Do You Think Your Employees are the Problem? They’re Not — It’s You!

Blog Pictures 048Placing blame for organizational problems is what executives like to do.  If it isn’t unions or a poor education system, it has to be incompetent workers?  This doesn’t exonerate all workers, but 95% of them — yes!

Have you ever worked in the trenches?  We are not talking about when you were in high school or college, but today.  Since you got that executive position, you have been so busy planning and hitting the numbers that you have forgotten what the work is all about.

Customers are being represented by numbers rather than relationships.  That report tells you nothing about what is important to the customer.  Without a touchstone and principles to guide your path over-control and over-engineering reign supreme.

What is a good touchstone?

The Customer.

That’s the big “C” and not the little one.  Not the internal customer and other such non-sense, but the end customer.  The one that pays salaries and provides profit.

Make a customer happy and you stand a chance.  Bury your head in reports and internal drivel — watch for the downward spiral.

What about principles?

Executives embrace dictates — send me a report, project plan and data.  Make a decision and then follow-up with policies, rules, procedures and scripts.  Next, inspect and audit the worker into submission.

Then ask, ” Why are my workers not critical thinkers?”

Your work design seeks compliance — not thinking.  Check your brains at the door and pick them up on the way out!

Principles are something different.  Principles are guidelines developed to deliver what is important to the customer.  Customer-facing workers can think and deliver with principles.  Rules and scripts do not provide that leeway.

So, the next time a counterpart — because you are not the problem — wants to disparage a worker, tell ‘em that we designed it that way.  Don’t blame them.


Take a look at your organization as your customers see it – our 4-day workshop has been called “an awakening experience.” You will understand the customer view of your organization and take inventory of the assumptions, beliefs and perspectives that drive performance. Tripp Babbitt is a service design architect and organizational futurist. His company helps service organizations understand future trends, culture and customer. The 95 Method designs organizations to improve the comprehensive customer experience while improving culture and management effectiveness. Read his column at Quality Digest and his articles for CallCenterIQ. Reach him on Twitter at or LinkedIn at




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