Being tolerant of differences in humankind is not that same as a Zero Tolerance program. Accepting people’s differences is something a civil society tries to do – some traits we are just born with. The term Zero Tolerance in relation to drug abuse programs or cell phone use while driving have become common in many companies. We strive to tolerate the uniqueness of humankind while having intolerance of rule breakers. If it sounds harsh, rule breakers tend to take short cuts, skirt the law, not follow procedures and hope they don’t get caught! Rule breakers cause inefficiency, errors, low morale and waste resources.
In the workplace, we deserve what we tolerate.
- If we tolerate one employee being habitually late, what will others think?
- If one employee has a messy office, what does that say to others and customers?
- If our employees don’t wear their safety glasses (management tolerates non-compliance) then when an accident happens, we will deserve to be scrutinized by our leadership and government.
- If our policy is to double check, what happens when that is not followed by all?
Tolerations come in all shapes and sizes, drain energy and are usually something that needs to be done, fixed, removed or changed.
Typically, the energy to correct is less than the time and energy spent tolerating. Translating these energy drainers to the workplace often means the business is in danger of losing customers, causing stress or breaking laws. Zap tolerations when you find them because by permitting errors we are promoting those very errors.
What is your business tolerating that you can fix this week?