Dear Rude People...Do Your Words Match Your Actions?

Dear Rude People...Do Your Words Match Your Actions?

I worked for one of those “great companies”. Diamond for this. Platinum for that. Five stars for the other thing. I mean recognized for so many things. To keep up this charade, they started a series of classes that are aimed at unifying the experience across the organization (for customers and employees/internally and customer-facing) and enhancing the organizational culture. They are rolled out in phases and we all have to take the classes. If you miss a class, you end up on some arbitrary naughty list for your manager to keep annoying the hell out of you until you take it. Most of the people I know in the organization and have spoken to about the classes express the same sentiment, “they only work on those that are willing to change. In the classes, the information is nice but, most of us are there because we have to be and everything taught goes out of the window once you’re back out in the field.” Case in point, one of the phases/classes is based on not only how we treat our customers, but how we treat each other. Basically, it taught us to be nice to our Back story: For the most part, I don’t work in a customer facing location. I worked in the main corporate office. Most of my customer contact is via email or phone. One morning, after parking in the parking garage I proceeded to the elevator. Usually, I am in the elevator area alone. Upon entering, I noticed there were two women, slightly facing each other, waiting for the elevator. Side note: As I child, I was taught to speak when you enter a room. As I approached them, I looked at both and happily said, “Good Morning” to both. The small waiting area remained quiet. Yes, neither of them said anything. I stood there, awkwardly. The elevator opened within seconds and I proceeded to enter with the two women following behind. There were three people on the elevator when it opened. Guess what I did? Yes! With my head up and a smile, I said “Good Morning” as I entered. Unfortunately, again no one spoke. At this point, I’m shocked and annoyed because no one said a peep but, when the women entered behind me, the gentleman on beside me and the woman in front of both chatted her up all the way to her floor. From the small talk, it appeared that they were colleagues. That doesn’t matter though. This is not an isolated incident. This happens several times a week. One of my colleagues visiting my office shared with me her experience the same morning. She greeted to two different people and received no response. Sounds simple, but it’s an indicator of some other underlying issue(s). It takes nothing to greet someone back.

 

Here we have an organization that took the time to plan a curriculum around how we treat our customers and each other because obviously there was an issue somewhere. This includes the hiring and training of a whole new Learning and Organization Effectiveness team to develop and teach the each of the courses. The organization forces each employee to take off at least 2 hours of work to attend and expects interaction during the course, only for the information to die off after walking out of the conference room door. Their words are not matching their actions. As much as they are attempting to try to change the culture of the organization, however their efforts are ineffective because there are several underlying fundamental issues that needs to be addressed before a corrective program can be implemented. When the underlying problems are not addressed it is like pouring a bottle of Beverly Hills 9OH20 Luxy Collection Diamond Edition water into a cup with a hole in it. Not only are you wasting time, but you’re also wasting valuable resources and money!

 

There are three things that you should do before embarking on any organizational culture overhaul project.

 

  • Market Research
    • Find out what your people have to say. How do they feel about the project/topic you are attempting to implement? Get their feedback and input beforehand. These are the people who will be on the receiving end of the changes and the ones expected to adjust accordingly. Ask very targeted and specific questions.
    • If you have a period climate survey, use the feedback to craft your changes. Some of your issues could be broken off into other mini classes or departmental projects.
    • Ask your external customers too. What do they want to see? Hear? Feel? Where are you lacking?
    • Leverage your problem children! If you can plan and implement around them, the rest of the team is a cake walk.
  • Plan Backwards From Your Goal
    • After your research, but before you work on your plan be sure that you have accurately analyzed your data from market research.
    • Map out your goals. Break them up. Work backwards from there.
  • Bad Apples
    • The bad apples/problem children could be directly affecting your bottom line and continuing to convey the wrong message internally and externally.
      • Have a plan of corrective action for those who may not adjust well to the changes.
      • Have a “suggestion box” and be willing to address and leverage their feedback.
      • Be willing to let them go or reassign them as needed.

 

I’m not going to say these steps are easy. They may be hard and take additional time, resources, and money to before you can even implement your initial plan. You may find that your initial plans are altered by your findings. What I will say is that you are more likely to be successful and ensure that your words are matching your actions internally and externally.

"Bee" Social- The Benefits of Joining a Club

"Bee" Social- The Benefits of Joining a Club