When protocol fails, miserably.

There are certain ways of doing things. Certain ways of going about achieving a specific goal that you want. I get that.

Let’s call this protocol.

But what happens when your protocol doesn’t make sense? When it is a useless waste of time for your customer or you?

Let’s explore.

The back-story.

I’ve got a heart condition that requires that I have a pacemaker. I’ve had it since I was 13 (I’m now going on 28). And my son has it as well.

But now I have a newborn in the house and we need to get him tested for it. So here’s the skinny on it.

I have the condition that we know is genetic. My son has it. So why then do I have to go to see the doctor for an office visit when all I need to do is get my newborn tested for the specific gene to see if he has it?

The answer? Protocol.

You see, I have to take him into the doctor, have him walk in the room for 3.5 seconds and write me a referral to get the test done. Why? Because that’s the way it’s done. It’s routine. It’s money for the doctor because he gets to show his shining face to me for absolutely nothing.

Protocol fails here…miserably.

The logical thing to say would be “Well I see you have the condition, so does your other son, so let me sign the referral to get this one tested too. Then, if he does have it, we can schedule a checkup at that time to get him in as a new patient.”

That’s logical. But you’ll never hear that when a new patient and money is at stake. This protocol is a waste of my time and money.

How it relates to business.

In our businesses we try to steamline things. We try to process things to death and make it easier on us in the long run. There’s nothing wrong with that. The problem lies when we let the protocol for taking care of our customers overtake the solution to the problem at hand.

It’s okay to have a process. We should so that we can get more efficient at it. But let us not let that process become what we do. A few examples of industries that have processed protocols to death are:

  • medical
  • insurance
  • fast food
  • mass production
  • car sales
  • web design
  • marketing
  • writing
  • social media
  • consulting

Just to name a few. Don’t jump all over me just yet though. I’m not saying these are all bad. I’m saying there are people in every industry that process things and try to make everything the same for everyone.

But there is no one-size-fits-all solution for anything. How-to’s are really pretty lame because they rarely work for anyone other than the author. I can attest to many things I’ve followed the recipe for to make dinner and something just didn’t quite look right even though I followed the directions exactly.

Let us remember to push the status quo. Let us remember to change things up. Let us not follow protocol in every single situation. Sometimes it just doesn’t fit. (Tweet that!)

6 thoughts on “When protocol fails, miserably.”

  1. The business of medicine is horribly flawed. I’ve raised three children with disabilities and I can’t tell you how much of that time was spent on ridiculous protocols. I concur.

    1. Thanks for the comment Karla! WHy yes it is…but so are many other industries. That one seems to take first place most of the time though. Sad to say. You must have a ton of patience dealing with all you’ve been through!

    2. Great post! Protocol only gets in the way of progress, positive change, and happy customers. I’ve received some bad costumer services because employees where following the rules or protocol.

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