Throughout the course of every business, rules are built into the business. Sometimes these made sense when they were established, but eventually some rules drive people nutty.
Worn out rules frustrate employees and customers. Stupid rules cause repeated work-around activities by employees throughout the company, exhausting them and forcing people to exercise one-off heroics. And they hurt your brand, since only the customers who interact with the employees who know how to work around clunky rules get the best experience.
Kill a Stupid Rule
One of the most energizing efforts you can do for employees is what I call it the “Kill a Stupid Rule” movement.
This is one of the early actions we do to prove to employees that customer-centric culture change is really happening. When put into place correctly with communication, some whimsy, fearless acceptance by leaders, and rewards for participants, this does start a movement. It puts a spark of energy into the company and keeps everyone focused on enabling employees to deliver value.
- Are there rules that get in the way of your employees’ ability to deliver value?
- Do these rules make employees do ‘work-arounds’ and frustrate them?
Would you do this to your mother?
Dan Pastoric, who leads customer experience at Enersource in Toronto, told me that they are giving people permission to do the right thing and get past stupid rules by asking, “Would you do this to your mother?” (If this customer was your mother, would you make the decision to put a utility pole in the middle of her front yard?) By letting people make decisions through the lens of how they would treat their own mom, people think twice and crusade for treating customers right. I think we should have that line be part of decisions with leaders too, don’t you? (Would you do this to your mom?)
So, be brave, and start a campaign to have employees fearlessly identify those rules that get in the way. And then get rid of as many as you can. People will throw a parade in your honor! (No kidding- I’ve seen this done).