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  • Writer's pictureRobert Stevenson

Corporate Decision Process

Robert Stevenson Blog - Walk A Shift In My Shoes

The great news is my wife’s emergency surgery was a success and she is on the mend. Taking care of her while she was recuperating was not an issue. That is just what you do … BUT … taking over “ALL” the things she does for the family, well that was a different matter. I needed to become Annie, and I had no idea what that entailed. Every time I turned around, there was something else that needed to be done or some errand that needed to be run.

Let’s just say, she is a whole lot better at being Annie than I am. I have a whole new appreciation for all the things she does; so many of them I took for granted and gave little thought to. I found out there wasn’t a “Little Leprechaun” running around the house magically taking care of everything. Well on second thought, there is … and the Leprechaun’s name is Annie.

The reason why I bring this up is so many leaders, managers, bosses lose perspective as to what the duties and responsibilities for each job in their company are. They are making decisions for these employees, yet they don’t fully understand what it is they do and all the stress they are under, rules that have to be followed, policies that have to be adhered to, times lines that have to be meet, and metrics that have to be achieved.

Years ago, one of my clients shared a simple, yet profound way their managers were taught to make a decision; it was called W.A.S.I.M.S. - which stands for Walk-A-Shift-In-My-Shoes. Before they ever put any new policy, rule or procedure in writing, they were required to go out on the front lines and try doing it with those who would have to implement their NEW idea. Many times, they found that what made sense in their office or board room … just didn’t work in the real world. In fact, if they did put out a policy, rule or procedure without having first tested it themselves with their staff, it was a fireable offense.

Let me repeat that. Before you make a decision about them, or for them, or that will affect them, please… “Walk a Shift In My (their) Shoes.” Go live the experience with them. See what they think. See if it will really help to make their job better. Don’t sit up there, in your “Ivory Tower”, and decide things before you ever test them out with those responsible for doing them. Your idea might be a great idea, but it may need a few tweaks to make it really work. You can only find that out first-hand, in the trenches, working side by side with them … seeing if it really works.

One of the biggest mistakes a manager can make is implementing a new policy before seeing how it will affect those on the front lines who have to follow it. Smart managers involve those who have to do it, in the decision; go “walk a shift in my (their) shoes” before ever changing anything.

Let me give you one other idea on this subject. Once per year every CEO should apply for a job at their company under a different name to see how maddening the process is for candidates. Great people can be knocking on your door to get hired and give up because of your hiring process. That is a shame... AND that is on YOU!

W.A.S.I.M.S. is a great way to ensure the success of changes that need to be made in any company.


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