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Years ago, I wrote about a retail store in the Palo Alto environs—a good one, which had a box of two-cent candies at the checkout. I subsequently remember that 'little' parting gesture of the two-cent candy as a symbol of all that is Excellent at that store. Dozens of people who have attended seminars of mine—from retailers to bankers to plumbing-supply-house owners—have come up to remind me, sometimes 15 or 20 years later, of 'the two-cent candy story', and to tell me how it had a sizable impact on how they did business, metaphorically and in fact.
"Well, the Two-Cent Candy Phenomenon has struck again—with oomph and in the most unlikely of places.
"For years, Singapore's 'brand" has more or less been Southeast Asia's 'place that works'....But as 'the rest' in the geographic neighborhood closed the efficiency gap, and China continued to rise-race-soar, Singapore decided a couple of years ago to 'rebrand' itself as not only a place that works but also as an exciting, 'with it' city.
"Singapore's fabled operating efficiency starts, as indeed it should, at ports of entry—the airport being a prime example. From immigration to baggage claim to transportation downtown, the services are unmatched anywhere in the world for speed and efficiency:
- The entry form was a marvel of simplicity.
- The lines were short, very short, with more than adequate staffing.
- The process was simple and unobtrusive.
- The immigration officer could have easily gotten work at Starbucks; she was all smiles and courtesy.
- And Yes! Yes There was a little candy jar at each Immigration portal!
"Operationalizing: Make 'two-centing it' part and parcel of 'the way we do business around here'."