No Policy

I just read a report from US Travel Assoc. claiming that the reason travelers skipped out on 38Million trips in 2013 (resulting in a negative economic impact of $35BILLION – $9.5Bilion specifically to airline) was the hassles associated with flying. Some of the listed hassles include baggage fees, flight cancellation/delays; and security lines; and they all seem to involve rigid adherence to policies.

This reminds me of a steakhouse here in town that is infamous for upholding their CASH ONLY policy for over 50 years. After some resistance; they did arrange to have an ATM installed in the entryway. Similar to airlines, they offer a valuable service; yet continue to turn away customers in order to defend their policies.

Policies, defined as a course of action adopted for the sake of expediency or prudence; are typically designed to benefit the organization that created them (by dramatically minimizing risk or exposure).

I understand that most policies are ‘deserved’; or put into place after a specific ‘incident’ that brought about an undesirable result. But in the quest of making things safe and predictable; policy makers sacrifice quality, originality, judgment, any hopes of a remarkable experience, and limit the maximum performance to a mere marginal improvement over the minimum standards.

Compare these with the revolutionary behaviors (and resistance from policy defenders) of businesses like food trucks or ride-sharing services (like Uber and Lyft). They tend to operate without using cash or many other traditional policies – preferring to work on a ‘natural system’ of serving customers in a way that also benefits the business. This allows them infinite opportunities grow, expand, and evolve that cannot be outlined or contained in a sales binder.

Do you find established policies hinder your creativity or ability to serve customers needs?
What do your policies say about your company and perspective of customers?