Arrived yesterday in Sweden — and as I was out walking this morning, I was listening to information from Daniel Goleman on Emotional Intelligence. Here are some thoughts — as well as a glimpse of the Stockholm Marathon — for you.
Everything from blogs to conferences to television talk shows decry the lack of “personal responsibility.” But, somehow, I’m left with the feeling it doesn’t tell the complete story.
The phone in my hotel room started ringing just a bit before 2 AM. Startled, I awoke — immediately worried something might be wrong at home, or in the hotel.
After I answered, I heard, “Yes, sir — this is the front desk. WHO is this?”
Even in my foggy head in the middle of the night, I realized that’s a strange question. “Wait,” I answered, “how do I know this is the front desk? Who is THIS?”
She replied, “You left a wake-up call for 6 AM, but I don’t have a name properly entered for this room. I need to know your name.”
“Let me get this straight,” I said…growing more angry by the second…”you are calling a guest at your hotel who has a wake-up call in four hours — to ask his name? You would wake up a guest in the middle of the night for THAT?”
“Sir, if I don’t get this report done, my work for the day is not finished.”
“Why didn’t you just get the person who is supposed to call me in four hours ask — after she wakes me at the proper time?”
(Think I was able to easily fall back to sleep? Not a chance. Thanks, Conrad Hotel, Chicago.)
Was the woman who called me taking personal responsibility? Absolutely. She was getting all of the work completed her manager told her must be done.
Was the woman who called me taking professional responsibility? Absolutely not. She was depriving a guest – the customer who ultimately pays her wages — of a critical element of what a hotel should deliver: the ability to get a decent night’s rest.
It’s reflective of the problem I have with all the talk about — through tax breaks and other incentives — solving the “jobs” problem.
For example, some of the companies on the receiving end of these benefits would be entrepreneurs who have taken a significant amount of personal responsibility, investing their savings and toil into building a business.
Yet, as we all know as customers, many of them have not taken the professional responsibility to serve those spending money with them — and they will never need more employees, because they cannot retain or obtain customers because of their terrible service.
Don’t get me wrong — we should and must encourage these wonderful entrepreneurs to risk and build businesses. But, those who can’t serve their customers won’t be hiring more employees! Therefore, those specific organizations will never, ever be a part of solving the issue of unemployment in the U.S.
Would health care improve if reimbursement to hospitals and doctors was based, in part, on the evaluation from the patient/customer regarding the quality of care? Would we see more “professional” responsibility in that — or EVERY — field, if this were the case?
Well…it already happens that way.
When customers feel that you haven’t taken the professional responsibility to serve them, they, in turn, take personal responsibility — to get the most for their hard-earned money — and spend someplace else.
Then, many businesses — and the leaders of them — blame the recession, changes in the market, competitors undercutting them, and more, for a decline in sales. The “leaders” then exhort their teams to work harder, get more done with less, and push their colleagues to take more personal responsibility — when the managers themselves haven’t taken the personal AND professional responsibility to deliver an “Ultimate Customer Experience ®” to the lifeblood of the business — customers!
So…at 2 AM, remembering what some manager has said…and taking personal responsibility…someone at the front desk calls and wakes a guest, so she gets everything done she has been told to do.
The guest never returns and spends more money. And, the manager blames the recession for lower occupancy rates. The company leaders lobby their representatives in the legislature for tax breaks and incentives. And, tragically, workers get laid off because of eroding business, and unemployment numbers rise. See how this works?
It’s not enough to take personal responsibility. Are YOU taking professional responsibility?