You hear corporate zombies talk all the time about thinking outside the box. They go on and on about how the customer is first, and how the company will succeed through good service. But, what always trips them up is their military-like insistence on sticking to policy. This becomes an Iraq (oh, I’m sorry I meant to say quagmire) because the customer gets upset at the person for following the policy that they have no control over, and the boss gets upset no matter what the employee does. If you follow the policy and it pisses the customer off the boss says things like “you have to think outside the box and know when to handle a situation differently, because the customer is always right.” However, if you choose to break a policy to please the customer then the boss wants to yell at you about adhering to all the company’s policies. This is one of the reasons I no longer work for a big company like that.
Here now is the perfect example of the above dilemma. A hotel clerk in Sydney was so excited when she saw John Cleese (of Monty Python fame) enter the hotel that she broke one rule and asked the star for his autograph. He signed it happily and proceeded to check in for his stay. When he presented his credit card, the clerk followed company guidelines and asked him for his ID. I’m sure your thinking: “How stupid of her, she obviously knew who he was.” But, think about it this way; don’t you think she ever got yelled at by her boss for not checking ID every time some one checks in? You just can’t win sometimes.