Tag Archives: systems

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workplace calamity

Workplace Calamity Should Be Avoided

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Smooth sailing is what most people desire. Things are a lot more productive without workplace calamity. Are things going smooth?

I believe it was Franklin D. Roosevelt who said, “A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.”

Of course, we can find a lot of metaphorical truth in that statement.

Yet, what we typically try to construct are processes and systems to keep things calm.

Many years ago, there was a warehousing and manufacturing buzz term, “just in time.” It is still true today, only today it is often considered a common sense practice.

As an example, just in time inventory helps keep costs lower and efficiencies higher. Having only what you need when you need it makes sense.

In practice it is a system. A design that will keep everything running smooth.

Systems don’t always fit every scenario, but they often work well for operations.

Workplace Calamity

People factors can wreak havoc on systems. Assuming that the decisions, emotions, and experiences of people will fit nicely into a tight system can be a big mistake.

However, having a frame or guideline can still be helpful.

Systems, metrics, and measurements are helpful for keeping many things in check.

One of the biggest benefits to a good system is that it makes things easier. It keeps the sea’s calmer.

When you step outside of the system, and this happens often, it rocks the boat a little bit. The waters are not so calm. Things blow up, get embellished, and often become far more dramatic.

The key then, or so it seems, is to keep the calamity out of our workplace. It won’t be effortless, but it will be worth it.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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customer service systems

The Failure of Customer Service Systems

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There are people who believe everything requires a system. Operations, a system, production, a system, and customer service, a system. Do customer service systems fail? You bet.

Executive Decisions

When senior leadership decides:

In a variable services model, all customers must pay a specific price.

We’ll charge our best customers a little more to continue with the service they once received as a standard offering. New or smaller customers still get the old deal.

The organization will bear no burden for merchandise they don’t manufacture. “All we can do is send it back.”

These examples and many more represent the foundation of systems failure.

The organization wants loyalty, retention, and happy customers telling others to join in.

The failures often start with a system.

Customer Service Systems

The system that fixes price for the customer who spends ten dollars, and the customer who spends ten thousand. Fail.

Then there is the system that says our best customers need more attention, our core philosophy operates on a first come, first serve basis, to get your old level of service you need to pay more. Fail.

Of course, there is always the blame game. “We aren’t the manufacturer. You are a victim the same as us.” All we can do is send in a request or send it back and wait. Fail.

High Cost of Systems

Systems can be important. Systems help us navigate and structure what are sometimes complicated situations. When serving your customers, systems can work, or they can be the beginning of the end.

What is the cost of replacing a customer? Does it cost more to get a new customer or to keep an existing customer? Are the front-facing teams appropriately empowered to work beyond the system?

Often a system built to protect the organization is a system built to fail with the customer.

There is an alternative. Identify your best customers. Use a net promoter score, historical data, or let front-line teams make recommendations.

There is a chance the system you’re building will not protect them, it will alienate them.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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workplace innovation

Workplace Innovation is Peanut Butter and Chocolate

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Have you ever wondered who first connected peanut butter with chocolate? Perhaps it was the other way around chocolate with peanut butter? How does this connect to workplace innovation?

You must wonder sometimes, how does real innovation occur? Is it by luck, by chance, or perhaps an accidental connection?

Exploring Different

Who decided to put ketchup on potatoes, cheese with eggs, or little tiny marshmallows in cereal? Was it all intentional, or was it an accident?

When someone takes the chance, takes a risk, and is willing to explore it changes the norm. It creates the unexpected. Somewhere deep inside the unexpected exists the breakthrough.

When we want to make something different happen the belief is that we need a plan. People and companies develop a plan. They form a strategy, design tactics, or establish a new procedure.

Does that happen by chance?

Workplace Innovation

Most of our plans develop through brainstorming. A strategy discussion, an idea dump, a throw things on the wall and see what sticks.

When you are looking for a breakthrough you can’t expect to color within the lines. You can’t expect a rigid system to have enough flexibility to allow for innovation.

A plan or a system strives to eliminate surprises. It is a rigid guideline for creating an anticipated result.

There isn’t much room in rigid systems for innovation.

We don’t get peanut butter with chocolate unless someone breaks the status quo. There isn’t an opportunity to spice up our potatoes, add a little cheese to an omelette, or find the marshmallow in a breakfast cereal.

If you’re looking for workplace innovation, seeking to find a breakthrough, or to change the results, you’re first going to have give up the rigidness of the current plan.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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