Remember why you are in business.

I recently took a phone call from conference manager of a major hotel chain… a brand name that everyone in the world would recognise. This manager wanted me to complete an administrative form relating to how I would pay for an event that I was speaking at, that my seminar business was organising and holding in his hotel. Unfortunately I was travelling and I was unable to complete the form then and there. As a result of this the manager seemed overcome with an administrative spasm. “I need that form and we can’t go ahead with the event without it”, he said. Here is the rest of the conversation in summary: 

“No problem” I said, “To give you total peace of mind, although I can’t complete the form right now, I’ll pay everything upfront with my credit card, so you don’t need to worry about it”. 

“No it’s not about getting the money… it’s about getting the form back”. 

“I understand that, and as soon as I get back to the office later this evening I will complete all the paperwork and send it through to you. Actually, right now getting all the money in advance is even better for you than the paperwork”. 

“The money is not important to me”, he said! 

How many of your people tell customers and clients that paying “is not important?” 

The fact of the matter is that every business, regardless of its size will have its administrative processes, procedures and systems. That is absolutely fine, indeed it makes sense to do whatever is necessary to streamline the delivery of service. However, where the processing becomes more important than the commercial objectives of the business itself, then there is a problem. 

In this instance the conference manager was purely task driven on getting back his form. To him this process was more important than getting paid. 

Remember, you are not in business to fulfil and justify your administrative tasks. They are merely a stepping-stone to more important goals.