Legendary General Motors CEO Alfred Sloan once responded to Peter Drucker’s question as to why Sloan spent so much time on “a minor hiring decision.”
Sloan’s reply was,
“If we didn’t spend four hours on placing a man and placing him right, we’d spend four hundred hours on cleaning up our mistake and that time I wouldn’t have.”
If Alfred Sloan were alive today he would agree with Doug. If you want to change your organization’s culture to one that is customer-focused, you need to examine the core competencies you are looking for in employees.
As opposed to adopting the position of, “Let’s solve our customer service problems by putting our employees through a customer service training course.”
It’s not that I’m undercutting the need for customer service training, it’s that you need to make other more global changes in your corporate culture and in your hiring decisions before your employees will become more customer-focused.
When I walk into a place of business and I find someone who waits on me who is truly passionate about their work, I just flat out have fun. I usually:
- Spend more money than I intended
- Tell more people about my experience
- Return more often which means I spend even more money
Identify the competencies you want your employees to possess, then hire people who possess them. Then train them.