Rules of the Ball Park: A Lesson on Standards from Fenway

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This past weekend, my wife and I enjoyed some time at Fenway. During the game, we made two trips to the counter to get a glass of wine. Jolie and I were both asked for ID each time that we went to the counter. Not only were we carded, but everyone was carded. When I say everyone, I don’t just mean everyone that may have appeared on the younger side, but also the gentleman with the cane who was clearly over sixty.

This may seem like a lot of needless work and energy wasted, not to mention time in the teeming lines of the ball park. So, why? The answer is simple. It’s their policy. The sign clearly states it: No ID, no alcohol. Period. It’s very likely that many problems have been halted by their strict adherence to this policy. I asked the attendant if he really carded EVERYONE. He smiled and said, “Yep!” Despite the complaints that he probably hears from spirited patrons, it was obvious that he likes his job. A job that is made simpler by policies that spare him margins for error or making judgment calls.

When it comes to the strategies of protecting your business and providing a certain level of customer service, your standards are critical. Do your team members stray from upholding company policies? Are they allowed some “wiggle room,” or is it an obvious shirking of compliance? How often does your firm deviate from the standards you know are vital to your organizational health? If the answer is anything other than never, the reason for the deviation deserves attention.

It’s all about toleration. In the end, what you choose to tolerate or “let slide” will persist, and not without effect.


What are you tolerating?

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