Failure to Follow DIRECTIONS: Why.
By Lloyd M. Gordon
Sunday, 3rd February 2008
In a chain organization, leadership and direction come from the top and filters downward- Each person has a boss -†The manager's boss is his supervisor, and/or director of operations. Here are some examples of breakdowns in following directions:

Example One
The company was planning a Washington's Birthday promotion. A memo was sent to all unit managers by the director of operations three weeks in advance to reserve advertising space in the local papers for the Sunday before the Holiday. In unit "x" the manager was leaving for vacation and his assistant was in charge.

The assistant did not read the memo until after the manager had left. Then he took no special action on it. The supervisor called during the week and asked the assistant if plans were underway for the promotion. He answered, "Yes, everything is taken care off".

When the day arrived, there was no advertising in the paper for that promotion. The business of the unit fell off. Inside the restaurant, everything was in readiness but the bulk of the business went to a competitor who was running his own big promotion that day.

In analyzing this there was a breakdown in the line of communications: Ask these five questions:
Was the communication clearly stated?
Answer: Yes, it was in writing, spelled out in detail as to what was to be done.
Was the communication identified as to its source?
Answer: Yes, it arrived in a special envelope from the operations office.
Did the message arrive in time?
Answer: Yes, there was ample time to have gotten the ad in.
Did the proper person receive the message?
Answer: No - the manager was the proper person normally, but since he was leaving, his assistant had to be aware of it.
Was there proper follow-thru on the message?
No, the supervisor asked a general question about the Washington's Day Special and heard an answer given in a "general" sense. Then he should have questioned the assistant in depth to make sure that he was doing what had to be done. This would have uncovered the fact that neither the manager nor the assistant had not placed the advertising.

Example Two
A new addition to the restaurant was being built. A restaurant design firm was contracted to make the blueprints. After the preliminary rough sketches were submitted the account man left the firm and another man took over. This caused some confusion and delay. The general contractor insisted that he wanted to begin at once. The owners agreed to begin, monitoring the daily progress personally so that the smallest details would not be overlooked as the existing drawings were not detailed or completed.

A carpet subcontractor had studied the sketches and had made his bid on them. Later the contractor discovered that the plans for a divider wall were rudimentary and that there had to be many feet of rubber base coving cemented to the paneling to finish one side of this divider properly.

He brought this to the attention of the owners and after a discussion, the owners suggested that the sub-contractor doing the carpeting should be asked to furnish and install this coving. The contractor asked the sub-contractor to do this. He agreed. When they laid the carpeting they attached the coving. The sub-contractor never refigured his bid to include this extra material and work.

After the job was finished, a bill was sent to the contractor for an up charge of $229.00 additional for material and labor. The contractor refused to pay this, and turned it over to the company for payment. The company refused to pay saying that the contractor had agreed that the coving should have been figured on the job and that the company only expected a "finished site". They should not have to pay for something that should have been included in the original bids.

The carpet company stated that they had nothing to do with the erection of the divider and paid no attention to anything other that factors directly affecting their carpet bid.

Where did this communication fall down? Ask these five questions:
Was the source of the communication clear?
Answer: No, it was not in writing.
Was the message clear?
Answer: Yes, the carpet company knew what needed to be done.
Did the proper person get the message?
Answer: Yes.
Did he get the message in time?
Answer: Yes.
Was there proper follow thru?
Answer: Yes, the job was done. The breakdown was in the gray area of the responsibility for paying for the services.

Example Three
New menus were needed. Six hundred special menus were to be imprinted on stock already held by the company. The printer was called and asked how soon he could imprint these menus.

The printer replied "in three days". The menu covers were delivered by an official of the company to the printer. He asked again, "How soon will we have these menus?" Again, the reply was "In three days".

On the third day, the company representative went to pick up the menus and received a sealed package of menus. Upon returning to the office, it was discovered that only 300 menus had been imprinted. The printer was called and asked why he had only printed 300 instead of the 600 covers delivered to him. He replied, "I thought you said that you only wanted 300 menus".

Where did the breakdown occur here? Ask these five questions:
Was the communication from the proper person?
Answer: Yes, but not in writing.
Was the message clear?
Answer: Yes, but it wasn't understood by the printer.
Did the proper person get the message?
Answer: Yes.
Did he get the message in time?
Answer: Yes, he had ample time to do the job.
Was there proper follow-up?
Answer: No, the exact amount was not mentioned repeatedly. Only the fact that they needed the menus in "three days".

Mr. Lloyd M. Gordon, President of GEC Consultants, Inc. has an MBA from the University of Chicago. He has concepted more than 390 restaurants and has been consulting for over 44 years. He helps people enter the restaurant industry, points the way to profitability, and helps keep them successful. To discuss "Failure to Follow DIRECTIONS: Why" he can be reached at† 847-674-6310†††www.gecconsultants.com

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