Every company has a handbook. Nearly every company I know that has a handbook has a handbook that is out of date. In fact, they are out of date the day they are printed as business is constantly changing and morphing and the procedures and policies that are written are many times so arcane that they have to be updated with any slight change in the business. In my career I resisted, fought, and screamed, when the “handbook update” came to me. I just thought that it made no sense to keep writing down more rules and policies that were being prescribed for the 10% of the population who couldn’t manage on their own without having something written down to fall back on when they didn’t know what to do. Rather, I was always a big fan of the department store, Nordstroms’ handbook. They had two policies. The first one was; In everything we do we serve the customer. The second one was: There is no other policy other than the first one. Everything they do/did at Nordstroms was pulled through that one policy and if you have ever shopped at one of their stores and dealt with one of their employees you can see it working in action. I often think about what is the one handbook policy that each of us should be working and living under and it is one that we all know already but we seem to forget in our daily interactions and work. Matthew 7:12: “Do for others what you would like them to do for you. This is a summary of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.” Words directly from Jesus and what has come to be known as “The Golden Rule”. If we were writing a personal handbook of how to conduct ourselves at work, there it is all summed up in a few succinct words. We are to approach each day and each situation and instance with the attitude of treating others how we would want to be treated by them if the tables were turned. I do believe we could build a company handbook off of that one principle if we so chose. Sounds almost too simple and true to work, but like Nordstroms says, if we believe that there is no other policy than the first one, then we will construct our work, manage our attitude and approach our day with the Golden Rule as the first and only. Imagine the change we each could bring in our workplaces today if this was the way we truly operated?
Reference: Matthew 7:12 (New Living Testament)