Don’t cut corners.

I recently read an article on CNN.com that reported on a story about a group of TSA agents who were putting slips on bags saying they were checked when they really weren’t. They were not doing their job which caused the people on those planes to be exposed to the threat of danger!

The issue wasn’t the SOPs (standard operating procedure). They clearly had a system to follow. In my opinion, these TSA agents lost the vision for why they were hired in the first place. They were not hired to do this or that checklist; to follow this SOP and that SOP. The agents were hired to protect human life from dangerous objects/people getting into those planes! At some point one of the employees must have thought, “Hey, if I just put a slip on this bag and don’t actually go through the work of digging through the bag, then my job is much easier and my boss will never find out,” or simply put, “Hey, I don’t have to do my job.”

This seems to be a case where value and integrity were not continually discuss amongst team members or given great importance by their superiors. The goal should not simply be, “to get as many bags through security as possible so you can go home early or be SEEN as an efficient employee”. Their Standard Operating Procedures are just a tools used to accomplish the goal of “Securing Airports and Airplanes”, so whose job is it to communicate the importance of following these SOPs? That is who fell short.

A SOP is not the way to a successful business. It is simply a tool to accomplish a greater vision.

Ask yourself:

  • Where have you in your business or personal life tried to lean on a SOP as the answer rather than a tool to accomplish your goals?
  • Do you express the importance or the reasoning behind a SOP to your employees?
  • Or if you are an employee, I challenge you ask your boss or manager about an SOP that isn’t important to you. Most likely, there is a very important reason behind why.
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