Crippled CEO Blog #125:
In years past, we used to recommend to our dealers that they put a disclaimer at the bottom of their work order forms. It read something like this:
“We will be drilling into your deck. While we take every possible precaution, we will not be responsible for any pipes or lines we may drill through under your deck surface, or any chips, cracks, or any other damage to the deck.”
This makes sense, right? All kinds of water, gas, and electrical lines can be running under a pool deck, sometimes in places forbidden by the building code, and drilling through those could result in serious damage. We wanted our dealers to be protected if and when an accident like this occurred. Plus, this is what every other pool fence installation company did, too. It seemed smart. Responsible. Prudent, even.
As the decades went by, though, we learned some things.
Most dealers only have this happen to them once every few years.
And even though the customers signed a document saying that the dealers were not responsible, in almost every case, the dealer still ended up making the repair themselves or paying for it to be done. It was worth it to get paid for the job and make the customer happy.
So, since everybody was already taking responsibility for these accidents, we started recommending that the dealers change the language on the work order to read:
“We ARE responsible…”
Now, when giving an estimate, our dealers can point out that, unlike the competition, we take responsibility for our work. They say they don’t. We do. And sure, occasionally they have to fix something that wasn’t their fault, but that cost is outweighed by the jobs they get from people who choose them for that reason.
It’s good to try to be careful. It is good to try to prevent mistakes, and to have checks and balances. But I’ve also seen it get out of hand. I’ve seen instances where the cost of the prevention outweighs the problem or — more critically — hurts the culture because employees find it to be tedious, pointless overkill.
The pendulum typically swings and this direction as a company starts to get a bit bigger, as the business gets more conservative, and as certain employees attempt to justify their existence by creating additional bureaucracy. Just because something is safer does it mean that it’s better. Don’t let the cure be worse than the disease.
(Do you know who never wants protection? Your mom. Your mom also gets a text from me every Sunday with a link to the latest blog post. Send a text to 561-726-1567 with the word CRIP as the message to get a link to the blog as soon as it’s up.)