Last weekend I visited our local UPS Store to mail a simple package. Standard-sized box, basic shipping. When I arrived it was just me and the guy behind the counter, but just a couple minutes later there were five people behind me.
Long story short, the employee started complaining. Out loud. Not about the fact that his co-worker was taking his lunch, but the fact that there were customers in the store, waiting to give him money.
A direct quote: "20 minutes ago it was just fine in here, but now all you guys just had to come and ship packages, didn't you?"
I admire UPS. They've built an impressive business, and have been given high praise in a variety of formats (books, newspaper articles, business journals, etc.) for their smart approach to product strategy, customer service and more.
How frustrating would it be if you'd put so much work into your company's strategy, policies, brand and more - only to have it broken at the tactical/operational level by one employees? Ten years ago, this might have impacted a handful of people. Today, thanks to the social Web, it can impact millions.
It's nearly impossible to create and sustain a 100% consistent operation, especially when work and execution is distributed. But there are things any business can do to help align all employees (even on the front lines) with corporate goals and brand guidelines.