Tag: insiders

The con panna

When I was in graduate school, I worked at a coffee shop.

There, I developed a great love for coffee.  Good coffee.  Coffee that’s handpicked, handcrafted, and consumed at just the right temperature.  Coffee that’s paired with the right pastry, in the right season, at the right…heck, who am I kidding?  I’ll drink coffee anytime.

My all-time favorite hand-crafted masterpiece was the con panna.

photo via Justin Mcintosh

Con Panna means “with cream,” and it’s a simple drink to make.  Grab a canister of whip cream.  Then pull 2 (or, if you’re feeling extra frisky, make it 3) shots of espresso.  As soon as the shots are done brewing, transfer the shots to your demitasse cup, then top with whip cream.  It’s heaven. In a cup.

Most coffee shops, though, won’t have this drink listed on the menu.  They’ll have the traditional cappuccinos, lattes, and cafe mochas.  But no con panna.  And it’s not that they don’t know how to make it.  It’s just not a huge seller in America.  Most people in America want something with a little less kick…a little smoother and creamier.  They’re not looking for something with so much punch.

But if you want to be super cool, just order a con panna next time you’re at your local coffee shop. The barista will look at you with eyes that say, (*read the following with an Italian gangster accent)

How do you know about the con panna?

Then you’ll look back with eyes that say,

Hey! I know my stuff!

To which his eyes will respond,

A’right. A’right. I didn’t know. I’ll give ya a little respect.

To which your eyes will respond,

Don’t mess it up. I might mess you up.

I’ve shared the beauty of this drink with a lot of folks who frequent coffee shops.  You know what every one of them tells me?  “I am going to order that drink next time I go!”  Why?

Because everyone wants to feel like an insider.

There’s something about us that wants to feel like we have a leg-up on others.  That we’re a step ahead.  We know a bit more.  We are in a bit deeper.  We’re just a little bit more awesome than the rest of the people in this coffee shop.

You might spin that thought and think that it’s related to pride.  But I don’t think it is.  I think it’s a reflection of our desire to learn, grow, change, and improve.  And when it comes to leading people, this is an invaluable quality to overlook.

In leading people, help them feel like they’re insiders.

  • Let them know what’s coming next…before it comes.
  • Run an idea by them before it’s announced publicly.
  • Ask for their input in prep for your next event.
  • Tell them an idea you’ve been sitting on but haven’t fleshed out.
  • Ask them to lead in an area that you haven’t yet explored as an organization.
  • Encourage them to bring their ideas to the table…and then act on some of them.

The more knowledge you give people, the more valued they feel.

The more knowledge you give people, the more they feel like a vital part of the organization.

The more knowledge you give people, the more they will give of themselves.

The more knowledge you give people, the better results your entire team will experience.

Try it.


Have you ever had a con panna?  Do you even like coffee?


The “visitor” treatment

I read this on a sign at an O’Charley’s restaurant I visited in Nashville:

At our place, everybody’s a regular.

What a powerful statement, especially to me on my first time in the restaurant.  That sign told me that I was being viewe a regular customer, even though it was my first time to ever step foot into the place.  I knew none of the waiters or waitresses.  I didn’t have my “special” seat.  The waiter didn’t know my name or what I “always ordered.”  Yet from the moment I stepped foot into the restaurant, I felt valued.

And the service I received backed that up.

I felt like an honored guest.  My waiter went out of his way to make sure I was served well.  He was skilled at his job, and was great at making our table feel served and appreciated.  I really did feel like I was a regular there.  The service was beyond my expectations…especially because there were 40 people in our group.  My tea was always full.  He made sure I was satisfied with each course of food.  He made sure my son was happy.  And he never seemed frustrated that my son was roaming throughout our section (for the record, he doesn’t normally do that, but he was in a foul mood because he was sick, so we let him roam a bit).

Yeah, our service was top notch.

This principle holds true in churches as well.

The way you treat visitors at your church says much about what you, as a church, value.  If you treat them as honored guests, you are saying:

1. We love you, even though we don’t know your story.

2. God loves you, and He does know your story.

3. We love others because God loves us…not because a person is an “insider.”

4. It’s ok to “come as you are.”  Questions, mess, and all.

5. God’s big enough to handle your junk.

Can it be said of a typical Sunday morning at your local church, “At our place, everybody’s a regular.”?

When was the last time you thought, “What impact will this have on first time guests?” as you were planning a Sunday morning environment?

Have you ever tried putting yourself in the shoes of a first-timer, trying to see and experience what they do, from the parking lot to the worship service and the children’s environments?


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