100 Ways to Succeed #109:

The Clean Team!

“Everything in existence tends to deteriorate.”—Norberto Odebrecht

Computer terminals at Commerce Bank have a red button on the keyboard. When you (teller) run into a self (bank)-created roadblock to serving the customer, you push the red button. The impediment you discover will be addressed—and if action is taken, and it usually is, you’ll get a financial reward for discovering Grunge that had gotten between the customer and an excellent service experience. Commerce calls itself “Yes bank,” because it will go to great lengths to be able to say “yes” to damn near any customer request. The bank and its profits have grown like Topsy in a decidedly non-blue ocean—and has so far kept saying “yes” and kept the Grunge to a minimum. As is the case 100% of the time … the jury is still—and always—out.

My point-suggestion here is that you invent your flavor of Red Buttons for your 3-person department, your 9-person temporary project team, your 17-table restaurant, or your 235-person division. That is, formal tools for identifying Grunge and removing it and getting Everyone in on the GGG—Great Grunge [Removal] Game.

I, in fact, suggest going further. I suggest defining an entire, formal Grunge Removal Process or even “Culture”—that is, in effect, an anti-process process. One needs nothing less than a formal infrastructure to try and keep the “inevitable deterioration” in check—and maybe even reverse it. A host of possibilities are there for the taking (including some gems from the Lane-Welch book reluctantly cited above): an anti-grunge Pledge of Allegiance every morning—and an anti-grunge item on every meeting agenda. A C-level anti-grunge exec: CGRO, Chief Grunge Removal Officer. Rewards for Grunge Removers at all levels, punishments for Grunge Growers at all levels. Devices to continually purge systems and procedures and processes of complexity creep. And Red Buttons for one and all.

Get on with this today—begin by making Grunge Awareness and Grunge Removal a belated New Year’s Resolution. (For us “older” folks it starts with bodily Grunge Removal—a Life or Death commitment to diet and exercise and learning to say “no” to stupid requests. I.e., this really is the ultimate Big Deal in both our personal and professional lives.)

(Attached you’ll find a “beautiful systems” PPT extracted from our Master Presentation—sorry, but I didn’t have time to annotate it, which I will do in a few days.)

Tom Peters posted this on January 14, 2008, in Success Tips.
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