Sep 27, 2010
I tend to buddy up taxi drivers. No, it’s not that I think they are fascinating to talk to, I have much more mundane reasons. I’m so obsessive about this that I have my own driver that I call in quite a few cities.There are actually reasons for this. First, I’m not a smoker, so if a driver smokes, I can usually smell it and it bothers me a bit. Second, I like to sit in a clean car. Third, Some cabbies are a bit too willing to fart in their cars. Lastly, I just like to give business to people who are “good guys.”
One city I don’t have a regular cabbie in is New York. It would be far too difficult to find someone considering how long it takes a cabbie to get across town for me to have any expectation that someone would come pick me up. Additionally, most cabbies in New York are not particularly friendly, and drive in such a way as to make me want to hurl within 3 minutes. However, today I had probably the most surprising New York cabbie experience of my life.
I have an apartment in Greenwich Village and on this particular morning I was heading to JFK to go home to SFO. I was looking around for a place to eat, but nothing is really open in the Village before 11am, so I just hopped in a cab complaining about the lack of food. About 3 blocks before the Williamsburg Bridge, the driver pulls over in front of an Indian restaurant, tells me to get out, and escorts me to the counter where he proceeds to order me food (first asking if there is anything I don’t particularly like).
It occurs to me that we all go about our daily jobs, and we all probably do them better than satisfactorily. However, I’m not sure how often we go above and beyond the call of duty in areas that have nothing at all to do with our jobs in HR. This particular cabbie had a job to get me from point A to point B. His job had absolutely nothing to do with stopping for food, let alone showing me his favorite place, let alone ordering the best stuff for me. (and yes, my regular driver in SFO has invited me and my wife over for dinner as well).
In HR, we talk about things like Workforce Planning, but I’m not sure how often our workforce planning practices reach into the business and look at future projections for sales or upcoming shifts in projects that we can help the business plan around. We talk about how self service environments need to be simplified, but we don’t reach into related business processes outside of HR and ensure good linkages (think about updating finance budgets when someone changes positions).
At the end of the day, we’re really good at what we do, but we don’t really try to extend our positions from HR into end to end business processes. We implement end to end HR that crosses the employee lifecycle, but we don’t try to make the world better for end to end business lifecycles. As good as we can be with all the HR stuff, we need to extend ourselves past HR if we want to have our customers truly appreciate us.