Apr 18 - May 8Phase 1May 8 - 27May 28 - Jun 5Jun 7 - Jul 1Phase 2Jul 2 - 14Jul 17 - Aug 14Phase 3Aug 15 - Sep 16
Bosses aka “the man” frequently blur the line of sight to the customer forcing people to choose between meeting the needs of the boss or the customer. The fact that the boss doles out reward [raises, good evaluation, promotion etc.] and punishment [poor assignments, no raise or even firing] based mostly on their ‘subjective’ evaluation sets up a power dynamic that all too often focuses on the boss’ needs. Shifting the power from the boss to the customer can be accomplished by changing the way roles are defined and work is evaluated.
Roles can be defined by the work-products or output and aligned to a specific customer set and set of requirements. As an employee in a restaurant, my work-products could include Meal Service – all work associated with the customer’s meal experience (ordering, eating, etc.). The employee’s goal would be to ensure the experience is enjoyable/ pleasant and evaluated by customer feedback. In this way, the employee is solely focused on the customer. The boss is responsible for creating an environment where the employees can successfully accomplish their goals. This relationship changes the power dynamic and ensures everyone on the team is working for the customer. This type of environment is naturally adaptive as the customer’s needs are central to the design.
I think this can be changed by recognising that Strategy, Planning and Delivery sit side-by-side rather than top to bottom in an organisation, and should be working closely as peers. The style of leaders in a flat structure like this then becomes more 'serving'/coaching and provide the brain-space to focus on the 'helicopter view' of the systems and its obstacles.
The top-to-bottom thinking encourages employees to push decisions back up the ladder with lots of operational detail attached. This detail actually invites micro-management as managers understandably want to contribute their thoughts when given an opportunity to do so. The perception of the status of the position however add a massive weight to their contribution which tips the scale in favour of the manager's choice versus that of the customer.
A coaching-style Stakeholder Analysis Workshop may provide a useful tool to help teams reflect on the 'level of interest' versus the 'level of influence'. In cultures where the MAN is listened to over the customer, it is likely that you will find the managers sitting in the same quadrant than the customer, the former trumping the latter. Only reflection by a team with this culture will give that team the opportunity and ownership to make the necessary changes.
Monique this is well stated and a powerful hack. Having spent much of my career dealing with 'turnarounds' this is such a common theme of how companies get into trouble.
I have three thoughts that I would like to add.
1. I believe that this addresses talent acquisition even more than performance management. Thinking about how Four Seasons recruits people its clear where there focus is and do not bother interviewing if you don't buy in.
2. I also believe this addresses leadership. As the pace of change continue to increase its very hard for people to stay focused on the customer without leadership support. There is so much happening around people they will need the support of a servant leader to stay focused on the customer.
3. Has any heard of the Australian banking study that tied investments in people to customer service. I have not seen the study but been told that for one year capital investments focused on people. The result was improved serviced and profitability. I would love to see the study.
Thanks again for getting this started Monique.
The Purpose of the work and the team/organisation is defined from the CUSTOMER inwards. In my view HR and people practitioners should start to become the change it and they want the organisation to be, and I reckon the key area would be around the systems thinking as espoused and demonstrated both academically and eminently practically by Deming, John Seddon in Vanguard, Senge, Ackoff, Scholtes, and countless others.
All change beings at the thinking level and not the doing level, yet the result of the change in thinking then delivers change at the doing level. Great intentions, motivation and competencies underpinned by the wrong thinking changes little.
Managers need to recognise the organisation as a system, it’s their job to remove the obstacles within the organisation. They also need to understand human motivation (Dan Pink, Alfie Kohn, etc.). Design of the work from the outside in, and focus on what is the real purpose what matters to the customer. Then, analyse the demand, design measures for what matters, then when you understand the systems thinking that determines the current way of doing things, you simply get the people who do the work to re-design the work in order to achieve purpose and what really matters, and what happens is almost magical! Service improves, costs reduce, morale increases, and the culture change happens for free. At no time do we do anything to the people, we simply get the people to work on the work. That's the systems thinking at the practical and yet quite profound level that I believe HR could help to make organisations more adaptable and adept.
If you want to work more on the Systems Thinking hack, please join the team on page 2!
Andy I would totally agree! Systems Think encompasses so many of these hacks which are in essence just parts of a whole ie Stems Thinking. We all know that each activity or hack exists to serve the GOALS of a larger system the purpose of the organisation .
Over the last 50 + years organisation that have used Deming, Ackoff, Scholtes, Seddon and Peter Senge Systems Thinking have demonstrated that it as proven method. Reducing failure demand, decreasing cost, creating value for the customer, engaging employees and increasing performance. You no longer hear that’s not in my job description” or “the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing.
Phenomenal outcomes, for public services waiting times, reduced from months to next day provision. Employees love the method and become actively engaged.
See Forget your people – real leaders act on the system, posted here on the MIX.http://www.managementexchange.com/story/forget-your-people-%E2%80%93-rea...
Aviva insurance in the private sector has been very transparent in their uses of systems thinking and these two videos below show the repose, I will let the story of Aviva speak for its self.
How do we change thinking?
Aviva Systems Thinking
I think its been slow to catch on as its counter-intuitive and requires challenging our basic thinking about how we work, which is possible what is need now?
Systems think may be a great way to pull all these hacks towered?
This one caught my eye. I've been doing some mini hacking of my own with my friends by asking what they thought of HR at their organizations, and overwhelmingly i got the back that not only that they don't trust HR, but that trust had been compromised because they felt HR represented the best interests of their bosses, not theirs.
The struggle I'm having, is why are the interests of the bosses and different than that of the employee? Why do we have companies that have disconnects? If we are taking a balanced six box approach and everyone understands why performance is important, HR represents and can articulate the needs of the business in the context of the needs of the employee, there should be no sides.
Check out Vineet Nayar's work at HCL - your hack reminds me of his book - Employees First, Customers Second. Although the title's a little counter-intuitive, I think you're both talking about a similar concept. This is broadly what he's been practising, albeit in an IT Outsourcing/Systems Integration business, rather than food retail, but I think the point still stands.
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