Are You Choking Your Employees Off From Experiencing Success?

I had to smack around a client the other day.

Well, maybe not smack around.  But it did involve shaking my finger and saying things like, “Stop it.”

It all had to do with what I’ve written posts about in the past: giving your employees the authority to grow your business.

I was in a meeting with the client, who owns three retail stores in a large city.  During our afternoon meeting with the management team, I inquired as to how the employee authority program we set up is going.

One of the managers brought up a situation in the store she manages, discussing a family who shops there regularly.  The family has a unique situation in that the father recently returned from service in Afghanistan, where he was injured and is now undergoing extensive rehabilitation.

“The family is really great,” the manager told me.  “I really admire the mom, keeping it all together.  Some days she looks so frazzled.  We thought maybe we could do something for them, so I came up with the idea of a gift certificate to a nice restaurant so that she wouldn’t have to cook for one night.”

“Great idea,” I replied.  “So, how did it go?”

“We didn’t do it.”

“You didn’t do it?  Why not?”

At this point, the manager innocently glanced over at the boss.  “Well, we talked about it and asked Mr. BossMan what he thought.  He didn’t really care for the idea, so we didn’t do it.”

Here is where the finger shaking started.

An employee authority program will NEVER work unless the employee has complete authority.

Have a great idea to make a customer feel good?  Does it fit within the monthly budget prescribed for customer feel-good marketing?  DO IT.

Don’t think it to death.  And above all, DON’T ASK THE BOSS FOR PERMISSION.


It is the BossMan’s responsibility to “cut the cord” with management and staff on customer satisfaction marketing.  Any boss worth his/her weight has to constantly drill employees on how great they are, and how much trust there is to do the right thing for customers.

This is a marketing idea that costs little and can be budgeted using marketing dollars.  It requires little from BossMan other than reminding employees that they have the authority to solve problems or make a customer’s day a little happier.

You see employee authority programs in use all around you.  Starbucks.  Zappo’s.  Ritz Carlton Hotels. Yes, they’re big companies.  How do you think they got that way?

Seriously.  Think about it.  THEN DO IT.





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3 Responses to “Are You Choking Your Employees Off From Experiencing Success?”

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  1. Great post! “How do you think they got that way?” Love it, love it, love it. Once I worked at a hotel chain that prided itself on its Employee “Empowerment” policy. You WERE empowered to make the customer happy. Except you had to ask permission. Which often turned out like the story above. Seriously, what’s the use of a policy that doesn’t do what it’s purportedly supposed to do?

  2. Angie says:

    Great article! Empowering employees to make decisions and implement effective customer statisfaction and retention programs, makes all the difference between good service and GREAT customer service. Employees are often much closer to customers’ needs, wants, likes and dislikes, and therefore are more able to implement strategies to address this.

  3. Grimey says:

    Dear MM …

    How do you think they got that way?

    Perhaps you have heard of the “Idiot Theory of Management”. Much like a village a company will undoubtedly have an idiot. The best thing to do is make him the CEO where he will have minimal contact with customers or staff since some bright lady executive assistant will handled most of the details of running the business. I know it works in our firm.


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