In every company, there is a hierarchy which can be easily charted. However, I have yet to see a correct hierarchy chart.
The top rectangle is usually reserved for the CEO, or President, or owner. Then the second tier is made up of; General Managers, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Operating Officer etc. This second tier reports to the big rectangle. Reporting to the second tier is the third tier. Usually, these are; Sales Manager, Procurement Manager, Logistics etc. Then a fourth tier we get into Store Managers, Supervisors of the different sections of the business; warehouse, sales, logistics. At the bottom are the employees that report to the fourth tier.
Some organizations have even more tiers and even more rectangles on each tier. It would look something like this.
You may be looking at this and think: “What is wrong with the chart? That’s exactly what we have.”
What is wrong is in the first big rectangle? It is mislabelled. The CEO, President, Owner is not the top of the hierarchy. You see that spot is reserved for the customer.
Without customers, there is no need for a hierarchy chart as there is no company to have any kind of hierarchy. Even though the CEO can fire the CFO and the COO can fire the Sales Manager etc., it is the customer that can fire the CEO and everyone else in the organization.
Now that you have gotten that aha moment, please take a look at the hierarchy chart and find the tier which your customer spends the most time with. I’ll give you a minute. The realization by many that I show this to is another gigantic aha moment. Yes, it’s the lowest tier. The counter person, the inside salesperson, the shipper in the warehouse, your service rep. You know, those people that are usually the least paid people and least trained in customer service in your organization.
I will close the circle for you; the ones in your organization that deal with the people that can fire the whole organization and make it go under so that no hierarchy chart is necessary are not only the least trained but also the lowest paid.
How important is this? Well, Richard Branson stated: “Take care of your employees and they will take care of the clients.”
Stephen Covey said: “Always treat your employees exactly as you want them to treat your best customers.”
“Don’t ask, what if we train them and they leave, ask instead what if we don’t train them and they stay?” Stated Levi Lusko.
The minimum that one should be required to make sure that the top rectangle, the customer, does not fire you is to make sure at the very least your bottom tier is properly trained in how to keep happy, loyal, paying customers.
I can hear the outcry: “That would be too expensive.” Sure, there is an expense. However, the better question may be: “What is it costing us not to get them trained properly?”