From Building networks
Image credit: Claudia Hatherill - illustration
It can take ONE thing to increase productivity and healthy growth, the trick is finding that ONE thing and then applying an action on a consistent basis.
A healthy plant/organisation versus a struggling to survive one
When I first learned to grow tomatoes I learned ONE thing, just ONE, that made a huge difference in me producing edible delicious cherry tomatoes.
Pruning the laterals!
Laterals: Nice leafy green bits of the plant that grow fast and in abundance but produce NO fruit!
When you don’t prune them……they end up choking the fruit producing parts of the plant, blocking sunlight, taking nutrients, sucking the LIFE out of the branches that need all that good stuff to be productive.
Once I learned this ONE thing, and watered my plant, I grew great tomatoes.
I have found this when working with large corporate organisations through to small and medium businesses, in these environments the laterals can represent many things that distract from or prevent healthy productivity and growth.
Laterals in an organisation:
Cluttered systems, outdated processes, people in poorly matched roles, culture and environment, double handling, micro managing and the list can go on…. Don’t just look at the ‘who’ but also the ‘what’ these things can be about people but also about systems and processes.
Until these things that clutter a person’s space, mind, and process of working are pruned the real fruit cannot thrive and reach its potential and like our tomato plant the fruit can rot and go mouldy when laterals are left to run wild.
When managers, leaders and business owners are trapped into ‘putting out the fires’ that these ‘laterals’ produce often daily, they cannot possibly focus on things that will gain a better long-term productivity profile.
The business or organisation goes into ‘survival mode’ and everyone just scrambles to get work off their desk, mostly feeling a sinking sense of overwhelm and claustrophobia that consumes any creativity or clarity to function well.
When we do prune the ‘laterals’:
What to do:
If you want more training, support or development in this area for you or your team please let us know, we have run a series of in house versions of a 1 day workshop across NZ in the past few months, and will put up more public training courses as the need arises.
Contact us here
Business development, operations and communications trainer
In a Compliance or Regulatory role, you hold the balance of power. Often, it’s a monopoly service the customer does not have a choice who to go to. While we recognise this also means you have no choice when dealing with difficult customers, for today we are looking at things from a much more empowering perspective, what you can do, so when it comes to your customers experience….
You are it
The customer can be approaching you in a vulnerable way. From an imbalance of power. They are often emotional (they are stressed trying to get a consent to start building or they want to buy a house and desperate for an old CCC). These are not easy conversations as especially if the answer is “No” they can’t have what they want straight away. There is a process to follow.
It gets even more robust when there is a post recovery situation as we have learned post the Canterbury and Kaikoura earthquakes. Other people want information fast and often it’s just not there to have.
Over time it is easy to build up a negative picture of the customer, and ‘habits’ of responding to their sometimes-unreasonable demands.
All of this can propagate a “them and us” mentality rather than we are all in this together. The people arguing did not write the rules but are battling to interpret and apply them as best they can with as less risk as possible.
I have personally witnessed the abuse dished out at Councils across the counter. It is feral! I have also seen hardened building officials wizened to this fact deliberately
Which can lead to a manager wondering why the customer feedback reports are so poor. The customer hates dealing with rules and often staff hate dealing with the customers emotions or unwillingness to follow the rules.
At a recent event one of our course participants had an interesting reflection – my paraphrase of what she said - I may not be able to change it all at once but I’m going to try changing the customer experience one person at a time.
Sometimes all it takes is a change in language, attitude, or approach. Small changes in communication, including body language, tone and words used can make BIG differences in how things evolve.
I think this person was very astute – we have choices, we can continue the ‘them and us’ battle or we can tweak our approach just a bit to try something different one person and a time – so are you willing to take up that challenge?
If this is something you or one of your team struggles with daily, we have some strategies and methods than can assist in turning this around, we have delivered this training in house to teams, but also offer our more private one on one coaching service.
Book a one on one session here