All businesses have rules – some are simple, smart and understood by everyone; others are stupid, senseless and resisted by everyone. Simple rules make you efficient, they make you money and they make your team and customers happy. Stupid rules ensure you and your brand will be talked about for all of the wrong reasons…
Let me give you an example. On the weekend I went to the Queensland Art Gallery. My sweetheart was carrying a bottle of water. At the entrance we were informed that the water could not be carried around – it would have to be put into a bag. Not only that, they would supply a bag if we didn’t have one!
Further discussion with the staff member revealed that you could not drink water whilst in the gallery – for reasons which are still mostly unclear, but seemed to relate to the risk of spillage. Less than 20 metres away, inside the gallery is a lovely water feature that is easy to splash in if you feel like it… This ‘water in a bag’ rule is illogical, inconsiderate of visitors and makes the gallery look insane.
I’ve been to some of the best art galleries in the world, and never has anyone suggested I could not have a drink of water or carry around a water bottle. Australia is one of the hottest countries in the world. Does QAG really think that people will visit for hours on end without sustenance? (And no, don’t suggest the Café – sadly it was overpriced and the service underwhelming…)
I don’t know what their marketing cost of acquisition per visitor is, but it seems to me that the benefits arising from having a staff member mop up a spill if the unlikely was to occur would far outweigh the costs. Does this rule create a thirst for art or thirsty visitors?
What crazy rules are ruining your business? What written or unwritten rules are enforced in your business that annoy your customers or staff and create virtually no value except a sense of satisfaction for the bureaucratic bore who invented them? What would happen if you expected the best of your customers and staff instead of the worst?
Today’s task is to go find a few stupid rules and get rid of them – it is so easy to create happiness in business… why do so many make it so difficult?