In a recent speech by Nido Qubein, he mentioned one of the best things you can do as a leader is to remove the irritants in your organization. Remove the irritants This simple but profound statement not only made me think of some of the irritants in my business but also for the organizations I assist. Here are some categories and examples of irritants you might encounter based on my observations as an entrepreneur who runs my own business and a consultant helping other organizations.

Philosophy irritants

The customer is #1.  The customer isn’t #1, your employees are #1.  If you don’t treat your employees right then they most likely won’t treat the customer right. We will change the world.  You might change a community or an industry at best but to “change the world” is just as arrogant as it sounds.  Be more specific because when you try to be all things to all people you end up being nothing to no one.

Talent irritants

Can’t use a Smartphone.  Some people still don’t know how to use the phone they have had for months or years. They blame the technology instead of not being resourceful enough to figure out how to operate the single most important tool they carry with themselves every day. Blaming the customer.  It’s true not all customers are created equal.  But, when a recurring problem is generalized over the entire customer population and you hear an employee say, “it’s the customer’s fault they can’t engage” then morale might need improvement,  not the process.

Systems irritants

Customer responsiveness.  How long does it take to solve a problem?  10 seconds? 10 minutes? or 10 days?  Each team member should be accountable increasing the speed of solving issues throughout each customer contact point. Cross channel usability.  The customer experience should be the same whether interacting over the phone, email, mobile app, social media, and face to face.  A lack of congruence can lead to poor customer satisfaction and decrease in repeat purchases.

Policy irritants

Operational decision making.  A policy should stand of the shoulders of ethics, not whether something is right vs. wrong.  Too many workers use “that’s our policy” when it comes to making customer decisions rather than seeing the strategic impact of how their decision impacts the lifetime value of the customer. Biased policies.  Who mostly benefits from the policies that are made?  The ones who wrote them of course.  It is critical to examine new policies to ensure the customer is the beneficiary, not the one who one holds the pen.

Leadership irritants

“It’s my year.”  when the incumbent of an organization says, “when it is my year…” it ends up ruining the culture of having a smooth succession in leadership the following year.  Leaders are supposed to leave a legacy behind, not for the next person to reinvent their “own year.” Top down leadership.  Radical decisions made at the executive level passed down to end users might have a revolution on their hands.  Instead, do the research and gain consensus on the impact before making a final commitment otherwise there might be no organization left to lead.


Organizations bring in Doug Devitre from St. Louis, Missouri USA when they want to dramatically increase operational performance, create breakthrough value propositions, and serve customers beyond geographical constraints on a minimal budget. For more than a decade he has been setting trends with how organizations engage customers with social media, video marketing, and custom-built software applications. Doug’s book Screen to Screen Selling published by McGraw Hill pioneered the way sales professionals sold homes without being physically present before the COVID-19 pandemic. He is one of a select few who have earned the Certified Speaking Professional Designation from the National Speakers Association and has experience as a REALTOR.

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