Let me begin this week’s blog post with a question: Who do you work for? I know it sounds like a weird question, but I want you to stop for a moment and think about your answer. I am not a betting man but I bet I can predict most of your responses. The vast majority of you responded by saying you work for XYZ organization or you work for some VP within the organization. Nothing irritates me more than getting someone on the phone either based in this country or in an overseas call center that responds to a question by saying, “ I am sorry but I can’t help you. May I place you on hold while I transfer the call to someone who can.” They plain don’t get it. No matter what your place in the organization you work for the customers or clients of your organization.
Let me turn away from the outside customer service person for a moment and look inside your organization. Be honest, don’t you have co-workers who consistently say I can’t do something because It’s not my job. If we are sincere about improving the quality of our products and services then this phrase needs to be vanquished from our corporate vocabulary. The effort to meet the demands of our internal and external customers is everybody’s job. We don’t meet their demands by telling them that I am sorry but I have to transfer you to another department. We don’t meet their demands by telling them that in order to respond to your requests we have to go up the chain of command. The change we have talked about in the past several installments in this series only operates when we have cross-functional collaboration in the resolution of the issues.
We need a new focus in our organizations to come to the realization that when we change something in on part of the supply chain it has a direct effect on the entire chain. When we make that change demanded by our customers in sales and marketing it effects human resources. When we make that change demanded by our customers in sales and marketing it effects every single other segment of our business. The clear path to resolve this is to have every segment of the organization represented on the team trying to resolve the issue. The dangers of doing otherwise can be found in Patrick Lencioni’s book “Silos, Politics and Turf Wars” where he talks about the pitfalls of this attitude in organizations.
In this age of ever increasing demands from our customers to be better at what we do, we can’t create obstacles to reach the fulfillment of their needs by saying we are sorry that is not my job. I am sure as I am writing this none of us enjoy trying to contact a vendor and being put through the voice mail routine of push “1” to or to hit “0” and being told in order to assist you better we need to know why we are calling to get you to the right person. Our customers do not want to hear that either.
The way to meet these demands is to ensure that the entire organization buys into the pride of ownership of what we do. Every person on the payroll must have the feeling that what they do for the organization counts. It means that the person in IT has just as much importance to the client as does the HR representative. It means that the person in Sales has as much importance to the client as does the person in the corner office.
It is time that the phrase It is Not my Job is banished from the organization vocabulary. It better serves your organization. It better serves your customers. It makes your organization a better place to work. Everyone in the organization becomes engaged in the operations of the organization with pride and a sense of purpose going forward.