From the time my girls were little, they learned to do something we coined “taking care of business.” That meant they figured out how to get their needs met—while staying calm and addressing the needs of others involved in the situation.
Both my girls are now in their mid-twenties, and they’re making their mark in the world. But over the years, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve picked up the phone where one of my daughters started the conversation by saying, “I took care of business today”—and then proudly proceeded to share how she approached a current problem with that mindset.
Last night I received one of those calls from my youngest daughter. She is the owner of the Brain Highways Center in Denver, and it turns out that the gas station right by her place was chosen by talk show host Ellen Degeneres to be part of a free gas give-away promotion. But it was top-secret until the name of the gas station was announced to the public.
So there was pandemonium as soon as the people of Centennial (a suburb of Denver) heard the news. Lines and lines of cars backed up with people waiting for their turn at the pump. Multiple police officers had to even arrive on the scene, just to keep the mayhem to a minimum.
But not everyone wanted free gas. Some of those cars had parents and their kids, who were on their way to Brain Highways. Yet, they were now stuck in a line of backed up cars with no hopes of making their class on time.
Kiley (my daughter) knew those families would be upset if they missed class. She also knew that many of them came from as far as 60 miles away, so it would be extra frustrating to have driven all that way for nothing.
That’s when she decided . . . to take care of business.
First, she walked over to the gas station to get clarification as to what was going on and why the other businesses hadn’t been notified. (The promotion literally shut down every business in that shopping center.)
She quickly learned it was an Ellen Degeneres promotion and that keeping everything confidential—down to the last minute—was part of the deal.
With that information, Kiley graciously acknowledged how the owner of the gas station certainly wouldn’t have wanted to jeopardize the promotion by breaking the rules. But, as the owner of Brain Highways Denver, she knew her families were going to be upset and frustrated if they missed class. So how could they move forward?
Here’s what “taking care of business” brought about:
1) The police officers agreed to give V.I.P. treatment to the Brain Highways families by holding off oncoming traffic and re-routing the Brain Highways families into the shopping center.
2) Brain Highways staff quickly got on the phone and called the rest of the families who were scheduled to come to classes that day so they now had the heads-up to tell the police officers, “We’re on our way to Brain Highways.”
3) The gas station owner gave Kiley $400.00 worth of gas cards, which she, in turn, gave to her families and staff to help compensate for any inconvenience they may have endured while trying to get to the Brain Highways Center.
4) The owner of the gas station came over to the Brain Highways Center that evening to personally apologize, again, for the inconvenience.
To Kiley’s knowledge, none of the other businesses in her same shopping center did anything—other than complain and get upset over the situation. My guess is . . . they’re still angry today about yesterday’s lost revenues.
But here’s the good news for those business owners and everyone else. Anyone can learn to “take care of business”—at any age. It merely begins with this mindset: If we stay in our cortex and approach situations with a problem-solving perspective, it’s possible to meet everyone’s needs.
Now doesn’t that sound like a world we’d all like to live in?