Maintaining Company Standards

One night, my wife and I went out to dinner at a popular upscale restaurant. The restaurant grounds included a beautiful garden on a lush green lawn. As we enjoyed our meal and each other’s company, we heard the pitter-patter of little raindrops against the windows. By the time we paid the check, those little raindrops had become a big downpour. As we waited inside for the valet to bring our car around, I couldn’t help noticing the lawn’s sprinklers were on at full blast — while the rain kept pounding down! I asked the young assistant manager on duty why the sprinklers were on.

“It’s Tuesday, sir,” he said brightly. “We always turn on the lawn sprinklers on Tuesday.”

“Oh, I see,” I said. “It’s an automated sprinkler system set up to run every Tuesday?”

“No, sir, I turn the sprinkler on and off myself,” the assistant manager said. “It’s one of my duties.”

Puzzled, l gestured at the windows. “But it’s already raining. Isn’t it overkill to have the sprinklers running while it’s raining?”

“Well…” Suddenly the assistant manager was at a loss for words. “That’s what we do here on Tuesdays, sir. I’m just doing what my boss told me to do.”

Performance standards must be results-oriented, not task-oriented. If you want to get your boss in trouble, do exactly, literally, what he tells you to do. This young man was just following the rulebook, doing what he’d been told had to be done on a typical Tuesday. He hadn’t stopped to think why he was putting on the sprinklers in the rain; he’d simply figured he’d better follow his superior’s instructions to the letter, downpour or not, otherwise he’d be in hot water with his boss.

Make strong, specific performance standards your company’s standard operating procedure!

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Paul Cherry

For over two decades, sales expert and author PAUL CHERRY has helped B2B sales professionals close more deals in all major industries. As a recognized thought leader in customer engagement strategies, Paul Cherry has been featured in more than 250 publications, including Investor’s Business Daily, Selling Power, Inc., Sales & Marketing Management, The Kiplinger Letter, and Salesforce.

Performance Based Results

Paul Cherry is the president of Performance Based Results. PBR delivers intense, customized sales team training programs and sales management coaching to companies throughout North America. Paul has worked with more than 1,200 organizations, including 175 of the Fortune 500, plus more than a thousand entrepreneurial, small to mid-sized, cutting-edge businesses looking to dominate their niche markets. Clients typically get 7 times their return-on-investment (ROI) or better.

Questions That Sell

Paul Cherry’s top-rated bestseller, Questions That Sell: The Powerful Process for Discovering What Your Customer Really Wants (AMACOM) has been listed on BookAuthority’s “100 Best Sales Books of All Time” and has been published in four languages. He is also the author of Questions That Get Results (Wiley) and The Ultimate Sales Pro (HarperCollins Leadership).