Does Your Business Have a Squeaky Door?
Updated: Feb 24
...and when are you going to fix it?
I work at a coworking/shared workspace (no, not that one) and while I really enjoy it here, there are certain elements of a shared space that can be "interesting". For instance, as I am writing this piece, three of my shared workspace compadres are having a spirited discussion in the next open cubical on the virtues of bitcoin, blockchain, and how to displace Google as the arbitrator of the internet... and while I'm not involved in this discussion, I'm not as quite as productive as I could be. Out come the noise-cancelling headphones and we're back in business.
Like many offices, there are shared restrooms here, and immediately after I started working in the space, I noticed that the men's bathroom door made a bit of a "squeak" at every opening (and closing). No big deal... initially.
Inevitably, because we live in a world where entropy reigns supreme, the squeak grew into a "squeeeeak" and became not only longer but quite noticeably louder as well. You can hear the actual sound of the door here: ENTROPY SQUEAK.
So, what happened to the squeaky door in our coworking space?
Nothing happened. It was going unnoticed... by everyone but me.
The squeaking persisted and - depending on the population on any given day in the coworking space - presented itself to any listening ear many times per hour. This continued for days... "squeeeeak" after "squeeeeak" after "squeeeeak".
I wondered if others could hear it. Did the facility's maintenance worker hear it (since he uses the same bathroom as the rest of us)? Could the receptionist at the front desk - 10 feet away - hear it? It was soon clear to me that I was the only one who seemed noticed this distraction. And why was I the only one who noticed? It was because I hadn't become used to the sound - yet. I hadn't been conditioned to think that this sound was "normal" and was to be expected. To me, the "squeeeeak" was unexpected, unpleasant and unnecessary.
Sooo... one sunny Saturday morning, I went into the office with a can of WD-40 and with no one else around, I eliminated the "squeeeeak" within a few seconds. It wasn't difficult at all.
So, "Who Cares?"
How can you apply this little parable in your world? Ask yourself, what is your business's "Squeaky Door"? What is the situation you've grown used to and don't really notice anymore? You need to figure this out, because it's a problem that many of your customers, clients or staff can't help but notice every single time it occurs.
What does your business do - and has probably done for a long time - that is a disconnect from your current customer's needs? Do you offer coupons when your customer is looking on the internet? Are you able to see the products and services you provide with fresh eyes? Are you hearing the same "squeeeeaks" your customers are hearing?
What is the policy, procedure or guideline that "squeeeeaks" every time it's invoked? The one that makes your newer staff members wince while your veterans don't? It strains on morale, it feeds discontent and could be addressed with a minimal level of effort... but it's still there in the employee handbook or the work instructions.
What is your organization's blindspot? The situation you have gotten used to but it is creating unnecessary problems that cost you (and your team) time, energy and resources every time it "squeeeeaks"? Is it unclear job descriptions that sabotage both the staff member's contribution and the team's outcomes? Is it poorly run meetings? Is it a disconnect between leadership behaviors and the KPI's you have established?
It's time to grab the metaphorical WD-40 and address that squeaky door that's driving your customers, clients and staff crazy - there's no time like today to get started!
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