This morning it was 21 degrees in Denver.  Quite the contrast from last week.

Last week I was in Ft. Lauderdale having lunch with several friends on Las Olas Boulevard, not far from the beach.  We were at a restaurant we had been to before.  This time the service was very poor.  Two meals had to be re-ordered because they ran out of food and hadn’t told the waitress.  When we asked for a complimentary appetizer while we were waiting for the re-order, they offered a bowl of soup – for three people.  After we had spent $100 on lunch, we asked to talk with the manager.  He arrived at our table defensive and said that one bowl of soup for three people was “very reasonable”.

We were stunned.  I had never had such an irrational, freakish conversation with a restaurant manager.  My friend, Karen, said, “Oh my God, that’s not the way to have handled this problem.  You should never avoid a problem.  You should always RUN IN TO A PROBLEM.”  She proceeded to describe all of the ways she would have turned the situation around.

Simple, powerful advice.  So next time you have a problem, consider how to Run IN TO the problem.  Rather than stepping away, avoiding, and hoping it will go away, a problem is best resolved when we run IN TO the problem.

So set aside your self-protective posture. Clearly identify the problem at hand. Put yourself into a proactive inner state.  Design a strategy of resolution, and carry through.  Avoidance can cause something poor to become something worse.

If you’re not sure how to resolve the matter, don’t be shy about asking for help.  The more quickly you take care of it, the better you’ll feel.

We’ll never return to that restaurant.  We’ll tell our family, friends, and business associates.  We’ll blog about the experience.  We’ll post poor survey reviews.

Gees, if the manager had been proactive – running IN TO the problem, the story would have ended much differently.  If he had given us an appetizer, we would have felt fairly compensated for our inconvenience.  If he had offered two appetizers or free desserts, or coupons for our next visit in addition to the appetizer, we would have felt valued.  We would have gladly returned again and spread the good word – a manager who genuinely valued customers.

Instead, we left feeling our lunch experience was about as comfortable as 21 degrees in Denver.