What We Can Learn From Ten Bullets

Tom Sachs is an artist living in NYC – he does some really interesting stuff, and he and I share a perhaps unhealthy obsession with outer space. ‘Ten Bullets’ is a trip through the rules that employees and visitors to his work space have to follow. Take a look:

Here’s what we in hospitality can learn from Tom and his Ten Bullets; whether or not you would ever want to work for Tom, it is totally transparent as to how you would work. His expectations are laid out clearly and without ambiguity – not just expectations but also how to make amends when expectations are not met – you pay the box!

I think as leaders, we can do a much better job setting expectations with our employees. When something goes wrong at your place of work, your first reflection should be back on your own expectations. If we do not clearly communicate what we want done and how we want it done, then we can’t reasonably be irritated when those expectations aren’t met.

Tom communicates his basic expectations in twenty minutes. I have worked places for months without anything like as clear a picture as he provides here. There is a certain duality to his phrase ‘working to code’ – while his code is a code of conduct, clearly stated and ready to be followed, many managers in hospitality really do encode their expectations: their real desires are hidden behind a complicated network of miscues and secret rules. This is bad for the manager, bad for the employee, and bad for the customer.

The Ten Bullets show you how to work, and how to make it right when you work incorrectly. Every business should have a video like this.

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