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… and then what? March 15, 2010

Posted by bernardrosauer in Customer, Human Capital, Process, Uncategorized.
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Stop for a minute.  What are you working on?  Is it a problem?  If so, are you working on it in a way that will keep it from resurfacing?  Or are you putting out a fire?  Is there an underlying problem or root cause that no one ever talks about which causes this problem and other similar problems to occur?  Get at the root cause and address it like its your company’s worst enemy – because it is.  Be nice and it will almost certainly grow back.

Roller coaster strategies, strategies that fix problems and then become part of a new problem, are all too common.  Worse, they don’t work.  They send us up the roller coaster only to find a decline on the horizon.   The best companies travel not up and down, but on an even, gradual incline over long periods of time.   That’s not to say that dramatic change without a downside can’t happen soon.  It is to say that it isn’t something that a company should be thinking about doing over and over again (usually without being able to do anything about it!) .   It is also to say that if you’re going to try it – you had better get it right.

How to Avoid the Roller Coaster

1. Ban Knee-jerk Reactions.  Dont over react.  Stay calm.  Think deep and long-term.  Immediate fixes rarely work.  Understand the importance of listening to customers in the right way, using the right tools, before making postentially costly and damaging mistakes.  (www.netpromoter.com).

2. Ban “Jerk” Reactions   Dont promote jerks – you know, those people who climbed the ladder of success by entering a situation, over managing it and then disappearing (usually by promotion!) before the fallout occurred.  Think smart and always have a succession plan in place.  Plan or be planned upon!  If you are working on something that’s a fix, but seems to be a short-term one, ask your self or your reports ‘and then what’?  Always think about how the fix will play out beyond the next year or two.  Don’t promote people who impress you.  Promote people who impress customers.

3.  Begin thinking of every activity and process in your organization from the customer’s point of view.  Literally take out a sheet of paper and draw a line from the customer to the problem and up to your desk.  Then think abut the problem:  What’s out of whack?   Processes?  People?  You??  Get help understanding how to solve problems permanently using a simple process called lean.  If interested, visit www.lean.org for details.

4. Continuously work to create more promoters and decrease detractors.   Again, see www.netpromoter.com.

5.   Above all, don’t become complacent.  If you are comfortable, you are doing something wrong.   This is the opposite of the ‘knee-jerk’ reaction and less dangerous in the immediate future but as dangerouse to the distant future.  Keep informed.  Understand insustry best practices.  Forget the trophies and top 10 lists – thats the lazy way to stay informed and not all of it, but mush of it is a sale in disguise!

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