My local DIY/Bricolage/Hardware store has terrible service. But now, by adopting a tradition started by Walmart (a tradition which is now extinct) there is an employee greeting you at the door, saying, “good morning sir”. The service continues to be terrible.
One of the largest consumer electronics companies in the UK has bad in-store service. If you need product information, chances are you know more than the shop’s staff. They are very good at something, though, reading the text on the box to you, just in case you can’t read. To improve the service, they now have staff coming to you, from the corridors, sometimes a few of them at a time , with a loud “can I help you?”. Of course, if you say yes, they will still end up reading the specifications on the box to you.
A financial services company with a record of semi-un-ethical behaviour, has installed confidential phone lines for ‘whistle-blowing’ in the hope that some employees will use them and this will prevent further embarrassments. That company has done nothing to dig into the root causes of the unethical behaviour (connected in part with the way employees are rewarded), but the ‘whistle-blowing’ lines have made frontpage news.
These are three different examples of Corporate Botox. The initiatives will get rid of some embarrassing wrinkles, the look will be greatly improved and everybody will ‘feel’ much better. Nothing really changes.
Cosmetic treatment in organizations, invasive or not, is always a possibility, I guess. When part of a deeper transformation, I don’t have any problem with this. On its own, it’s a bit of a joke. But, you’d be surprise how much airtime these ‘initiatives’ steal.
We must distinguish between organizational photoshopping and the real thing. Don’t be fooled by a new logo, a new uniform or a new customer language. Suspend judgment until you see if they finally stop reading the spec to you.
Dr Leandro Herrero is the CEO and Chief Organization Architect of The Chalfont Project , an international firm of organizational architects. He is the pioneer of Viral ChangeTM, a people Mobilizing Platform, a methodology that delivers large scale behavioural and cultural change in organizations, which creates lasting capacity for changeability.
Dr Herrero is also an Executive Fellow at the Centre for the Future of Organization, Drucker School of Management. An international speaker, Dr Herrero is available for virtual speaking engagements  and can be reached at: The Chalfont Project .