subwayI have a confession to make: I’m fairly much obsessive-compulsive about Subway (the sandwich shop, not the underground trams). I take a lot of razzing for being O.C. about a fast-food joint. But my son seems to understand. This past week he pointed me to an interview explaining a bit about how Subway sandwiches have become so delicious. (Thanks Caleb.)

If you’ve ever eaten at Subway, you might know how great of a job its leaders work to insure that every single sandwich is uniformly perfect. By contrast, if you’ve ever led a team, an organization, or a company, you know how hard it is to build a unity of purpose and a uniformity of accomplishing it. It only takes one single sandwich shop to repulse a customer. That happened to my wife this past week. She ordered (in one of our many Subway stops on a trip to northeastern Ohio) a Subway with spinach which, upon further examination, looked fairly spoiled. (OK, I’m being generous. It actually looked like a bad case of food poisoning.) The lady who had made our sandwiches had, from the beginning, seemed a bit sketchy. “Do you want the avocado on your meat? …or on the bread,” she had asked me. (How do I know? You’re supposed to be the “sandwich artist.”) By the time she figured out the cash register, our Subway order had probably taken 30 minutes. I admit: It was not a pleasant experience. But the terrible quality of the food left my wife with a jaded impression of my favorite restaurant chain. Sadness.

My hunch is, the same thing can happen when one of the missionaries in your organization doesn’t have answers for a prospective supporter. Or the member of your church is a bit unsure of the future of your congregation. So the question becomes, How do YOU build camaraderie, teamness, and, just as importantly, a culture of “others-centeredness.” Got any testimonies or surefire approaches? Can you recount a case study like the video of making [good] sandwich at Subway? If so, please click “Comment” following the online web version of this item. We’d love to hear your input. Thanks in advance for taking time.