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Rules, Rules and More Rules – Throw Them All Out!


Too many companies these days focus too much on procedures, minimum standards and compliance.  I’m not saying those things are not important, but over time they continue to grow and become a monster in and of themselves.

Most standards, rules and procedures are built based on one concept – dealing with the 1%; the people who get it wrong. Typically, these are the people that shouldn’t be in those jobs and roles anyway.  In most cases, we utilize unnecessary rules as a vehicle as to avoid addressing poor performance. It is easier to use a shotgun approach and impose another rule. We begin to hamstring those that are good by overburdening them over time.  Employees spend so much time trying to meet policies, performance standards and rules that they began to look down and slouch (figuratively speaking), because they reach the floor.  All of those standards are built as minimum performance standards, and the irony is that over time performance usually doesn’t get better with more standards, policies, procedures, etc.  It gets worse!

A great example is checking into a hotel. Most hotels have a standard that the front desk personnel use which includes using your name to greet you and check you in.  In fact, during the check in process many of these hotel companies have standards where that person must use your name a minimum of say three times. 

Quite frankly, I’ve had people use my name a lot when checking me in and they have been some of the worst check in experiences I’ve ever had. The reason is because the front desk clerk is more focused on hitting every standard than they are in me.

To do a service related position or job you need to:

  • take an interest in your customer;

  • be curious about your customer; and

  • be interested in service. 

We need employees that reach for the stars, that look up, not down.  We need employees that stretch, that go the extra mile. To get employees like that we need not only hire the right ones, we need to teach them about culture, service, and exceeding expectations.  We don’t need to teach them about meeting minimum standards, but rather excite them and get them passionate about meeting expectations, and being superstars. We need them to understand the difference they can make in co-workers’ and customers’ lives on a daily basis.

You don’t build a brand on people who just go through the motions because they have to do it. You build a brand on employees that put you on the map, that are not afraid to do the right thing, are excited about the work that they do, understand that your competitors are there to meet minimum standards and that their job is to beat the pants off our competition. 

Isn’t it about time that our training focused more on building the kind of environments we want, the kind of leaders we really need, the kind of customer service we truly desire?

If that’s the case, we need to utilize more resources on higher expectations, on building culture and less on compliance and minimum standards.

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