Pinnacleceo's Take

Experiences put to paper…

Archive for the month “July, 2012”

A Strategy Every Organization Must Avoid…Period!

The story goes that one day an un-assuming figure entered the halls of a very successful organization and was not really noticed at first.  Things were new and exciting and the potential for greatness filled the air.  For the most part, this person went about their daily routine harmlessly in the shadows until…

One day, something strange occurred.  Things got a little out of sorts.  The days did not go exactly as planned. Concerns and issues never experienced before needed prompt and effective attention.  For you see, things had gone so well, that over time, customers were taken for granted. Thoughts such as “our customers are not going anywhere” and “we are the only provider in town” crept in. Now naturally, this was never part of the plan. Everyone involved with the organization knew the importance of proactively keeping their eye on the ball, but suddenly this un-assuming individual began to take center stage. As calls and concerns came in, or when things did not go as planned, for some reason, this person became the “go-to” on just about everything.  Keep reading.

Well… as you can imagine this person became overwhelmed and could not keep up with all the demands and suddenly found it impossible to perform all that was necessary.  Despite their efforts to ask for assistance from other team members, things just kept coming in and passed to their responsibility and as a result this once unnoticed individual became the scapegoat for the failure of what was once a thriving entity. 

So you may be asking yourself, “How could one individual have such influence that they could run a highly successful organization into the ground”?  It is easy to see when you discover that the strategy put in place purposefully or not, was to give such critical responsibilities to  “Someone Else”.

Okay, I know you know this is just a story but if your organization has the attitude that it is someone else’s fault or responsibility, your fall could be legendary. Here are a few samples of how things get passed on to this member of your team.

“If someone else would have just trained me better, I would have…”

“You are absolutely correct, Mr/Mrs. Customer, someone should have told you about this!”

“I understand but that’s not my job, you need to talk to someone else in our service department”.

These are actual statements I have heard. Now please hear me.  I understand that a task may not be your specific responsibility, but, there is a right way and a wrong way to “hand that person off” to the right individual and their name is never Someone Else!  Because when it comes to taking care of those who have chosen you, regardless of the request to some degree IT IS YOUR JOB!

At this point you might be thinking it is time for a three or four step approach to avoiding the services of “Someone Else” and you would be correct.  However, the solution to making certain this person never creeps into your organization can be discovered in one simple concept…personal responsibility at every level and role in your organization.

The greatest thing a successful CEO ever said to me was while conversing about the state of his company and the cause of their current unfavorable status was made clear when he stated; “The reason we are where we are is because of my actions.  It’s my fault”.  It takes a lot for any of us to say that but I am sure we all agree it beats leaving the strategy to fix things in the hands of Someone Else, right?

So my challenge to you and me is that if  “Someone Else”  ever steps in and voluntarily or involuntarily offers to takes matters into their care, dismiss them immediately and replace them with an army of individuals named “It Up to Me” and watch how your organization rises and stays at the top!


Beyond the Job Description…By Choice

On any given day at one of my favorite fast food establishments you will find eager to serve attendants standing in the parking lot waiting to serve you.  They are so efficient that the longest time I have ever spent in the maze to the window to get my food has been eight minutes (I have spent that much time at windows waiting on my food).

I began to ask myself, why would a company engage in such tactics to have employees waiting in the parking lots on hot summer days or bundled up on chilly winter days just to save customers a little extra time?  If this is such a simple task then why doesn’t every fast food company do the same thing?

At my local grocery store when we head to the car to place my groceries in the car, a very nice, young teenager engages me in a brief conversation by saying “so how is your day going?” They make sure they place my bags where I want them by asking “may I place your bags here?” and finally they always say “thanks for shopping with us”. Why do the go to such efforts to ensure I am satisfied?  After all, isn’t there JOB to put the bags in my car and move on to the next “carry out at aisle four”? And… I am certain none of these well-mannered teens are in training to be professional sackers, rather they are there to earn a little extra cash to support themselves or have a little extra money for the weekend.  So again I have to ask why do the little extra?

Finally, we had just wrapped up a training session in a business conference room.  There were papers and coffee cups everywhere.  Suddenly a man comes in the room whistling at the top of his lungs.  He began cleaning the room and continued his serenade.  I could not help but notice so I said to him “you sure are in a good mood today”.  He responded and said, “Oh not just today, everyday…I love my job, I’m so glad to be working!”  That’s when it hit me…

Every one of these examples clearly shows value and appreciation above and beyond the job description.  Each company, each person made a CHOICE to exceed what was described in their employee manual.  Several thoughts came to mind from these incidents that I still think about often to this very day.

1)      If you have a job, you are blessed. I know it may not be perfect, but if you have the opportunity to get up, get ready and go earn a living, you are very fortunate.  I know several people in thier 40’s who are faced with the process of figuring out how they are going to make ends meet, having to start all over again. (Ouch!).  So I say again, be thankful if you are gainfully employed. Believe me, there are many folks who would eagerly take your place.

2)      Do something extraordinary every day. Find a way to “make somebody’s day.  I coached little league for years and there were kids who played in the outfield who never say a ball hit their way, but at the end of every game, I told them how proud I was of them and that if a ball had come to them, they would have given a champion’s effort.  When they heard that, their faces lit up like it was Christmas morning. They would have moved a mountain for me.  It is amazing what a little sincere appreciation or recognition can do…try it today and every day.

3)      Make the most of your day. Look, your work day is not going away. There is nothing you can do about that.  What you can do something about is the way you get through it.  Just like the janitor example above, he whistled while he worked, he loved his job.  I guarantee you his days flew by. I know you get the picture.

So here is the point. All these things discussed lead to one key concept and that is going above the job description.  It is a choice.  I have never seen an employee manual that states you must place workers on hot pavement to greet customers when they pull in your parking lot and take care of them before they ever get to the speaker to order; You must engage the customers as you take their groceries to the car and express thanks for shopping with you; and finally, you must be happy and thankful for your job with outward bursts of whistling and singing!  These were all performed willingly because each knew of the positive impact it has not only on those they served, but on them individually.

So today, whether this is new or old school to you, commit every day to do something unexpected…then expect great things ahead!

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