In Part 1 of this discussion, I brought up the issue of taking or starting over as a service manager and introduced the idea of preparing three memos. No doubt, preparing and distributing these memos to your people takes courage, but courage is something that a true leader posseses, along with other qualities. John W. Gardner, former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare directed a leadership study project in Washington D.C. and identified five characteristics that defined the differences between “run of the mill” supervisors and supervisors who not only manage, but also lead their teams.

…..Long-term thinking beyond the day-to-day tasks that need to be handled.

…..Interest in all other departments within their organization, understanding how all departments affect one another in the function of the entire organization.

 …..Operating according to a strict code of values, maintaining a long-term vision and motivating others positively.

 …..Always being willing to work cooperatively with other supervisors and departments.

 …..Not accepting the status quo.

All these are important, but I want to focus on the last one when it comes to preparing your three memos….not accepting the status quo.

Status quo…..thats the way things have always been done here ….nobody else has ever done this here…..etc….etc…etc… When you decide to prepare and present your three memos, you’re not living by the status quo….and as an effective service manager, you shouldn’t be.

As I mentioned, the three memos are on the following subects: What I Stand For, What I Won’t Stand For, and What I Expect From You. And, what you put into these memos is simply identified by the subject. If you believe that your organization is bound by ethics to provide the best service possible, always be honest and above-board, never cutting corners on any job, then that’s what you stand for. Put that in the What I Stand For memo.

When it comes to your What I Won’t Stand For memo, think about the things you simply won’t tolerate. It could be something as simple as those business cartoons, sayings, or jokes people like to collect and post in their office….you know, things like a sign that says “You don’t have to be crazy to work here, but it helps!” and other negative things that I personally won’t tolerate because I know the effect it has on an organization and the people in it…. or it could be something more serious than that. Whatever it is, it’s what you won’t stand for, and it’s one of the things that your people have a right to know about you so they can do the best job they can do.

As far as your What I Expect From You memo, consider that some things that we take for granted may need to be listed, such as showing up for work on time on Monday regardless of whether or not the weekend was a wonderful party. Or, you could list every point that’s important to you regarding how your customers will be treated by everyone in your organization.

The important thing to remember is that these three memos are yours, and you are one who needs to decide exactly what goes into them. And, keep in mind that once you have them accomplished, and your people have an understanding of who you are and how you want things done, they’re not chiseled in stone. Things change, and an effective leader changes along with things when necessary. So, if a year has gone by and you feel the need to distribute three new memos, go ahead.

Jim

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