Genuine Curiosity

Author Dwayne Melancon is always on the lookout for new things to learn. An ecclectic collection of postings on personal productivity, travel, good books, gadgets, leadership & management, and many other things.


Throwing in the towel...

For years, just about every hotel I visit (and I visit a bunch of them) has a little sign in the room that tells me how much the world suffers because of all of the towels I make them wash every day. I'm sure you've seen the signs. They all go something like this (my paraphrased version):

Throughout the world, travelers like you cause the hotel industry to use a kabillion gallons of water and a whole boatload of energy every single day just to give you a new towel every day. You can save the world by re-using your towels.

To re-use your towels, hang them on the rack. Otherwise toss them on the floor or in the tub, and we'll replace them.

Every time I stay at a hotel for more than a night, I re-hang my towel so I can use it again. And, in about 99% of the cases, they take my towel anyway and give me a fresh, clean one.

In addition to hanging towels on the towel bar, I have tried hanging them in the closet, on the hook on the back of the door, and other places to keep from sending the world to Hell in a handbasket because of my excessive use of towels. Most of these have no effect (though hanging the towel in the closet usually keeps them from taking that one - but sometimes causes them to leave an additional towel in the bathroom).

What's my point?

This is about more than just towels. This is about business and management. What can we, as managers, learn from this?

  1. If your business sets a customer's expectation in a certain way, you should try to satisfy those expectations in a manner that's consistent with what you've said you're going to do.

  2. If you have a policy you don't enforce, why have the policy at all?

  3. If you implement a policy or practice which you expect your staff to fulfill on your behalf, it's your responsibility to ensure that the staff understands how to act according to your wishes.

Take a look at your business's policies, practices, and messages to your customers. Do they make sense? Does your staff understand what's expected of them? Are you fulfilling the expectations you've set for your customers?

If not, are you going to fix it? If it's your responsibility, what are you waiting for?