I was out buying shoes this weekend (I wish it could have been these performance enhancing shoes – I need something like them to avoid this picture happening over and over) and came across some behaviour that was quite clearly broken (according to Seth Godin anyway).
Broken 1: Trying on shoes usually means inserting the laces into the holes. This isn’t that hard UNLESS there is an anti-theft device taking up the space where the laces are meant to go. I joked to the shop assistant that we needed someone to invent a pair of shoes to better deal with these security devices (laughter followed). Interestingly though, not an offer to remove the device.
– Good Response: Assistant automatically removes security device.
– Better Response: Assistant speaks to manager about placement of security devices or placement of shores in store to reduce risk of theft.
Broken 2: Having now purchased a pair of shows, I returned to the first store I visited (where I had asked the shop assistant to hold a pair of shoes for me). I found the same assistant and told him I had found something else. He nodded and went about his day.
– Good Response: Assistant thanks customer for returning and gives a cheery “hope we see you next time”
– Better Response: Assistant asks customer a couple of simple questions about their purchase (what, where, why) to better understand the competitive position of store (reporting this to the store manager), and then thanks customer for their time.
While it would be easy to blame the assistant in both cases, it would be far more productive to think about how the store management could have encouraged their shop assistants to either follow a better response guideline or encourage them to think more freely for themselves. For me, this is something like a company statement about their people needing to be more innovative – even though its people have nifty blogs (no, not like mine, imaginative creative stuff ), great things they share in social media, and maybe even do inspiring volunteer work for a non-profit. The problem is usually too many boundaries. Something I would suggest Netflix don’t have a problem with.
I can only aspire to be like that for people I work with.
“There is no greater challenge than to have someone relying upon you; no greater satisfaction than to vindicate his expectation” – Kingman Brewster
I would love to have a robot working for me, even an old one….
(I have borrowed the Star Wars Gonk Bot image from JeffSotoArt – he has a variety of images for sale there – beautiful work)
I am a big fan of Seth Godin and the ideas expressed in Linchpin around emotional labour. I have also seen a similar idea expressed by another favourite blog of mine Christopher S Penn’s Awaken your Superhero around the idea of not having robots working for you.
While I do like the sentiment they express, I am very aware that my own work in building an automated reporting solution within Excel is pushing relentlessly to doing substantial amounts of work robotic-ally.
I think the point I would want to make though is: We don’t have to choose between robots and Linchpins. Both have their place and both together can be very effective indeed!
PS. “You are remembered for the rules you break.” Douglas MacArthur