Friday, July 17, 2015

Doing The Right Thing

As previously discussed on this blog and in The 10 Principles of Open Business, the value of trust to a business cannot be over-stated.

But does that mean you are doing the right thing?
Trust is the core component of the value of any brand, institution or organisation.
And - as we make clear in The 10 Principles - we don't mean the 'we trust you to deliver' kind of trust that Ryanair used to rely on, we mean the 'we believe you have our best interests at heart' kind its more recent marketing has been tilted toward (yes, even Ryanair has grasped the essential difference and how important that has become to their sustained success).
What this all boils down to is a shift in staff behaviour from Jobsworth to Doing The Right Thing.
When the horse-meat scandal hit the European food-chain, Tesco's senior team didn't stop to ask themselves what they could get away with, or to investigate which suppliers they could point the blame at and pass the buck to, or spend weeks with the legal department honing what they would say to the press and on social media. No. Instead - as CMO at the time Matt Atkinson tells us in The 10 Principles - they simply went about doing the right thing; telling the truth as they knew it, opening up to provide transparency, giving money back without a quibble - acting as if they had the best interests of their customers at heart.
That's really at the guts of my complaint about Hargreaves-Lansdown published yesterday. They are taking a Jobsworth attitude, hiding behind regulations, letters of the law.
Today we expect something different: We expect them to Do The Right Thing.
I don't blame the front line staff I have had to interact with for this - it is an organisational stance and that comes from the top.
Tesco shifted theirs, thanks in no small part to ambitions to become an Open Business. The rebuilding of trust was (and remains) essential to that business.
And if you want me to believe you have my best interests at heart you had best Do The Right Thing rather than what a set of terms and conditions protect you for. When The Computer Says No but your heart and head tell you Yes, it's wise to consider it's the computer that may be wrong...
Contracts and regulations rarely cover every circumstance, every nuance. The relationship between customer and business, or business and supplier is built on trust. The moment you have to refer to the terms and conditions, the contract, the relationship is essentially at an end - you no longer trust each other or believe the other party has your best interest at heart.
How do you make Doing The Right Thing endemic in your org? It's all about permission. I rather like what Avis has done in the US (again referred to in my book) where every member of staff (every member of staff, not just folk up the tree or behind the management desk) is empowered to give up to a set amount in dollar terms to resolve a customer's problems as they see fit, right there and then.
That makes the ability to Do The Right Thing a genuine possibility to all.
So ask yourself - in your organisation are the teams being encouraged to Do The Right Thing or keep the Jobsworth hat on? It could make all the difference to how long folk are prepared to keep trading with you.

The rate of change is so rapid it's difficult for one person to keep up to speed. Let's pool our thoughts, share our reactions and, who knows, even reach some shared conclusions worth arriving at?