“Organizations that put polices before people fail everyone.” Outstanding!
Have you taken the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)? The Millers have, and doing so has enabled us to better understand and relate to each other. Kristin is even certified to teach MBTI because there’s nothing more powerful than our QBQ! content on personal accountability combined with MBTI material in the same workshop.
Anyway, if you do know Myers-Briggs, then you will know me without meeting me when I tell you my “type.” I’m an “ESTJ.” If you aren’t familiar with MBTI, stay with me here. You see ….
An ESTJ-type person is a logical person—and that’s me. In just about any situation that baffles me, I’m apt to say, “That makes no sense at all” or “Well, that’s just not logical!”
In Outstanding! we wrote a chapter titled “Be Flexible: Put People Before Policies” because so many organizations illogically—dare I say foolishly—adhere to POLICY even when the POLICY is nonsensical.
Now, you might think that by possessing a logical mind, I’d love policies. I don’t—and here’s my logical argument:
Sticking to bad policy drives customers and employees away.
And who wants all that to happen?!
A good example of the danger of It’s our policy! thinking and practices comes from Shawn, a QBQ! book reader and HR manager who travels … a lot.
John, I received a quote from a car rental company for $15.99 per day for two days. Adding in taxes and fees the total would be $45.56. So I booked it.
After landing, I rented my car and all was well.
But then my schedule changed and I kept the car for only twelve hours. When I returned it, the young man at the rental car center handed me a receipt for … $69.03!
When I objected, I was told that he “only print receipts” and “our policy is for customers with complaints to call corporate.”
So I called their HQ and told a phone rep my problem. She robotically informed me that I had “broken the contract” by using the vehicle for only one day instead of two—so they could charge me “whatever we want to.”
I calmly agreed that legally she was probably right but the difference in rates seemed pretty steep. From $15.99 per day for two days to $53.99 for one day. Her response was that if I’d kept the car for two days as planned, my bill would’ve been the contracted $45.56 instead of the $69.03 that I paid!
Now, John, $24 isn’t a lot, but after using the vehicle for less than the contract period—which freed it up to be rented again—I feel it was ridiculously unfair to me to be charged extra.
If this organization had focused less on who was right based on their policies and the agreement I signed and more on what was the right thing to do, I’d rent from them again. But, I have many choices and most likely won’t be back.
I can’t say it any better than Shawn’s story says it, so I’ll just add:
When I hear stuff like this, I always wonder if the CEO of that organization right now is sitting in his or her office thinking, I sure hope we drive a customer away today over $24!
Hmm, I doubt it.
So, come on, management—be outstanding by putting people before policy!
Please share your favorite “policies before people” story as a comment below and maybe win a signed hardcover book …
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