Wednesday, August 09, 2006

What a day!

It's like everyone in the podunk town where I work found out I was going to be off for a few days and so they all decided to come in today. Then an unscheduled visit from my boss took out about an hour of my useful worktime. I had big plans to write out a few drafts and get them posted tonight. Well that didn't happen. Or anything else I had planned either. All I ended up doing was opening accounts and putting out fires. Which by the way, got me a little fired up today.

At the bank I used to work for, upper management had these things they called "Success Stories!" They were incorporated into our goals and into our incentives. The idea behind them was that we were to go above and beyond the ordinary and go the extra mile for our customers, and then share those stories. What a great idea, right? In theory yes, in reality no. What ended up happening was that the idea was never fully defined, and my peers used any crap they could find. If a customer came in and wanted a checking account and they sold a savings account too, that was their success story. What a load of BS! All that's called is taking care of "ALL" of the customer's needs. All that is, is good customer service. Why would you not sell them a savings if they needed a savings? I always disect and tear everything apart, and so I thought this was a stupid idea. And as luck would have it I got called on last the week the idea was introduced in our weekly district sales meetings. I expressed my views and told my boss and all the other managers what I thought of the idea and what I thought of each one of their "success" stories. I was reprimanded quite sternly by my boss. My only rebuttal was that I wanted a definition; b/c everything I had heard to date was what we should have been doing on a daily basis. And how could she as a superior not demand that level of responsibility from her subordinates. She didn't agree. And since I can't work with or for someone I don't respect, I quit soon after that.

Skip ahead to my present job. As I was reading my email this morning, I came across a letter my District Sales Executive had sent to all the branches. It talked about how in the last manager's meeting (which I did not attend,) each manager had nominated a person from their branch for an award that exemplified quality customer service. Then a winner had been picked from the submitted names b/c this person had gone above and beyond her duties. (Sound familiar?) As I read the story, I realized I was right in the middle of doing the exact same thing for a customer of my own. The only difference was I wasn't running to tell my boss how great I was and how much I was a kiss-up. And no, I am not jealous in any way. The only thing that person showed me was that they need a babysitter to nurse and burp them. Are we adults or are we children? I love a good "Congratulations!" every once in a while. But not for doing the same job everyone else is doing too.

Since I'm obviously just ranting after a hard day, I'll shut up. Talk at y'all later!


Blogger Papa D said...

Rant on, my son! I can't believe what the world has come to - Its just plain stupid when you have to pamper and placate just to get someone to actually do their job! I just don't get it...

OK, I'll stop ranting too, and say "congratualtions, son" on doing your best job even when no one is watching. That's called good character, and I'm proud to say you are both good and ... ahem ... a character.
Have fun on your day's off - happy star watching!

11:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rob and I were talking about this in regards to Verity, actually. I never want her to do things just because of reward or praise. When she learns something new, I will praise her. But when that thing becomes easy for her, I want her to know that, in a way, it's not good enough to warrant praise anymore. I know it sounds harsh, but I think for her to be truly self-motivated, she has to learn that certain things are expected of her.

Case in point: When she learned to roll over, we were all about the "Yay! Big girl! Good job!" But now it's nothing. What is? When she pulls herself up to sit, then pulls herself up to stand against the couch, and then--then when she lets go and manages to stand or walk a step by herself. And soon that won't be quite the exciting thing as it was, because she'll be toddling across the room.

Just because she won't get praise for rolling over anymore, it doesn't mean she won't do it. And when you're a professional, you can't rely on praise or pats on the back for validation.

I want Verity to know that by the time she's ten years old, she needs to know that just because she's figured out she needs to potty and knows how to do it on her own, it's not going to be the Best Thing Ever. I will continually be grateful she can do these things (heaven knows how many kids physically or mentally -can't-, and I know it's a blessing), but some things should no longer be praiseworthy.

Although truly good customer service is worth gratitude, if not flat-out praise.

But when it comes to business relationships, there really is a code of conduct that needs to be upheld as the lowest standard -- and that should be quite high.

Yeah, I agree wholeheartedly.

3:02 AM  
Blogger Adrienne said...

I think that was an excellent comment. With so few people seeming to have grasped that comment, it's no wonder the workforce is what it is!

11:41 AM  
Blogger GUYK said...

Many years ago when I was teaching management and supervision to newly promoted USAF NCOs I had a block of instruction on performance requirements. I taught that performece requirements and standards should be written down and fully explained to subordinates. Otherwise, a subordinate was "in the dark" about what was required on the job. I futhur taught that any thing other than metting the standards was sub -par performance and that meeting the standards was a job requirement and didn't deserve a pat on the back. But exceeding the job requirments was what made a better than average employee. And such employees, in our case, troops, should be rewarded as appropriate from a pat on the back to a promotion..whatever..

I had a tough time in the civilian world working for "the man." It seemed that when I tried to do what was "beyond" the job requirements I was chastised and accused of wanting the bosses job. It didn't take me long to figure out that the "bosses" wwere afraid of me even though I would not have had their jobs on a bet. I finally went into business for myself and never looked back afterwards. I might have made more money working for some big corporation or as a saleman for some outfit but I wanted to be able to sleep at night knowing I didn't have to sacrifice personal integrity to satisfy some A hole boss.

12:07 PM  

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