I Want My Two Dollars!

Bob FranquizLeadership

I took my niece and nephew to Toys R’ Us today to buy them a kickball and what I experienced what a total disaster. The kickballs were on sale for $4.99. Sounds good. I picked up 2 of them and an old school wiffle ball and bat (I could have won the Cy Young award of Wiffle Ball if such an award existed – I’m that good!)

Anyway, we get to the register and there’s 5 people on front of us and only 1 lane open. This sends me through the roof. (Don’t managers check sales by the hour to determine the level of manpower needed to run the store? I would think so.) After several minutes of waiting, we get to the register and the kickballs ring up for $5.99. I didn’t feel like giving Toys R’ Us an extra $2 of my money, so I told the cashier the sign where the other 500 kickballs were said $4.99. She calls someone over the intercom (which sounded horrible by the way – I mean we put a man on the moon, can’t NASA help us out with intercoms and drive-thru speakers). Minutes go by and nothing. She then goes to the customer service counter and talks to someone. Then she returns and calls someone else on the intercom. At this point, I’m willing to pay the $2, but I’m dying to find out how this ends.

After another couple of minutes, the cashier tells my pregnant wife that she might want to go back and get the sign. I’m ready to come unglued at this point. Then a high school kid comes over and speaks to the cashier and my wife takes him to the sign. After another couple of minutes (By the way, there are about 15 people waiting to pay at this point) Carey and the High School Sophomore return with the $4.99 sign.

Then once the cashier has seen the sign, she gets on the intercom and calls for a manager (no, I’m not making this up) because she needs to make a price correction. The manager does the price correction and we finally get to leave.

Where do I even begin? Why not allow the cashier some leeway in changing prices (i.e. Target)? They enraged about 20 people who had to wait for 20 minutes over two dollars. Mr. Toys R. Us, is $2 worth repeat business? Even if I read the sign wrong (Which I didn’t), does that even matter? Is there a plan if you get busier than usual? Why does only 1 person have all the juice to make decisions?

It got me thinking about church world and how many churches operate like this. The Pastor is the only one with any authority to make decisions or changes. The Pastor thinks that the people in his church are cheering him on as he visits every sick person, officiates every wedding, and counsels every hurting person. They aren’t. They are frustrated. The staff is frustrated because they know they could help the Pastor but he won’t get off his ego trip to let others more gifted than him help him.

May that never be said of us. My staff has the authority to make plenty of decisions so I don’t have to be involved. The day I become the bottleneck is the day we’re done, because the church can’t grow past me. We have to trust the competent people around us to give them responsibility and authority. Sometimes Pastors give the former and not the latter. If you are willing to give away responsibility and not authority, you aren’t willing to give away either. Because both are linked. That cashier wasn’t responsible, because she had no authority to carry out the right decision.

Moral of the story: Give your staff the authority to make decisions that further your vision and minister to people. Anything else is one guy scrambling over two dollars…