My Top 3 Skills

Every single human possesses several skills, whether they are born with it or acquired through training. I have identified my top three skills that I would like to share.

Situational Leadership
Whenever I am in charge of a project that involves a group of people, I have this one rule I follow: Don’t do the right thing, do the correct thing. It seems odd but allow me to explain.

Countless times, I found myself facing a dilemma whenever I worked at Starbucks. An issue would arise and I would be in the “right side” of the story because of my experience in the workplace. However, I began to wonder why things would not CHANGE for good. I will never forget this one time, my co-worker, Gabriel did not know how to properly charge whipped creams. The way he prepared it would come out all liquidy, without that subtle vanilla flavor.

The other shift supervisors knew about this so they would intentionally not allow him to prepare it. I was well aware of the situation. At that particular moment, I had many tasks going on so I had asked Gabe to prepare whipped creams as part of his responsibilities. The ‘right’ thing to have done is for me to make the whipped creams so as to increase efficiency thus preventing him from learning how to correctly do it. I had other plans in mind. He prepares the whipped creams. We tried one of the three whipped creams. Texture was slushy-like. When he recognized that, he immediately asked, “how do you correctly make whipped creams?” Then, I gave him a quick step-by-step on how to correct prepare it.

Now, Gabriel can make whipped creams the right way so you can enjoy your perfect frappuccino. Doing the correct thing may seem unpopular at first glance but it’s better than being on the right side of things and not see growth occur.

I was not born an organizer but my brother was. We have shared a room from the time I was a baby until I was 18 years old and he was an extremely organized, neat freak. I would always think to myself why he would always fold his clothes, keep his shoes aligned and have his toiletries orderly compartmentalized. On the other hand, my approach was to throw things and have a whatever attitude like most kids that age. If I really wanted to find something I would actually take the time to look for it but as I got older his organizing skills were making more sense to how the world truly works.

Fast forward a few years to me being in charge of ordering and receiving a giant weekly shipment at my job. We are talking about two pallets, four feet high, filled with toilet paper, coffee beans, syrups and miscellaneous. I had asked for the responsibility of putting this order away because re-stocking did not make sense to me. A lot of labor time was being lost because of the disorganization in the backroom. I made a list of the most used products (juices, cups, mocha powder),then another list of items that would be re-stocked once or twice a week (honey, hot tea bags). I then re-organized the whole storage room making it more efficient and logical. I did not stop there. I printed a layout of where everything was placed and the why behind it so every single partner would be in the know.

I may not have the organizing ability flowing through my veins but it is a skill I have learned to master for the benefit of others.

Any given food service store has three shifts: the open/morning shift, the mid shift and the closing shift. When I started to work for Starbucks, I would go to college in the afternoon time and would work evenings. The tempo was undemanding so the focus was on cleaning. I had mastered closing the store by sweeping the floors, re-stocking for the next day, doing inventory and intense cleaning. It was like clockwork.

When holiday season came, my manager had mentioned to me that the morning shift needed a few extra personnel. I made the decision to change my availability. The priority when opening a store is to set it up for success. It took me a few weeks to ‘change the chip’ with simple things such as setting a positive tone from the moment you walk in or kindly assisting new partners. If they did not know how to do a simple task such as cleaning an ice bin, I would encourage them it is okay to not know the standard procedure right away or even make mistakes as long as you learn from them. I also became aware of how closing the store at night with things left undone can affect the rest of the next day. If there was money missing from the day before, the morning after I had to find out what had happened, why the money was missing thus taking time from my other responsibilities. At first it was tedious but in time I came to embrace problem-solving.

That is when I decided to let my manager know that I wanted to work opening, mid and closing shifts because I wanted to become more adaptable in the workplace. She honored my request and because of that, along with hard work, I ended up becoming assistant manager of a $500k/year store.

Whenever my boss left for vacation, I was the first person my partners would rely on because I knew the ins and outs of the store from open to close. My co-workers would phone me on my days off and I would gladly assist them. Having an adaptable mindset towards diverse situations has helped me grow as an employee and human being.

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