Saturday, April 28, 2012

Whose Standards?

There's lots of talk about standards in the domestic service industry: high standards, five-star standards, raising standards, impeccable standards. 

But, there's only one set of standards that count. And, you won't find them in a book, a training program, or online:  

It is the client's standards and assessments that count. Not those of the team itself, except in those rare cases when the team is the client of its own work. Not those of outside researchers or evaluators, except when they are engaged to do an assessment by those who do have legitimacy as reviewers. And not even those of the team's manager, who rarely is the person who actually receives and uses a team's output.

Rather than serve as a surrogate client, the [estate] manager's job is first to help the team identify the standards that are used by its real clients [the principals], and then to do whatever can be done to help the team meet those standards.

- From Leading Teams: Setting the Stage for Great Performances, by J. Richard Hackman, Professor of Social and Organizational Psychology, Harvard University (Harvard Business School Publishing, 2002)