Should you Standardise?


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There is a line of thought that says standardise your processes.

  • Get everybody to follow the same process
  • The one designed to give you the best outcome
  • Minimise variation

After all without standardisation you just have anarchy.

But every customer is different

There is another line of though that every customer is different:

  • Every customer has different needs
  • Every customer has different perspectives
  • Every customer has different requirements

So no customer wants a standard outcome. If you insist in giving cookie cutter service all you will do is create cookie cutter dissatisfaction.

So which is it going to be?

Anarchy or Bureaucracy? Staff who do what they like when they like for every different customer creating a maelström of confusion? Or staff who follow the letter of the law, regardless of what the customer wants, like regimented unthinking fools?

How about a little discretion?

  • Be clear what your purpose is, what good looks like, what you are here to do
  • Provide a standard process, decide what the best known way is
  • Ask your employees to follow the process, until it stops meeting your purpose. Then let them run rough shod all over it

That way you might just end up with happy customers and engaged employees.

Processes make good servants but poor masters ~ Maz Iqbal

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Image by Nestlé

Republished with author's permission from original post.

James Lawther
James Lawther is a middle-aged middle manager. To reach this highly elevated position he has worked for many organisations, from supermarkets to tax collectors and has had multiple roles from running a night shift to doing operational research. He gets upset by operations that don't work and mildly apoplectic about poor customer service.


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