Seth's Memo to a Modern COO
We love this article from Seth Godin's blog - http://sethgodin.typepad.com/
Why is it so hard for organizations to understand what Tony did with customer service at Zappo's? Instead of measuring the call center on calls answered per minute, he insisted that the operators be trained and rewarded to take their time and actually be human, to connect and make a difference instead of merely processing the incoming.
People hear this, see the billion dollars in goodwill that was created, nod their heads and then go back to running an efficient call center. Why?
In the industrial era, the job of the chief operating officer revolved around two related functions:
- Decrease costs
- Increase productivity
The company knew what needed to be done, and operations was responsible for doing it. Cutting costs, increasing reliability of delivery, getting more done with less--From Taylor on, the job was pretty clear.
In the post-industrial age, when thriving organizations do something different tomorrow than they did yesterday, when the output is connection as much as stuff, the objectives are very different. In today's environment, the related functions are:
- Increase alignment
- Decrease fear
Alignment to the mission, to the culture, to what we do around here--this is critical, because in changing times, we can't rely on a static hierarchy to manage people. We have to lead them instead, we have to put decision making power as 'low' (not a good word, but it's left over from the industrial model) in the organization as possible.
As the armed forces have discovered, it's the enlisted man in the village that wins battles (and hearts and minds) now, not the general with his maps and charts. Giving your people the ability to make decisions and connections is impossible in a command and control environment.
And a decrease in fear, because this is the reason that we're stuck, that we fail, that our best work is left unshipped. Your team might know what to do, might have an even better plan than the one on the table, but our innate fear of shipping shuts all of that down.
So we go to meetings and wait for someone else to take responsibility. We seek deniability before we seek impact. The four-letter word that every modern organization must fear is: hide.
Our fear of being wrong, of opening up, of creating the vulnerability that leads to connection--we embrace that fear when we go to work, in fact, that's the main reason people take a job instead of going out on their own. The fear is someone else's job.
Except now it's not.
Our predictions for 2013 and further.....
In the run up to Christmas and the New Year it is a time of reflection and review. A time when our expert Learning and Development consultants look back, assessing trends and looking forward. They scan the horizon for what the future of the L&D landscape could be and they gaze into their crystal balls…..However, there is no need to cross my palm with silver to find out, it is a time for giving. I will tell you what they can see......
The economic pressures continue, with the following implications.
Many blame the lack of training on the economic downturn. However, in our experience, it has merely caused a shift in the types of training offered. Agile and successful organisations have not stopped training! They are working with us, looking at blended learning solutions, to include a mix of both face to face and ‘e’-learning solutions. In this way, by implementing a tailored training programme, employers are maximising both training budget and workforce competences and capabilities.
Less time available to be away from the workplace for training? Well, again, successful businesses realise the importance of training and are clear that on the job training is really important. The best learning approach is people learning how to do the job while actually doing the job. This means:
- providing support at the point of need – and appropriate technology ( e-learning, online resources, online support ) and importantly, coaching
- managers engaged in learning programmes and structured support provided to staff in training, such as workbooks to complete tasks with learning and reflection.
- Active and involved line managers - critical in supporting all aspects of learning but particularly on the job learning - in identifying suitable projects, secondments, delegating, giving feedback, guidance on learning and encouraging reflection and PDP development.
- Support for line managers to be great role models and advocates of experiential learning in the workplace, contributing to the success of learning and the business.
There is a new ‘mosaic of time availability’ within the workplace and at home. This enables many and varied opportunities for blended learning solutions to harness these moments to leverage learning and improved performance productivity – or with greater availability, part-time study – for both personal and business benefit.
Increasingly, we observe the stampede for online and distance learning - and this will continue.
Businesses see the benefits of both the performance improvements and the possible cost savings.
Looking ahead with our technology partners, technology infrastructure – mobile, internet, tablet, laptop, web TV - provides opportunity for the workplace and home to be platforms and sites for access to/delivery of learning and development. Gradually, web/online learning, e-learning and mobile learning will not be disparate, but merge and develop into a holistic learning programme solutions – better accessed and delivered and more focussed. We are already seeing ‘e’ and ‘m’ learning companies merging and joining forces with learning providers - like us - to take learning efficiencies and performance improvements to the next level….On the technology horizon there are developments in augmented reality; digital implants; the all-pervasive mobile enabling personal, ‘always connected’, information and learning centres… Once all these application scenarios and analysis has been completed, the impacts on cost/performance/quality reviewed and the returns on investment calculated, new forms of training and learning support will evolve and emerge.
Looking to future skills, a recent CIPD survey indicated that management and leadership development skills are regarded as the number one priority for the immediate future (i.e. the next 2 years) by more than 80% of organisations.
Whatever the future holds, or the technology supports available, organisation success and future prosperity will depend on more people having directly relevant skills to the context in which they work – together with the capability to put them to good use in an increasingly complex world.
In this context, clients ask us many questions and more will arise. How can they understand their people’s training needs? How can they better engage their people? How can they affordably enable access to learning and development directly appropriate to their context? Is there a cost effective and environmentally efficient means of enabling their people to be skilled and to transfer and embed that learning to impact the business with effective results? Is there a proven means of changing behaviours and improving people performance? Are these miracle solutions 3 or 5 years away?
Well, the good news is that you don’t need to wait. The solutions are here and available now, from the most powerful computers known!
How can you access one?
Well, via one of Eliesha’s consultants. Our consultants have the vision, knowledge and experience to design and deliver the most appropriate solution to your context of need. Our consultants are ‘highly available’, ‘fully reliable’ and completely ‘inter-active’. They can answer complicated and time critical questions, as and when they arise, without expensive and complicated on-going maintenance and support. They are available with ‘backup’ systems. Our innovative ‘physical meeting method’ will stimulate and revolutionise the way you think of training and development. Our consultants are surprisingly cost effective and provide flexible solutions options with measurable results. Eliesha’s consultants require little upfront investment and no on-going licencing costs!
FREE Bitesize Breakfast Sessions
Eliesha Training's Bitesize Sessions
Following the success of our previous Bitesize Breakfast sessions, Eliesha are pleased to announce the dates of our next set of seminars. These will cover subjects such as Project Management, Stress Management, Health & Safety and our Performance Management session from August will also be repeated due to popular demand. For dates and further information please see our E-flyer.
There was great demand for our previous sessions so please book now to avoid disappointment by either calling the office on 0191 282 2800, or using our contact form to get in touch.