I recently heard John Stossel make the following statement concerning government: “when we have a “mother, may I” government, innovation and creativity dies.” He went on to say that when people are over-burdened with regulations, fewer and fewer people will fight the current to find a better way to do business. This got me thinking…
Do you have a “Mother, may I?” culture at your company?
- The staff is petrified to act in the best interest of your customers because they may “get in trouble” for acting first instead of asking first.
- Your team comes to you constantly throughout the day to get permission to act, get involved, decide on ____________.
- You have employees who’ve been in their positions for years and they have not generated a new idea, initiative, suggestion, etc.
- Your team waits for you – the manager, VP, CEO – to decide what to do next. Until then, nobody moves.
In 2008, I spoke at a national credit union conference at Disney World. One of the keynote speakers was the former CEO of Mountain America Credit Union (Utah). In his early days, he once observed teller interactions with members in the lobby of the main branch. He stated that at almost every interaction, the tellers excused themselves, walked over to their manager’s office and then returned and finished the transaction. After several interactions, he walked over to one of the tellers and asked why they continued to seek out the manager. He was told that the manager had to approve almost anything a teller did. He soon found out that this was happening all over the credit union.
“We had created a sluggish, ineffective bureaucracy here. I set out to change it.” He did. The credit union’s assets more than doubled under this man’s leadership in about 12 years. They acquired several smaller credit unions. Their business now spans 4 states.
So here’s the question for you: How do you change from a company of “Mother, may I?” to one that empowers its staff to think, innovate, create, and serve your customers?
I’d love to read your thoughts. Please share them!