The Image GroupThe Image Group

By Jim Walrod

When I joined The Image Group in 2005, the company’s Employee Manual contained a dozen or so pages at most. Today, it is only slightly thinner than my college copy of War and Peace. Before you jump to conclusions, I am not the reason for all the added rules (however, please don’t ask me to discuss our recently implemented travel and entertainment meal per diem). It’s just that, as most companies do, we update our workplace policies to keep up with a changing world.

While I consider myself a law-abiding employee, I’ve been known to question some written and unwritten company rules from time to time. Heck, I’ll even bend some.

For example, the rulebook states that our office hours are 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Those who know me well are familiar with my aversion to being in the office. Why? As a salesperson, my job is to be where my customers are. And the last time I looked, there were zero customers in my office. Mobile technology allows me to stay connected to the office wherever work takes me – and work takes me wherever my customers need me to be.

Here’s another rule I consider “flexible.” Our standard lead-time is five business days. When customers place promotional product orders with The Image Group, it takes us time to process the paperwork, prepare the artwork, receive and decorate the blank items, and ship the finished goods. If all goes according to plan (when does that happen?), it takes an average of five days from start to finish. But customers don’t always have that long to wait. When that’s the case, I’ll find every shortcut I can to speed up the time it takes to get my customers’ orders out the door. Luckily, I know several like-minded rule benders here who can help pull off a rush job.

There are some rules I will never circumvent. For instance, we’re sticklers about product safety around here, especially when it comes to children’s products. I take our safety policies very seriously, and I will never do anything that puts our customers – or their reputations – at risk.

When it comes to providing a positive customer experience, I take our “whatever it takes” philosophy very seriously. And if that means operating within the gray areas of some standard procedures, I’ll gladly ask for forgiveness.

Jim Walrod
About Jim Walrod
The Problem With Rules