People Trump Policies – Every Single Time
I’m taking a little down time this week, including a brief blogging break. Meanwhile, I’m reaching back into the archives for posts that even I forgot I’d written. (Feel free to insert your own “forgettable” burn here.) A modified version of this post originally appeared in March 2012.
I was recently tipped off to this post by Phil Cooke. One quote worth mentioning…
…your customers, media audience, or donors don’t care about your policy about anything. Policies are to help you do your job – they don’t help the customer. Only in extreme cases should you use a policy as a back stop when a situation with a customer or client gets out of control.
But remember – customers don’t care. Your “policy” about something is YOUR problem, not theirs.
On our First Impressions teams, we have a ton of policies. First Time Guests have reserved parking. We seat people from the front to the back so that latecomers aren’t left looking for seats on the front row. The auditorium doors don’t open until fifteen minutes before the service so we can get it cleaned and prepped. We never let guests get wet and we never feed ’em after midnight.
(Oops, that’s a policy for another team.)
We don’t make a big deal out of our policies externally. Unlike the story in the post cited above, we don’t trumpet policies needlessly. They’re there for us so that we’ll make sure we’re serving guests well. But that’s the point…they’re for us to follow, but they benefit the guest. That means that if a policy gets in the way of a person, we set the policy aside whenever possible.
Sometimes it’s possible, but not reasonable. For example, if someone is attending the Summit for the 49th time but still wants First Time Guest parking, well then, that requires a kind, grace-filled conversation. (“Jesus loves you, but if you park here again we’re going to let the air out of your tires.”) No, we don’t let folks run rough-shod over the policies. They’re policies for a reason.
But policies won’t – they can’t – get in the way of people. A policy is supposed to contribute to the experience, not detract from it. If a policy is running the risk of doing that, we reevaluate, adjust, and possibly get rid of it altogether.
What are some policies you’ve seen – in this church or another – that make no sense? Comment below.