Measure Twice, Cut Once

This is an old cliche that always sticks in the back of my mind. Better to size up a task thoroughly before undertaking it.
Imagine if the builders of the Golden Gate Bridge never bothered to measure the suspension cables before they installed them. On a smaller scale, imagine that Starbucks failed to measure the ingredients before they created your latte this morning.
I was invited to take an online survey at Starbucks recently (they bribed me with a $5 gift card). Took me about 15 minutes:http://www.starbucks.com/connectwithus. They asked me about 20 questions regarding my visits to the stores and whether or not I bought the food (mostly pastries, coffee cakes, and other sweets). They asked me if I bought their food, when, and even why. They asked me whether it mattered to me if the food was prepared in the store or delivered. I would hope that they’ll glean some good information from asking people like me (who visit regularly) what I want in breakfast food. You see, I rarely buy the food because it’s mostly junk. Sell me a protein bar or something healthier and I’m yours!
What’s notable about this little anecdote is that Starbucks took the time to ask the customer. That’s pretty impressive. What’s even more impressive is that they offered me $5 in caffeine for my trouble.
They’re measuring the situation (likely sluggish food sales) carefully. How simple. Such common sense! As Stephen Covey explains (author, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People), though, what’s common sense is not often common practice.
Knowing Starbucks, I’m sure they’ll capitalize on the results.