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I walked into the restroom at a nail salon the other day and the toilet paper roll on the holder was empty. There was a rack with several other rolls, and the top roll had clearly been used several times, as it was half gone. Although the toilet paper was being used, nobody had bothered to discard the used roll, and place a new roll on the holder. What surprised me even more was that the toilet paper roll literally slid onto the holder – there was no need to take anything apart in order to change out the roll.

It got me wondering – who is responsible for replacing the roll? I doubt anybody is specifically assigned the “toilet paper changer” job. How many customers used the roll and put it back on the rack (that is clearly for extra rolls) rather than the appropriate location? How many employees used it? Why didn’t anybody replace the empty roll? Was it because it wasn’t their job? They didn’t feel the need to? They didn’t feel like they should have to? They didn’t feel like it was the appropriate thing to do? They assumed somebody else would come along and do it?

So many times in our organizations – things get left untouched. Nobody corrects them. Nobody informs anybody that it’s broken. We just assume it’s a minor thing and can easily be overlooked or ignored. In other cases, employees assume somebody else will take care of it. While changing out the toilet paper roll is pretty minor and doesn’t affect operations – what if it was unclear who should buy the toilet paper? Or who should clean the restrooms? If all those roles (no pun intended) go unassigned, things will start to spiral downward pretty quickly. Despite the beautiful nails being painted – customers will stop coming due to unclean restrooms, word will get out about how terrible the restrooms look, people may assume unclean restrooms = unclean practices in the spa. If there is not clear communication regarding the small jobs, eventually there will be miscommunication regarding the vital jobs. Eventually, business may decrease. Making sure you work together as a team will help ensure everybody is on the same page, everybody knows their role, people aren’t afraid to step in when needed, and people aren’t afraid to speak up when somebody isn’t doing their part. When there is lack of communication, there will easily be tasks that are overlooked. 

A few tips:

1. Clearly assign roles for even the smallest task, to ensure nothing gets ignored.

2. Create a safe environment where employees can speak up and talk to each other if something isn’t being taken care of properly.

3. Create a team where everybody is working towards the same goal – this will help ensure that everybody is working together, and will be more likely to pitch in when needed.

And yes, I did discard the empty roll and replace it with a new one.

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