Angry Gorillas: A Note To Employees

10 Aug

Taking a week off from Axioms to share a memo with you.  The COO of a small manufacturing company sends a note to all employees every week.  The title is “Pride of Excellence” and the subtitle on this one was: Every Order Matters to Someone.” Have a good read.

“Many of you may not have heard about the angry gorilla pumps last week.  We had an order going to XXX out in Los Angeles.  Everything was ready to go except a bronze impeller.  The impeller had been scrapped without consideration of impact on the customer and the order was rescheduled for the next bronze impeller.  The order status filtered through the system eventually reaching the end user.  Along with many unkind words, we were advised that these pumps were for the gorilla exhibit at the San Diego zoo.  The pumps were to run the water falls used to cool the gorillas.  Apparently, this made them somewhat cranky.

Once we figured out that angry gorillas may not be a good idea, the team leaped into action.  The scrapped impeller was deemed to be not so bad as to justify angering the gorillas.  A replacement impeller was expedited in.  We put a recovery plan into place and shipped the order.

Sadly, we should never have been in the position of angering the gorillas in the first place.  We failed to effectively discover and communicate customer needs.  We failed to consider the impact of our actions on the customer.  The point is not to beat people up over failures.  The point is to remind everyone that every order is important to one of our customers.    Every time we make a decision relating to an order, we owe it to ourselves and our customers to consider the impact.”

This is a very effective “note to employees.”  Why?  I would like to hear your opinions.

Beyond Luck is now an e-book on Amazon.  At $6.95 it’s a great deal.

One Response to “Angry Gorillas: A Note To Employees”

  1. Lynn Manternach August 10, 2011 at 7:49 am #

    Storytelling is the foundation of brand building. This is a great story that helps employees understand the bigger picture. It helps them see how their decisions – big and small – can have an impact on the customer. And it is posiitoned as an opportunity to learn from the past – rather than as an opportunity to beat up on employees.
    Great story. Thanks for sharing, John!

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