Being Accountable For Rules That Impact Others
Recently, several highly placed members of the U.S. government have been either protested while out on the town, refused service at restaurants, or both. They claim that they should be left alone in their “off hours.” The other side argues that the policies these representatives have put in place don’t have any “off hours,” so any time is fair game.
The lesson here: If you make rules that impact others, you as a leader need to be open to the feedback of others, both good and bad. It doesn’t matter if you’re the corporate CEO, the nonprofit executive director, or the entrepreneur with a new mousetrap. You should be making decisions that you’re comfortable discussing with the people impacted. I had a client a few years ago who prided himself on the fact that he never had to interact directly with customers. Thankfully we were able to change that behavior.
When you isolate yourself, you lose vital perspective. You miss changing personal trends. You can’t directly see the positive or negative impact your brand creates. And there is a real risk that you’ll create a product or service that is at odds with your personal or organizational mission. You end up with something you wouldn’t even buy yourself.
Part of great leadership is great decision-making, which is based on great data. Cut out the middleman, and get your hands dirty. Your customers will respect you for it.
This week’s mission:
As you know, feedback often comes whether you ask for it or not. So let’s ask for it. Consider the many decisions you’ll be making in the near future that affect your customers. This week, identify a small group of customers, and run your idea or rule or policy past them before you put it in place. You might select a few people from your list and email them individually, give them a call, or talk to them when they walk in the door. Be transparent and accountable. You don’t need to do everything that they say, but you do need to let them know you are listening. You may be surprised by the constructive feedback you’ll receive.