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2 minute office breakfast

I was sitting in a diner recently, ordering some breakfast, when the waitress asked the patron next to me the very short question, “The usual?”. He responded with a nod and a mumble, followed by his breakfast far faster than mine.

At the local Vietnamese restaurant, I have a particular dish I enjoy and get all the time, regardless of whatever else I order. As soon as I walk in, I note that the staff has already started putting it together without my having to ask, and I’m always delighted to get it.

There’s a very good chance that the usual does exist at your company, even in businesses that don’t clearly appear to be service-based businesses. For example, I was talking to someone recently about their experience with a software company and one of the things that was lacking recently was “the usual” from their account manager, a weekly phone call. There’s a “usual” that went missing – and noticed.

Think about even the most basic of social media routines. If you blog daily and you miss a day or two, do people notice? Do they ask? If they do, then you’ve got a “usual” that clearly has value to them. I know that when I don’t have an opportunity to post #the5 on any given day, people let me know that “the usual” wasn’t served.

Here’s your homework: identify “the usual” that you serve, then figure out how to slowly tweak it over time so that it’s even more valuable, to the point where, when it goes missing, people notice and ask you about it.

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