Your company is on a great and important mission. You’ve done the work to align your values and measures.

Fantastic!

And then you shoot yourself in the foot by being inconsistent. It’s a matter of trust.

Trust takes a long time to build, but can be destroyed in an instant. That same principle applies in business.

Imagine that you’ve built your identity around stellar customer service. You’ve trained all your people, and made sure that customer satisfaction will be rewarded.

So someone brings you a tough situation: it appears that a large customer is taking advantage of you. You’ve seen the long term history with this client, you start putting the patterns together, and you lose your patience. No more! They’re gone!

I understand what’s brought you to this action, but did you explain it to your employees? Because what they saw was that one questionable situation resulted in what feels like a terrible overreaction.

All your hard work to build a company around customer service is gone. Your people have learned that satisfying customers is all talk, to be quickly sacrificed.

The decision may have been necessary, even correct. I’m not talking about that.

It’s about being transparent with your people when an action appears inconsistent. Tell them why. Explain all the relevant factors for why you acted the way you did.

Most likely, they’ll understand and support you. The trust will still be there.

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