Mediocrity Starts with Average People

Seth Godin has an interesting post regarding mediocre service he recently received at a Westin in Florida. In a nutshell, Seth’s point is that you need to hire terrific people who can think vs. focusing efforts on giving them scripts, procedures, etc. to work by. I completely agree with him. For, it’s the great people that deliver memorable service, think on their feet when the “system” doesn’t work, or best of all, come up with the really fantastic idea that everyone else thought was stupid just last week.

In a follow-up post, Mr. Godin more than adequately answers to Chris Garrett’s Sticking to The Script thought, “I would rather have great procedures and top quality training and ok staff than brilliantly creative staff and ok procedures”. I’ll add my two cents…indeed, it can be argued that systems and procedures actually encourage the hiring of average folks. It’s part of the “robot” mentality that’s been created by corporations building a “box” for the staff to work within. Employees simply aren’t allowed to explore beyond the boundaries, at least not for real. So, Chris, I think you’re outnumbered on this one. Systems are good only when they are married with creative, “thinking” people. If that doesn’t work, change the people!

Honestly, does Westin or any other chain hotel really want to project an image that every response to a guest question is scripted, that every stay will be like the last? Of course not. Unfortunately, most of these behemoth hotel companies just don’t get it when it comes to hiring and caring for their people (See When You Care It Shows). And, that shows.

If you hire idiots and "yes" men (there are plenty out there…as an example just check out Seth’s other post about a really stupid sign), you will go down in flames. People don’t want to deal with idiots, and they certainly aren’t satisfied with mediocre service or products. They want memorable, believable and emotional experiences which are delivered by real, thinking, human beings.

Whatever happened to the premise of hiring a whole bunch of people smarter than you?