I was recently talking with a CEO of a large medical practice who was lamenting about the lack of buy-in for customer service among his senior leaders. We were discussing the need to communicate the latest patient satisfaction data in order to create a greater sense of urgency among the managers. Finally he said, “e;I run a democratic outfit until I cast the final vote. If I say they will focus on customer service, they will focus on customer service.”e; End of discussion.
As leaders we often try our best to build buy-in and enthusiasm for things that we know are in aligned with mission, vision and values. But when the training, coaching and cajoling doesn’t get the desired results, it’s time to draw the line in the sand. Because whether they like it or not, your managers and employees are being judged by your customers on how well they’re aligned with your service priorities.
Drawing that line can be a tough, position but it is absolutely necessary. As I talked with this CEO, I recalled facing similar challenges when raising my three daughters. I tried to create a culture with clear values and open discussion. I prompted them to do the right thing for the right reason, but when push came to shove, I was the leader (the CEO) of the household and would cast the final (and deciding) vote. At that point, they all knew that the discussion was over. That is not to say that I never met resistance, bickering or even threats of mutiny. But as time went on, and they saw the consistent pattern, they learned that we could have a democratic household but that not every issue was up for a vote. There were principles and values that remained constant from one situation to the next, and I would set the course and ensure that it was followed.
One day after one of our discussions, my daughters presented me with a bumper sticker that read, “e;I’m the mommy that’s why.”e; We hung it on the bulletin board in the kitchen and for years it was a permanent part of the d