Please compare this recent article with the words of Jim Nordstom. Did the company become highly acclaimed as a benchmark for extraordinary service with the complexity of the approach to excellence outlined in The McKinsey Quarterly ?
Jim Nordstom said, "People will work hard when they are given the freedom to do the job the way they think it should be done, when they treat customers the way they like to be treated," observed Jim Nordstrom, the former copresident of Nordstrom. "When you take away their incentive and start giving them rules, boom, you've killed their creativity." (Robert Spector and Patrick D. McCarthy, The Nordstrom Way: The Inside Story of America's #1 Customer Service Company, reprint edition, Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 1996.)"
I have shopped at Nordstroms for decades. Well before that HR department arrived. In the early years every frontline employee was excellent. Every one, no exceptions. All departments were led and managed by the department mangers. They had total control of all human relations. Walking into a Nordstrom store was exciting because what you planned to purchase as well as who knew you would be there to help you.
I live across the street from tha Nordstrom Flagship store. I love Nordstoms. I have especially liked their great selection in shoes for my size 15 feet. But they lost their high level of enthusiasm, sincerity and energy as the years went by and they recieved the acclaim they deserve.
They still have a mission to be the best of the best, but it's never quite the same after a business becomes extraordinary. HR departments are well-meaning, but they often get in the way of leadership. And after a few years of buying into the latest agenda, cause, management system, campaign, or whatever, many frontline team managers lose their passion to lead a winner. They are no longer in it to win it.
I am not a fan of HR departments or anything else that can take control away from frontline team leaders.