What Can Be Done?
Our recent podcast about Internal Service providers brought up a theme that occurs relatively often in Manager Tools - what CAN be done? Sure, there's a bunch of laws about what can and can't be done. But in a lot of places what 'can't be done' is a function of what's been done in the past, or 'unwritten rules'.
An article in Texas Monthly discusses Southwest. Southwest had had a 'no furlough' policy which was under threat in the downturn in air travel after 9/11. The CEO said that the policy wouldn't be broken - and that forced the company to find other solutions to the lack of revenue. There were a variety of solutions, including one which came from the employees: discontinuing lawn services - instead, the employees brought in their own lawn mowers. Essentially, Southwest asked: if we're not going to furlough people, what can we do?
In another example - one that's perhaps easier to follow - the article describes Southwest's recruiting process. "Since the company was so picky about it's requirements, it hired only one percent of all applicants". That's having your barriers high and sticking to it, even in the face of empty seats. It's tough, but if you decide that's your standard, then you have to solve your other problems other ways.