The attendant behind the counter presented my keys and rental agreement with a courteous smile. In her hand, two key-fobs were permanently attached to one another. She extended her hand further toward me. Still not taking the bulky key set from her hand, I stated, “I only want one key” (I make this request every time).
On cue, the attendant explained that the two key-fobs must remain together since the rental car may end up at a different location than where it originated. Smiling politely back at the attendant I told her this wasn’t my problem; it is the problem of the rental agency. I only needed the one key, the other tethered key is completely a non-value add to me. The attendant, still smiling, handed me the still-interlocked dual key-fob set and indifferently shared she had never thought of that.
This situation made me wonder: What “interlocked key-fob sets” has my company (or industry) passed on to our customers without giving it a second thought? Have we put a cumbersome countermeasure in place that might be more sleekly resolved if our employees knew this was our problem to own? Are our employees naively telling our customers why the solution works for us, or do our employees understand the countermeasure is because we haven’t solved the problem yet? I pondered why employees wouldn’t know that.
I also wondered how adequately I had informed employees of the problems we were trying to solve in addition to telling them the solution we were implementing. As a leader, am I helping employees keep focused on delivering value to our customers? Am I overlooking my responsibility of coaching and educating employees on how our piece of the business aligns to the purpose of our organization? Having no reason to doubt that car rental leaders are any different than myself, I’m going to start looking for the bulky key sets my process is handing out and start my work as a leader there.
How about you? As a leader, which inter-locked key fob are you untangling first?