The owner of a major
league ball club is suspended for off-hand racist remarks. A candidate
for Attorney General has her career cut short by an obsolete tax law.
GM is fined one hundred five million dollars for a faulty design, then
sues NBC for staging a fire for a news story. The new liberal administration
is clearly turning toward conservative values of home, hearth and family,
calling for mandatory registration of lobbyists and major campaign finance
reform. A new energy tax will help reduce the federal deficit while
cutting CO2 emissions.
No more "business
as usual." Managers in both the public and private sectors are struggling
to define new boundaries of what's right and correct, fighting to curb
waste, fraud, and inefficiency. A credit repair agency in Denver was
recently indicted for advertising more than it could deliver, and the
message is clear: to function in the hypersensitive business climate
of the 90's, professionals in all fields must conduct their affairs
under a new, more stringent set of moral, ethical, and social standards.
To insure that decisions
and dealings will stand the test of time, guerrilla managers apply the
litmus test of fair-care-share. Is it fair to all concerned? Do I really
care about these people, and have I demonstrated my caring? Have I done
my share, and a little bit more? Like the camper's motto, do you leave
the site cleaner than you found it, and always leave some wood? Follow
these principles consistently and you can't go wrong.
These new boundaries
are nothing new to the guerrilla. They have always known that the truth
is one of the most powerful weapons in their arsenal. They consistently
under promise and over deliver. They know that while the customer may
not always be right, they are always the customer. If someone is dissatisfied,
they ferret out the cause and correct it. They guarantee everything
unconditionally. They recognize the fiduciary obligations they have
to their employer and their community as well, and conduct all of their
affairs in ways that are socially, economically and environmentally
responsible. This sense of responsibility, that we're all in this together,
gives them the advantage of credibility in their relationships with
vendors and customers. Instead of selling "what's in it for me" they
sell "what's in it for us." By stressing mutual benefit, guerrillas
create a strong human bond that transcends simple commercial interests.
These new standards
will change our definitions of quality and service as well. In a Japanese
factory, if someone spills coffee on the floor, it's counted as a quality
fault. If someone is late for a meeting, it's a quality fault. Doing
a good job is elevated to an ethical standard; a matter of honor. This
"count everything" approach to total quality management is and important
reason why Japanese companies have been able to out-gun American manufacturers.
The same principle
applied to service means than no one should be left on hold for more
than a few seconds, all orders should be filled the same day, and vendors
get paid immediately. Guerrillas reward every customer by giving them
more than they expect, more than they paid for, and thereby build a
constituency of satisfied repeat customers.
also lavishly reward their stars. They set high standards and goals,
and are constantly on the lookout, trying to catch someone doing something
right. They encourage independent thinking and innovation, and they
never argue with results. They are ruthless enforcers of the new ethical
paradigm, highly intolerant of non-performers who would bring down the
curve. They do not abide racist or sexist language in the office, on
the shop floor, or even on the docks. If you have more than 15 people
working for you right now, fire one of them. That's right. Fire them.
There's someone in your operation right now who is unhappy with their
job, and you're unhappy with the job they're doing, and you already
know who they are. Do them a favor by giving them a new opportunity,
somewhere else. Chances are they won't be missed, and the rest of your
organization will breathe a sigh of relief at their exit.
can't out-spend you on things that don't cost money, and this new ethical
high ground can give your organization the competitive edge you need
to succeed, and it costs you nothing! Fail to elevate your standards,
and the competition will eat you alive.