thoughts/ideas/opinions from scott hodge

Tuesday, March 23


My earlier post today regarding Verizon Wireless, prompted a question by Matt that I think deserves a 1/2 way thought out answer. His question was this:

    "How can you effectively train someone to know when to bend the rules established by the system?

    Maybe better asked, how do you teach instinct?"
Here's my initial response - comment your thoughts!

This is a good question. I honestly think it has to do with a couple of things - starting with the overall "culture" of the company. And I'm not sure you can just "teach" culture. It is more than that. It has to do with the lived out philosophy and values of the company itself (leaders, managers, etc...).

For example, a question that deserves to be asked is, "Does the company truly value customer satisfaction?" Their "mission" statement or "values" may state that they do, but are they truly creating an environment where they are constantly making sure that their customers are satisfied? (...and please understand that I'm not talking about the type of customers who think they "deserve" special treatments or think that they are the "you-know-what.")

If the company truly values quality customer service, then I think that a few things will happen. For one, the company will empower their employees to make decisions based on what is best for both the company and the customer. The employee will then feel more "freedom" to make independent decisions based on their own, personal judgements. This is in contrast to the "stick by the books (rules) no matter what" mindset.

But, in order to have this type of environment and people who don't take advantage of this "freedom", you have to have the right people (as Jim Collins so eloquently puts it) "on the bus". IF the right people are on the bus (and I repeat IF), then they can be trusted, believed in and the last thing that will be a concern is that the employee, manager or whoever will take advantage of the company.

It can't be easy to transform the culture of a large organization like Verizon, but Lou Gerstner sure did a great job at IBM and showed the world that it CAN be done.

What do you think?