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When Bailouts Don't Make Sense

ShihtzuIf you're looking the latest rhetorical wisdom about Wall Street and Congressional votes and financial bailouts... keep looking.

Yesterday, I was able to witness another type of failed bailout, but this was indisputably a good one.  I had taken my dog, Zorro, to our local PetSmart store to be groomed.  When I dropped him off, the groomer told me 4:00.  When I returned at 4:00, the groomer got testy with me and informed me that she had said "I SAID between 4:00 and 4:30."  OK, so much for customer service.  I went to pick up my children from daycare and school and returned at 4:40.  "I need 15 more minutes" was the curt response from the groomer.  When I pointed out that this was my second return and the second missed deadline, the groomer proceeded to scream at me from across the salon.  Thankfully, the other two groomers stepped in and quickly asked if I'd like to speak to a manager.  When he arrived, I explained the situation (having your own children around to watch you in these events is a good balance-check to make sure you don't get too irate).  When he heard that one of his employees actually screamed at a customer, he promptly refunded my money, and he informed me in no uncertain terms he would talk to the groomer about her behavior.  He was apologetic and polite.  Who knows?  I may actually give them another shot.

The problem with these situations occurs when a manager chooses to bail out a non-performing employee.  They'll make excuses for them.  They will defend their behaviors.  They'll do everything but make it right.  The PetSmart manager could give lessons on service recovery to some of the cubicle dwellers I've seen.  I've observed everything from non-performing project resources to ill-tempered CIO's to badly behaving company presidents get away with their antics for years.  Those who can make a decision turn a blind eye.

Here is how I choose to deal with the situation:

  1. Look for patterns of behavior.  It's easy to dismiss one or two isolated occurrances, but when the behavior is consistently rearing its ugly head, those in a decision-making capacity cannot ignore the situation.
  2. Document!  Save emails and minutes and performance appraisals... anything that puts the behavior in writing.
  3. Bottom line analysis.  Robert Sutton, author of The No Asshole Rule, recommends calculating the TCA (or Total Cost of Assholes).  Show financially how much their bad behavior contributes to the bottom line through missed deadlines or the turnover of others.
  4. Confront... strategically.  Allow higher-ups to see the behavior first-hand.  Create situations where the offending party's worst behaviors could demonstrate themselves for others.
  5. Proceed with caution.  The poor performer is being protected for a reason.  You can't always get rid of them, but you don't want to destroy your own career in the process.  If you're really lucky, you may eventually eliminate both the poor performer and the boss protecting him or her.

Now I wonder if any of the above could be reasons why the Wall Street Bailout failed.

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Comments

CJwille

I had to forward this to two colleagues first thing this morning. We're in the thick of a similar plot! I will keep you posted.

Ms. Admin

Okay, I'm evil. I so enjoy "setting up" the chronic offender; they usually make it quite easy. As for the consistently tolerated poor performer, I spent far too many years wondering, "Who's this guy got photos of?" For us to have kept so much ineptitude on the payroll, it had to be someone WAAAYYY up the food chain. Zoro is a cutie and deserves better than he's getting. Give me a call and I'll share Miss Molly's groomer's number (she must do something right as a client drives from Mpls to use Ms Kristi)

Timothy Johnson

Crysta - glad to be of help

Ms. Admin - yes, it's fun to help people meet their date with accountability.

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