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Discretionary Effort: What is it? How do you earn it?

August 9, 2018

I recently called a reputable hotel chain to speak about a discrepancy in my bill. After 5-7 minutes of conversation, I was told to call back the following day as the manager wasn't around to make the decision. This floored me on multiple levels. It couldn’t have taken much effort for the lady to take my number and have my call returned. My initial thought was that this was not an employee that cared. Then I asked myself, is it the employee or the company? After all, at the end of the day you reap what you sow. Situations like this, especially as it relates to customer service, seems to be rampant across all businesses and industries. So, we all need to ask ourselves…..Are my people giving discretionary effort? Are they willing to go above and beyond the minimum required? One of my favorite quotes, by Clarence Francis (Chairman General Foods), says it all. “You can buy a person’s time, you can buy a person’s physical presence at a given place; you can even buy a measured number of skilled muscular motions per hour or day. But you cannot buy enthusiasm; you cannot buy initiative; you cannot buy loyalty; you cannot buy the devotion of hearts, minds and souls. You have to earn these things”

What are you doing to earn your people’s discretionary effort?

 

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