Mar 062009
 

Why is it that leaders find it so difficult to make changes in their organizations? After years of conducting a couple-hundred-or-so operations reviews, I believe it starts when we try to make changes from the top down. We seldom ask our customers or our own employees who serve customers, and when we do, real change is never implemented.

 

We allow this top down pyramid approach to shape our policies in dealing with people, and it doesn’t work.   

 

How can business change things for the better by taking quality concepts to make them part of the culture and organization?

 

I believe it starts with Leadership– through integrity, innovation and intelligence. Leaders, no matter where they are in the organization, must ask some basic questions– What’s working? What’s not? What needs fixing? 

 

What’s working?

The best approach I find is to ask leaders to have a positive and open mind while looking for solutions to problems.  All companies and their staff have lots of things they do well. Giving people credit where credit is due is what leaders build on while trying to eliminate areas of weakness. ‘If it ain’t broke don’t fix it!’ The problem is that people, like things, are often taken for granted. Systems and procedures are implemented that threaten their effectiveness, and nobody seems to recognize that it is people who make organizations work. These leaders who lead by example are the real unsung heroes in companies. They’re the “20” in the 80/20. If management wants to find out what’s actually needed, they have to ask the very people that are making it work now.  This, supported by the leadership who encourages staff to be more than they thought possible, is a powerful combination.

       

So ‘what’s working?’ in leadership? It usually starts with people.

 

                                     

What’s not working?

If you get a group of staff together and ask that question, you usually don’t have to ask twice. They’ll bring up everything from lack of upward communication, management commitment, and leadership; to service quality, supervisory control systems, lack of individual training, high management expectation, low management support, poor staff motivation, and lack of teamwork.

 

And if you think that’s bad, just ask your customers– because if you don’t ask, don’t expect them to tell you. Studies show that less than 50% of all complaints are registered. Since bad news travels ten-times faster than good, customers gradually stop supporting a business and they’re not replaced. This leads to staff cut backs, which results in burned out service reps, poor service, poor sales, and more cutbacks.

 

Leaders must counteract this by earning the trust and respect of others by communicating a vision of service for themselves and others to follow. Martin Luther King Jr. said: 

 

Everyone has the potential for greatness not for fame, but greatness, because greatness is determined by service.

 

That’s what I believe leadership is:  to us, to our customers, to each other.    

 

Customers expect what we all expect from our suppliers. They want to be treated as individuals by companies that are responsive to their needs, reliable, empathic, look like they know what they’re doing, and convey the assurance that they will be looked after in times of trouble. This takes personal plus organizational leadership and responsibility. 

 

 

So ‘what’s not working?’ It usually ends when there’s a breakdown in leadership between the customer and service.

 

 What needs fixing?

The simple answer is to address all the structural, system and research issues mentioned previously. But unfortunately it’s usually not that simple. First, people have to be willing to serve and have the ability to serve. Management and staff must have the will, knowledge and/or skills to move the organization forward. Top leadership must ask of their people: What is it I can do for you – how can I help make the workplace more meaningful for you?

 

Secondly, top management leadership must use their power to ensure that a service-oriented culture exists– one in which office politics are discouraged, and all employees are encouraged and supported in their initiatives, even if they don’t always work out. Leaders in the front line (supervisors and workers) have to trust their staff, and be supportive of the new realities of doing business today– it calls for constant change. They can start by making complicated, new things, simple.

 

Thirdly, it remains for leaders in middle management, who are central to everything, to decide if they want to ‘join the party’– but they must be consulted by the leadership in upper management.  They often see things being done to their departments, without any input. They simply are given their ‘marching orders’ and ask to implement them, then they are asked to be transparent about measures which they (and their staff) know aren’t realistic. Obviously, this crushes any enthusiasm for company-wide change. How much better it would be if they, and their staff, were empowered to get results as a team?

 

Ken Blanchard, author of ‘The One Minute Manager’, says that to affect change leaders must align their values and purpose with their practices – so that their people can really see a difference.  (Let’s face it, if our dealings don’t result in a win-win, it naturally defaults to something else.) So how can we make a difference?

 

Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change.”

Fred Parry

Fred Parry

        fredparry.ca

  58 Responses to “Leadership: A Different Way at Looking at Things”

  1. Appreciate it for helping out, fantastic info .

  2. Wonderful beat ! I wish to apprentice whilst you amend your website, how can i subscribe for a weblog site? The account aided me a applicable deal. I have been tiny bit acquainted of this your broadcast provided bright clear concept

  3. I simply want to say I am just very new to blogging and site-building and truly liked this web page. Likely I’m want to bookmark your blog . You amazingly come with terrific posts. Thanks a lot for revealing your web site.

  4. Very interesting topic, thank you for posting.

  5. Very interesting topic, appreciate it for putting up.

  6. It’s truly a great and helpful piece of info. I am glad that you simply shared this helpful information with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

  7. I have not checked in here for some time as I thought it was getting boring, but the last several posts are good quality so I guess I’ll add you back to my daily bloglist. You deserve it my friend 🙂

  8. I will get over pass back tooth once more if my class incumbrance lessens all the same I am bookmarking your RSS fodder hence I prison house interpret your weblog offline. Thank you simple greatly.

  9. hi!,I like your writing so so much! percentage we communicate more approximately your post on AOL? I need a specialist on this area to unravel my problem. Maybe that is you! Taking a look ahead to look you.

  10. As a Newbie, I am always exploring online for articles that can benefit me. Thank you

  11. Very interesting subject , appreciate it for posting . “If you have both feet planted on level ground, then the university has failed you.” by Robert F. Goheen.

