OK, maybe there are two, but we’ll get to that in a moment.
What an interesting thought this is. For years, Nordstrom’s employee handbook consisted of only one page with the following thought typed on it:
Welcome to Nordstrom. We’re glad to have you with our Company. Our number one goal is to provide outstanding customer service. Set both your personal and professional goals high. We have great confidence in your ability to achieve them. Nordstrom Rules: Rule #1: Use best judgment in all situations. There will be no additional rules. Please feel free to ask your department manager, store manager, or division general manager any question at any time.
This mantra goes beyond the customer is always right. It surely implies that the customer may be right, but also places a tremendous amount of trust in employees. All employees. Not just long-term employees or employees that have delivered over time. When was the last time you felt that you could trust everyone in your organization to use their best judgment at all times? It’s been a while for me, too.
My guess is that there was a tremendous amount of training that took place behind the scenes before employees were left loose on the department store floor, but that’s just fine with me. Great organizations do a great job of instilling their values and culture through training and have a process in place to ensure that employees are ready for the responsibilities they’ve been given. Good (or not even good) companies don’t. It’s that simple.
What did that training entail? At the moment, I don’t know. I’d like to think that it encompassed the thoughts espoused in John Maxwell’s wonderful book “Theres No Such Thing As Business Ethics: There’s Only One Rule For Making Decisions“. That thought (which is also the second rule mentioned above–I told you we’d get back to it): Treat others the way you would like to be treated.
Those two rules combined, (1) Treat others the way you would like to be treated and, (2) use your best judgment in all situations provide a wonderful foundation for all businesses (and life in general). Don’t you agree?