Alain de Botton’s ‘Cake Shop.’
At the HR Summit in Istanbul Alain de Botton spoke of the frustration that many people in corporate life experience, borne out of their inability to see the tangible end products of their decisions and actions. He said it is often simply a consequence of scale.
De Botton illustrated this from his observations of career counselling. He pointed out how so many executives, when asked to soul-search for what they would really like to do, confess to having a private dream of owning a cake shop!
What lies behind this wish apparently is the notion that customers arrive with an express tangible need or desire, which can be met simply, pleasantly and sweetly. The refreshing uncomplicated act of giving people something that delights them in an immediate positive way is what the executives crave most of all.
Whilst such immediacy may still seem extraordinarily challenging to achieve from a remote eerie in a blue chip hierarchy or lost in space in an international matrix, there is still the real chance of making a palpable contribution for internal customers.
At least we can serve them from our own internal Tuck Shop and make an immediate impact that way. That is the daily reward and solace of the servant-leader.
“If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way.” Napoleon Hill.