It's easy to do your job, it lets you say I'm just.
I'm just a customer service assistant, packer, accountant, finance clerk, cleaner, checkout clerk or security guard. But that's how you lose the plot.
I've had an ongoing debacle with Lenovo.
On the face of it, it's a simple business.
Build and sell laptops. If you had to write a plot summary for the Lenovo movie, those would be the 4 words.
Some people they hire are fantastic. But everybody in Lenovo has a 'title.' That's great if it gives you something valuable to do, but not if it robs you of power. Worst of all, it should never distract anybody from your business (which is to build and sell laptops, just in case Lenovo staff read this and forgot).
Here are some real life quotes (not strictly verbatim) from Lenovo staff:
'I'm just in sales, I don't know technical, you'll have to ask the engineers'
'Sorry I know the website might say it's available, but it's actually not, there's no option in my process'
'I don't know about that sir, you'll have to ask someone else'
'Sorry sir, that's not possible it's not part of the process'
'Sorry sir, that's not in our policy to receive pdfs in emails, only faxes.' (Anyone spot the irony here?)
'I'm just in customer service, you'll have to ask repairs for an ETA.'
What if they started focusing on doing the right thing? They might take a leaf out of Vodafone and Optus who had the following to say to me:
'Look you are a great customer, I know we're not wrong here, and you're not wrong, we're sorry you had a problem, and look it's a waste of time for us to escalate this to management... I'm not suppose to do this, but look lets just waive the fee this once okay!'
'Oh it's disappointing that you're cancelling your account Mr. Yong, but let me check with my manager right now if we can waive your exit fee anyway, you've been with us a long time! Please wait one moment <brief pause> It's been approved, thanks for your patience sir.'
The conversation changes. Completely.
It's Friday, so relax. But on Monday, think about doing the right thing, not just your job description.
Next time you get asked what you do, whether you're the cleaner or the CEO, you might say 'I'm helping mums and dads save money,' or 'I'm helping make and sell the best laptops', 'Helping kids grow into good people' or 'I'm making sure our customers want to use us again.'
A hint for Lenovo: Fire everyone with the job description 'Sorry - that's not my responsibility', then spend that money on hiring half the number of people and give them the job description 'Goal #1 Help Lenovo make and sell laptops. Goal #2 Create and retain customers. Goal #3 Spend saved 'Sorry Men' money on creating and keeping good customers.'
You'll have spent $0 dollars more, and gotten rid of the Sorry Men.