  12. Spot on with this write-up, I actually think this website needs much more consideration. I’ll most likely be once more to read far more, thanks for that info.

  13. Excellent blog! Do you have any tips and hints for aspiring writers? I’m planning to start my own website soon but I’m a little lost on everything. Would you advise starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option? There are so many options out there that I’m totally overwhelmed .. Any recommendations? Kudos!

    • Hi there,

      All I can say is that WordPress has been good for me. Recommendations? Advice that was given to me, that I found helpful was: to write from the heart with as much skill that you have …don’t compare your writing with others, and remember … the more often you do it, the better you get at it. Best of luck with your new website. (FP)

    • The learning never stops for any of us.

      By example,

      FP

  14. Thanks, I’ve been looking for details about this topic for ages and yours is the best I’ve located so far.

  15. whoah this blog is great i love reading your articles. Keep up the great work! You know, lots of people are looking around for this info, you can help them greatly.

  16. What’s Taking place i am new to this, I stumbled upon this I have discovered It positively useful and it has helped me out loads. I am hoping to contribute & help different customers like its helped me. Good job.

  17. …basic WordPress.

    Thanks,
    FP

  18. Spasm vs real … either all or nothing.

    Thanks,

    FP

  19. Basic WordPress

    Thanks,

    FP

  20. Howdy. Vastly cool blog!! Guy .. Magnificent .. Amazing .. I’ll bookmark your site and obtain the feeds also…I am blissful to find frequent beneficial in order here in the article. Merit for sharing…

  21. This is really a amazing site, would you be interested in doing an interview about just how you made it? If so e-mail myself!

  22. Hi there … 3rd week every month … thank you!

    FP

  23. I don’t even know the way I finished up right here, however I thought this submit was once great. I do not recognize who you might be but definitely you’re going to a well-known blogger when you are not already 😉 Cheers!

  24. It can be my very first time that I have visited your site. I uncovered tons of interesting stuff within your blog. From the plenty of comments as part of your articles, I assume I’m not the sole person! keep up the impressive function.

  25. wp layout … optional selection.

    Thanks,

    FP

  26. If using an expression of speech, like ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’, it’s OK to use non-standard grammar.

    Thanks for noticing … I’m sure I make lots of regular sp errors, just the same.

    Cheers!
    FP

  27. Email sent… any time.

    Thanks,
    FP

  28. Differing opinions? This is an article on what works, based on real experience … and as it turns out, by leading industry experts. The question outstanding is how to sucessfully implement it.

    Thanks for your opinion,
    FP

  29. What you see, is what you get.

    Thanks,
    FP

  30. Will do.

    Thanks,
    FP

  31. ???

    Please explain,

    FP

  32. I have no ads, that I know of (?).

    Thanks,

    FP

  33. Advertising?

    Regards,

    FP

  34. As well as I feel, or possibly I needed noticed a comparable style of creating seeing that your site. Clearly that it was the newspapers, although i really do not keep in mind so what now. Is this : true? On earth do you take exceptional way with words-at all seeing that outstanding submit?

  35. It seems to me that this web site doesnt load on a Motorola Droid. Are other people getting the same issue? I enjoy this website and dont want to have to miss it whenever Im gone from my computer.

  36. We do concur with the entire creative ideas you might have offered on your own article. They are really especially convincing and definately will without doubt deliver the results. Continue to the actual discussions have become quick for starters. Could you why not stretch out them all a little bit of as a result of very next time? Take care!

  37. I don’t even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was good. I don’t know who you are but certainly you’re going to a famous blogger if you are not already 😉 Cheers!

  38. Hey there, I just hopped over to your web page through StumbleUpon. Not somthing I would normally browse, but I enjoyed your thoughts none the less. Thanks for making something worthy of reading through.

  39. Please excuse my personal very poor british, you appear to miss the opportunity the actual component about how this kind of outcomes all of us, desire to elaborate?

  40. quite beneficial stuff, on the whole I picture this is worthy of a book mark, many thanks

  41. Just discovered this blog thru Bing, what a pleasant surprise!

  42. Magnificent web site. A lot of helpful information here. I’m sending it to several friends ans additionally sharing in delicious. And naturally, thanks to your effort!

  43. Normally I do not learn article on blogs, however I wish to say that this write-up very compelled me to try and do it! Your writing taste has been amazed me. Thanks, quite nice post.

  44. Regards for helping out, wonderful information. “Riches cover a multitude of woes.” by Menander.

  45. I really appreciate this post. I have been looking all over for this! Thank goodness I found it on Bing. You have made my day! Thanks again!

  46. A person essentially help to make seriously posts I would state. This is the very first time I frequented your web page and thus far? I surprised with the research you made to make this particular publish incredible. Magnificent job!

  47. Normally I do not read article on blogs, however I would like to say that this write-up very compelled me to take a look at and do it! Your writing style has been amazed me. Thanks, very nice article.

  48. Hello there, I believe your website could be having browser compatibility issues. Whenever I look at your web site in Safari, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it’s got some overlapping issues. I merely wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other than that, wonderful site!

  49. I really like reading an article that can make men and women think. Also, many thanks for allowing me to comment!

  50. A fascinating discussion is definitely worth comment. There’s no doubt that that you should write more on this subject, it might not be a taboo subject but generally people do not talk about such subjects. To the next! Best wishes!!

  51. You should participate in a contest for the most effective blogs on the web. I’ll suggest this website!

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

(required)

(required)