What we typically do is look to see what the people in management or leadership are doing and try to emulate them assuming that if those behaviors made them successful, those same behaviors will make us successful.
What this results in in some organizations is what I call "perpetuation of stupidity". If we have poor role models who are in upper management, we will begin to emulate those poor behaviors and those behaviors perpetuate themselves over time. Some of these poor behaviors come to us because of assumptions that managers hold.
The first is the assumption is that customer service is a strategic edge. In reality it is not customer service but rather service. There is a important difference. One of the reasons many organizations are in so much trouble is that they have lost all sense of the service ethic. As a matter of fact, the phrase customer service suggests unless somebody is a customer they do not deserved to be served. Therefore we are not tuned into to servicing co-workers, to servicing employees, to serving managers, to serving vendors or simply serving the people that we live with each day.
This loss of the service ethic has transformed all the way to the customer.
The people we should be focused on servicing are the people in the next step in the process. You have to ask yourself "Who is it I've been employed to serve?" The heart of service is what drives (or breaks down) relationship building.
Customer service should not be the objective, but it should be to better serve the people we work and live with.
The second assumption is we are smarter than our customers. We think because we are in a particular business we know what our customers need better than what they do. This happens a lot when your customers are internal customer within the organization.
Quality and service are what the customer says they are!
The next assumption is that people should conform to the system. The reality is that the system should almost always conform to the people.
When a crafts-person uses a tool, their using that tool to leverage their knowledge and their skill. It would be ludicrous to think that if the tool changed that the craftsman would have to adjust their knowledge and skill to tool, rather progress is always dependent upon the tools conforming to help the crafts-person. The problem is organizationally we create systems and when those systems do not work and do not support the people who work in the system, we demand that the people change.
In mental health the first sign of mental illness is rigidity of thinking. The first sign of organizational illness is rigidity of systems, telling people that the systems are locked into place, that they cannot be changed or improved to better the skills of the people that work their.
Make sure your systems are conforming to the customer (internal and external) rather than your customer conforming to the systems.
Do your systems truly leverage the knowledge and skills of the craftspeople within your organization?