"Oh no....that's not my job"

Wanda Holderman: January 28, 20080 Comments

Bob Newhart has written a New York Times Bestseller called " 'I Shouldn't Even Be Doing This' and Other Things That Strike Me as Funny". In it he recalls a time when he was a salesperson at a tobacco products store. A customer came in and made a very sizeable order. Bob did not recognize him and asked for his name and pertinent information. Well, it turned out to be a guy named Anthony "Big Tuna" Accardo, the reputed head of the Chicago mob, which was known as "the outfit".

 Well, Bob took great care in writing down all the information and he felt it important to share with this customer the ordering and shipping process. He indicated to Mr. Accardo that when the packages arrived, Bob would place them in a designated spot that he pointed to. He told the customer "the shipping department will pick them up and put them at this workstation" (which he pointed to). Bob made the distinction that his workstation was in a different location than shipping's workstation and added, "if you have any trouble or the products arrive damaged in any way, that would be the responsibility of the shipping department and not the sales department, I would have nothing to do with it".

 Let's take care that when we speak to our customers about concerns, that we don't lay blame or undue suspicion on our colleagues. Those things are meant to be addressed in private and we need to support one another to the public and then deal with improvement opportunities in our "inner sanctum".