I went to the grocery store and bought 21 items. The cashier folded my receipt multiple times and I stuck it in my pocket and when I returned home I laid it on my desk so later I could enter the amount I spent in my accounting program.
I had done this many times and always after recording the amount I just rip off the un-essential part of the receipt, throw it away and file the rest. This time I decided to read the receipt and after doing so decided to measure it. It was 24 3/8 inches long. The essential part to me was the total so I could just as well been satisfied with a one line receipt.
But the grocery store decided that I needed to know each item purchased, the gross price, the instant discount they applied, a summary of the total savings, the fuel points I earned and the basic rules for redemption, how much I have saved year-to-date using their customer loyalty card, where to apply for a job with them, an offer for a credit card and finally some legal stuff their attorneys made them say.
On the reverse side of the receipt were 15 coupons from other merchants which I am sure the grocery chain received revenue for placing them there. So the receipt becomes a very cost effective and clever way for the grocery to advertise. They have taken a common communication occurrence, getting a receipt for something you bought, and used it as an opportunity to present more information.
Leaders should take a lesson from the grocery store and remember that every time you have to opportunity to communicate with a follower, you should also view it as an opportunity to further connect. Connecting helps you establish influence and build trust which become essential elements when asking for commitment and effecting change in an organization.
So when you have an opportunity to communicate take a lesson from my grocery store and issue a two foot receipt.