The Coffee and the Cup – A Tale of Two Admin Things


This is the story of the coffee and the cup.


Coffee was happy being coffee. Many people like Coffee. It starts its day early in the morning and gets right to work. Coffee is energetic and brightens people’s days. Coffee isn’t always the center of attention, but it punctuates many gatherings as either the first thing or last thing that people enjoy together.


Cup was also happy being a cup, but it felt a little….empty inside. It desired something more…something to fill itself. Cup still wanted to be a cup, but without something to pour in it, it wasn’t fulfilling its purpose. Cup sat on a shelf, waiting to be used.


Good Morning, Bob

Meanwhile, Bob was in a hurry to start his day. Like many people, Bob wanted to start his day with Coffee. When Bob poured Coffee, it spilled all over the counter, dribbling down the cabinets and onto the floor. Bob jumped back in surprise and anger, “what the…!?”

The coffee shouted, “Why are you so upset!? You wanted Coffee, and I’m still Coffee. You never said anything about needing me in a cup.”

Bob grumbled and spent the next ten minutes cleaning up the mess he’d made. 

Cup looked longingly at Coffee dripping off the towel as Bob cleaned. If only Bob had used me properly, I could have saved Coffee, Cup thought. Cup trotted off the shelf within arm’s reach, ready for the next time Bob wanted a cup of coffee. 

Bob returned to the counter a few minutes later, ready for his Cup. Cup was directly in front of him this time. Bob snatched up Cup and tried to drink. As he inhaled nothing but air, he let out a choking sound and peered inside the empty Cup with a frown. 

See, Bob had everything he needed for an enjoyable cup of coffee, but he couldn’t seem to manage them properly together. 


Thing 1: The Admin Team

The structure of your admin support team is like the story of the coffee and the cup. The team itself is the coffee and the structure around it is the cup. 


Just like coffee, your admin support team brings energy and fuel to the company. They are frequently the first and last steps in your major processes. They are consistent and reliable, but also adaptable to their surroundings. However, without structure, the team (or the coffee), spills onto every surface. Tasks fall through the cracks, messes are made, nothing is prioritized or systematized. Your team has great intentions and skills, but those intentions mean very little when mismanaged, leaving you with a mess to clean up.


Thing 2: The Structure

Your structure is the cup. The cup doesn’t do much by itself. If you try to drink from an empty cup, you’ll suck in air and suffocate your company by trying to do everything yourself, while accomplishing very little. This leads to frustration and exhaustion. A beautifully crafted cup looks nice but has little purpose when left on the shelf. 

Similarly, a well-thought-out structure for your business looks great on the shelf. Many business coaches offer elaborate frameworks and systems to implement in your business. They sound nice and come with pretty templates, but those frameworks serve little purpose without the right team to implement them. 

By pouring the coffee into the cup, the coffee takes the shape of the container to deliver a wonderful experience to your morning. The cup protects the purpose of the coffee, keeping it warm, keeping it fresh, and transporting it where it needs to go. Without the coffee, the cup serves little purpose other than for show, just like those pretty frameworks.

Managing your team by providing the structure protects their purpose and keeps processes on track, delivering the desired outcome without a mess to clean up.


How do you get the coffee into the right cup?

How do you know you have the right structure to keep your team purposeful and focused? The Adminnovate Model helps you define your own structure. No matter if your cup is big, small, chipped, paper, porcelain, colorful or plain, the team adapts to its shape. Shape one that fits your organization by implementing the Adminnovate Model. 

Need help? Contact Jamie to learn how she can help with your team structure using the Adminnovate Model today. [email protected]

When you have a team in the right structure, you start every day with a strong cup of good coffee.


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