week about low-level staffers in different places connecting in almost remarkable ways with autistic customers.
In one case, it was a staffer at Universal Studios theme park in Florida who mitigated a major meltdown by a young boy disappointed when his favorite ride shut down. The staffer simply lay on the ground next to the boy and talked him through the difficult moment.
The second case took place in Rouse’s supermarket in Baton Rogue, LA, where a stock clerk made an amazing connection with an autistic teen by allowing him to help stock a shelf. Both were small events, but thanks to the non-stop presence of smartphone video cameras, both ended up getting widely reported.
Of course, those cameras don’t always catch the best of times. As you probably heard and saw last week, there was a viral video focused on alleged animal abuse at a Fair Oaks Farm in Indiana. The video, easily found on Google, raises all kinds of questions.
For instance, the video was distributed by an animal rights group and that doesn’t always translate to what anyone would consider fair and balanced news. Also, the video was painful to watch especially for city kids like me who have little to no idea how things actually work on a farm.
But here’s the other reality of today’s world. This kind of thing happens, it happens a lot and it will keep happening. The reason we need focus on stories like this is to see how other respond and to consider what we would do.
In the Fair Oaks case, founder Mike McCloskey wasted no time posting a video of his own. Now to be clear, I’m not an unbiased observer as Fair Oaks’ products - Fairlife Milk - is distributed by Coca-Cola, my main client and frankly, I find the company’s chocolate milk to be a marvelous post-workout reward.
McCloskey’s video was sober and sad, which I felt showed genuine concern on the part of the founder. He explained his disappointment in the workers shown in the videos, the steps Fair Oaks was taking to punish those caught on camera and also, importantly, to explain what the company would be doing in the future to back up its promises. Again, I’m biased, but I thought he handled it as well as possible. McCloskey and the folks at Fairlife (who also issued a statement) showed concern and took action, and while they referenced the motives of the animal rights group they didn’t use their moment simply attacking the accusers.
They admitted fault, outlined action and did it with no trace of arrogance or defiance.
Frankly, I think it’s a video everyone should be watching because everybody has a camera and a point to make - they can be friendly to our businesses or they can be hostile, and it is critical for you to consider your own training policies and crisis management procedures.
We can all hope those videos will catch our people like the staffers at Universal and Rouse’s doing amazing things. But don’t count on it.
Michael Sansolo can be reached via email at email@example.com . His book, “THE BIG PICTURE: Essential Business Lessons From The Movies,” co-authored with Kevin Coupe, is available on Amazon by clicking here. And, his book "Business Rules!" is available from Amazon by clicking here.
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