I got the blue plastic tub for free and turned it into a garbage can because it used to hold car wash soap so I didn’t want to use it for a compost bin and we turned the old garbage can into a compost bin. Do you know how much money they want for a compost bin?!?!? But I digress.
So the first time I used the blue tub for garbage it they refused to take it. I asked around and someone said it was over the limit. “What was the limit?” I asked and was told “It has to be able to be lifted easily.” A very logical limit. Also a very stupid one. Can you imagine the arguments and even law suits the city would get into if their limit was so vaguely defined? They’d have arguments from customers, from sanitation workers, from people who didn’t get hired as sanitation workers and even from their workers comp insurance company.
So I looked it up. The rules are: Can no larger than 42 gallons weighing less than 60 pounds, the garbage has to be bagged and the lid of the can cannot be hinged. My can violated 3 of those rule. I didn’t do my job. And the sanitation workers just didn’t take it. No fuming or yelling, no covering for my lack of performance. They just did their job and moved on. I’ve seen them be lenient about the hinged lids and also about the no bagging rule many times in the neighborhood which I appreciate, but I don’t begrudge them their decision to enforce the rules in my case.
Why am I telling you this?
This blog is supposed to be about business – your business – not my garbage problems. The point is that I’m familiar with too many business where the performance standards (rules if you will) are vague, even if they are logical. Things like “able to be lifted easily” which begs the question by whom? And how easily? For the record, I’m a middle aged, overweight guy who doesn’t work out and even I can lift that blue can easily, but I don’t want do to their job.
And so there is a lot of confusion and frustration in the work place about whether someone is doing their job properly. My garbage man and I have no such disagreement. My job is to put the trash out by 6AM on Wednesdays, bagged in a can less than 42 gallons weighing less than 60 pounds and his job is to take it away. The end.
[tags] entrepreneur, small business, CEO, Management [/tags]