- Chapter 25 -
OVERCOMING THE OBJECTION
"IT'S AGAINST OUR POLICY"
very business or organization must establish certain policies. These are simply rules to guide the behavior of the people involved, so that a consistent direction can be maintained, and the goals of the organization most easily achieved. Clearly, people up and down the line of authority cannot make their own rules as they go along, or else problems would result. Any intelligent person can see the value of policy-making.
Having said this, I would like to submit the following statement: You and I do not always have to let our lives be controlled by other people's policies.
The point is that, on occasion, an exception to a policy not only would work to your benefit, but it might even benefit the organization, or at least not work to its detriment. Your task is to determine what occasions justify a change in policies and how to get people to implement them.
Any good bureaucrat, or any employee on a lower level, knows that taking the initiative to make a logical and imaginative variation in policy brings about little or no glory if it works, but can bring about havoc if it fails. Therefore, they learn to use the expression, even when they agree with the customer that the application of a rigid policy is completely illogical in the case involved, "I don't make the policies. I just implement them." Or, on other occasions, you are greeted with the expression, "It's against our policy," stated with all of the authority of Forever and Ever, Amen. It is amazing how many people cave in under the circumstances.
Frequently, there is someone up the line who has the authority to override the policy, if the situation justifies it. Find out who the person is. Learn the name, and use it.
Here is a fine example of policy variation: when Peter Gosnell registered at a seminary in another state he applied for a Visa credit card. He was refused on three counts:
- He was not employed;
- He had not lived in the state for three years; and
- Not having made any purchases on credit, he had no record of making payments on time, or of borrowing money and paying it back.
He was clearly told, "It's against our policy to issue a credit card under these circumstances."
Many people would have stopped there, but Peter worked his way up the line until he found a supervisor who had authority. By telling his personal story, showing his bank account, and by communicating honesty and sincerity, he was granted the card. Everyone benefited. Obviously, Visa is in the business of issuing credit cards to people who pay their bills. The seminarian got his credit card, and I can vouch for the fact that he paid his bills. Through his initiative, the supervisor had the satisfaction of adding one more customer, who would otherwise have been rejected. And the clerk did his job well in doing what he was told.
My wife is an absolute marvel at persuading store managers and various functionaries to vary policies on occasions, when there is a need. When it comes to cashing checks, she is so genuinely sincere and so honest-looking that if she wanted to be a con-artist, she could hornswoggle people all over the country.
She uses something like this approach: "Mrs. Sherman, I can understand your policy about cashing checks. There are so many dishonest people in the world today, and I think the young man I just talked with was properly following company rules. However, I am eager to make some purchases, and I can give you all kinds of credit references. You may call my bank if you would like to."
Under the circumstances the Mrs. Shermans of this world are very responsive, and rarely do they call the bank. Furthermore, the store benefits. The checks are good, and the purchases are helpful to the store, though not to the family joint bank account back home.
Certain nameless people have complained about how easy it is for Mother to cash a check when other people are rejected because of appearance or some other prejudicial factor. "It's not fair." Certainly, it's not fair. Who said the world was fair?
However, is the world going to be made any more fair by having a person refrain from cashing a check just because somebody else is unable to? I feel strongly about the need to bring about as much fairness and justice as possible in this world and to demonstrate compassion for all human beings.
On the other hand, there is no reason to stop making circumstances work for your benefit, or to exert some control on your environment if such actions do not hurt others. To state a maxim: If by your winning, you cause someone else to lose, that is one thing. However, if you succeed, and no one else fails as a result, that is another.
Do not let your life be dictated to by other peoples' policies. Choose the occasions wisely when you are asking for a change of policy from another organization for your own benefit. Likewise, when you are the one being asked, make a change in policy for someone else's benefit, but not to the detriment of your own organization, if you have the authority and it is appropriate.