Do Not DisturbI travel a lot.  I appreciate when the hotel staff does a great job of making me comfortable.  Sometimes I don’t need a lot of care, so I will place the “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door.  Recently, after having done so, I hopped in the shower.  At which point someone started knocking on my hotel room door.  They didn’t stop until I got out of the  shower, put on the hotel robe, and answered the door.

It was the housekeeper.  “Would you like me to make up your room?”

“No.  That’s why I put the sign on the door.”

She replied, “I’m sorry, but I am required to get your signature, to prove that you don’t need my help.”

So I signed her clipboard.  But here’s the deal.  That wasn’t her dumb idea.  That was her boss’ dumb idea.  And it says a lot about the boss and the culture of their company.  Like…

  • Her boss doesn’t trust her.  So, systems are put in place to “police” the team.  Ugh.
  • She is being set up to fail.  When systems get in the way of service, your team is set up to lose.  A grumpier person might have lit into the housekeeper…and it really wasn’t her fault.

People will put up with a lot.  They will put up with itchy uniforms and long hours and dirty jobs.  People expect that there will be rules and procedures at work.  But when you put systems in place that cause your team to deliver poor service, you are asking for trouble.  When the systems stink of a lack of trust, you have a big problem on your hands.

What to do?  Ride along with your techs.  Work side by side with your service team.  Hang out, elbow to elbow, with the office staff.  The front line workers know what is happening and how to fix it.  Be brave enough to listen.  Be strong enough to admit when systems have failed.  Be smart enough to take their suggestions.

A great company culture manifests when…

And don’t require your team to do dumb things.