I said this might be a recurring theme – trust does seem a pretty core theme for much that is good and bad about soft skills in hard times.
Let me tell you a Christmas time story. We were off on a short break to Devon, and had taken our small TV with us, but no remote control. Like most modern TVs, you need to tune it in if moved to a different area like when you first set things up. This is impossible to do without the control.
We called in at John Lewis on the way, and visited the madly busy small electrical section, waiting in a queue for a technical adviser. She suggested that they may have an extra one in their stash of remotes – but there wan’t our type in that box. Second, she advised us to look at the generic ‘all in one’ packages, but to open them, and check for compatibility We did, and amazingly our British assembled TV (Made by Lansar) had incompatibility problems with all makes. We asked for more advice, after the assistant (and a very appropriate description of her that word is) was returning from the depths of the warehouse where she had been to look for a possible replacement.
“I’ve got another idea”, she said. “I will take this remote from a returned TV in the sale, and you can borrow it for your holiday – we wouldn’t want you to be without it!” We remonstrated but she insisted. She took no details from us at all! We asked for her name and the address so we could post it back after the holiday, which we did with a note of thanks, of course.
We felt more obliged to send it back at the earliest opportunity because of the amount of trust she had shown.
I wonder if that’s a lesson we can all take into our organisations?
I know John Lewis has the philosophy of empowerment and all of the staff are Partners in the business. But doesn’t this story just show how living the creed means you practice it too. Is it any wonder they are so successful?
Here’s a photo that shows this sort of trust on a different scale.
This was hanging on the car park gate of a Defence establishment I visited last year. No-one steals it. Anyone can use it.
It’s all about trust. We need to have more of it