In the midst of a men’s group pancake breakfast yesterday, I volunteered to run to Wal-Mart and pick up more pancake batter. The huge grocery store we normally use was closed for Easter so and we thought Wal-Mart might be open – it was.
I ran in, got the pancake batter, and sped through the self-checkout line. Before leaving the store I realized that I needed to get change for a five-dollar bill – some quarters and four singles. I went to the register and pulled out the $5 only to find out they won’t make change for a five-dollar bill. This aggravated me because I had just paid for the pancake batter with a Visa card, not with a twenty-dollar bill. They said, “We aren’t allowed to do this anymore.” I explained that I had just purchased groceries. No luck.
I ran over to the customer service center and pulled out my five-dollar bill only to find the same. They said they don’t make any exceptions. Keep in mind that this is Easter morning and the store isn’t busy. No one is behind me. Really aggravated now, I walked over to the McDonald’s that is located in the store and they gladly gave me change – even though I didn’t buy any product like I just had at Wal-Mart.
Because I’m so stubborn I won’t shop at this Wal-Mart again. Target is five miles further but I’ll make the drive. I hate when companies do stupid stuff – especially when I have a choice for alternatives.
This got me thinking and wondering if we have any stupid rules that aggravate our customers. Better yet, do we have any stupid rules that aggravate our employees?
In my previous life I did speeches about the subject of “onboarding” – what happens between the time you first interview someone and they have worked with you up to one year? During that time people are still deciding if they are going to continue working for you.
I also learned about the difference between when people “quit” and when people “leave.” Let me give you an example. Have you ever quit a job before you left that job? I’ve heard stories in which people actually quit over a year before they left – they were simply waiting for the right opportunity to leave. The instant the right opportunity comes along they leave.
Think about this. How good of an effort are your people giving you if they know, in their minds and in their hearts, that it is only a matter of time before they jump ship? What are they saying to their families about your company? What are they saying to their friends about your company? What are they saying to YOUR customers about your company? Are they doing work on the side? Are they soliciting work behind your back with your customers for when they leave?
Let’s go back to the stupid rules or policies scenario.
What would your customers say about how easy it is to do business with you? I’m not talking about smart business rules like paying for the job at the time it is done and not carrying any accounts receivable. I’m talking about the “we don’t give change for a five-dollar bill” rule even though you just bought stuff from us. Do your employees think there are stupid rules for your customers?
If you have certain rules for your employees do you explain to your employees “why” you have those rules?
Leaders do thing that make sense for their customers and for their employees! Your biggest supporter or detractor is that same person you give a check to on Fridays. Don’t forget that.
Do me a favor this week. Ask your employees if they think you have any stupid rules that don’t make sense. Next, look around your office and figure out if anyone has already quit – but is simply looking for new job before they shock you by giving their notice.
You might learn a lot. Have a great week.