Nope, I’m not talking about negotiating on price – although that would certainly apply as well. I’m talking about your most important asset, your people. You must stop negotiating with attitudes and behaviors that hold your organization back, and you must have core principles that everyone agrees to follow.
Before I explain in more detail, here is the non-negotiable list I created for Heartland Homes back in 2013 when I ran the company as an example:
SERVICE: We are all here to serve others, not to be served.
PROBLEMS: Never share your problems without also sharing a potential solution.
INFLUENCE: Develop relationships that allow you to get things done because of who knows you, not what your title is.
RISK: Taking risks is not optional; it is required to invent something better – for change to occur.
IMPROVEMENT: Improvement in yourself and your work must be a daily goal.
TIME: Put in the time needed to get the job done – including the extra 15 minutes to make it great.
Job descriptions do serve a purpose in describing the deliverable expectations of a position, but they often ignore the importance of how you arrive at those deliverables. Do you have an employee who consistently produces good work, but leaves bodies and chaos in their wake? Do you have a sales person who always hits their goal for the month, but is always complaining to everyone they interact with? Are you nervous to have conversations with people about their behavior or attitudes because you’re not sure how to bring up the topic without it feeling like a personal attack?
By publishing this list and making all new hires agree to follow them prior to coming on board, you now have something to reference and hold people accountable to. In time, it will have an enormous impact on your corporate culture. I’m not sure what should be on your list, but you do. Resist the temptation to re-use someone else’s – it has to be something you own and individual to your goals. Finally, remember that you can’t hold anyone accountable to something you don’t hold yourself accountable too as well.
This is the fundamental first step to creating a world-class customer service experience for your customers, because without the right people on your team you’ll never get to the others.