It’s Time to Think for a Change!
Okay, it’s time for me to rant about things that I don’t understand. During the past two weeks I have had to deal with “stupid” customer service issues from several different organizations. It amazes me that people are not allowed to think about what they are doing or just refuse to think while using “rules” as their excuse – eh – reason.
While I know I’m not perfect, I will attempt to think about the issues before I act on things. However, when confronted with rules – people can not think or even use common sense.
In one case, after I raised the issue about a “rule” that appeared to only be a revenue generator for the company I learned that a manager actually asked about the rule. The manager learned that it was one of those “rules” that was unwritten, unknown as to when and why it was implemented, and no one could explain the reasoning for the rule. This is a clear example of no one taking the responsibility to question a rule that only aggravated their clients.
There have been several other examples of “stupid” rules that I have had to deal with over the past two weeks. My question is why do people (who are educated) not thinking and taking action? It appears there are four reasons:
Fear: Employees are working in a fear based culture where it is not okay to question any rule, procedure or decision made by a manager or owner. This is a common obstacle to employee thinking since thinking leads to proactive action. These managers actually want reactive employees — who follow the rules. However, fear based cultures are limited in growth and developing people. Therefore, they have a limited life time. This is the number one reason for a lack of thought by employees.
Blind Loyalty: There are employees that follow their leaders directives to the T without questioning anything. While loyalty is a trait that admired by most people, blind loyalty can lead people down an unreasonable path. I call this the Thundering Herd principle – where people just follow the leader even if the leader is headed for the cliff. The key is to be unique and think about things – does this make any sense?
Style Bias: Okay, I have found this to be in play in several organizations. While this is not necessarily a thinking issue, it involves style tendencies. Certain behavioral styles are very passive. These passive styles need rules, goals and guidelines that have been set by others in order to function in their job. When there are strong or major intensity involved, people will not go against the rules for concern about their losing their security or job. While this is a close cousin to the “fear” element above, it is different in origin. When people become aware of their style bias, they usually will give more effort to thinking about the rules and discussing it for clarity of application.
Laziness: Now we are getting to a major issue in my opinion. Laziness is a different maker! People who will not take responsibility for their actions or be accountable for their outcomes or results are a major problem for organizations and their customers. These people make a choice of not thinking – about anything important. This is problem that organizations must face head-on if they want to grow. Negative consequences for negative actions need to be in place for an organization to thrive.
Finally, if there are some areas that I overlooked, please use the comments to post your ideas for why people fail to think at appropriate times.
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