What To Manage…?

thinking gears“We created our vision, mission, and values! We are so proud of how we have implemented the culture, aligned with it all year, and of those that have championed it! We cannot wait to deliver the results of our survey.”

This was reported by a non-profit that had chosen to implement a values-driven culture. Truly they had done an incredible job promoting their vision, mission, and values.

At the one year mark it was time to measure themselves as leaders and to evaluate the impact of the initiative.

An organizational survey had been crafted, promoted, and delivered to customers. Questions within the survey had been specifically designed to draw out feedback on behaviors, decision-making, and the overall customer experience. Questions were framed and/or directly related to the vision, mission, and values.

The results had been compiled, sorted by department, and finished off with aesthetically pleasing formatting and graphics! Leadership was ready to deliver the results to their department heads, who then would be passing along the results to their teams.

“Would you please review the survey results and provide some guidance and ideas on our delivery of the feedback found in the survey?”

Initially this was my sole task. Review the feedback in the survey and provide ideas on how to present the feedback in a way that would elicit positive responses and influence a change in behavior.

When I read the format I found the typical process: 1) Summary: You are so great! 2) Here are all the ways in which you are great! 3) oh, and by the way, here is one way in which you are not doing so great…, and 4) Thanks for being great!

Heaven help me, I just cannot help myself. I am an OD practitioner. Yes, there was a task before me, but try as I might, up from the 30K foot view right up to the 100K foot view I went.

I pulled an example out of the pile. The feedback section provided feedback that the intake nurses would get a little tense when the line was long; and that when this happened it would take a long time to for customers to get checked in.

I asked, “is this the kind of feedback you are wanting help on?”

“Yes!” he replied. “How do we help the person receiving that feedback see that in a positive way and make changes?”

“I have a couple of questions…”

“Other than when it is busy, are the intake nurses providing a high level of service?”

“Oh absolutely!”

“Excellent! Therefore, it is not an issue of ability or desire to provide excellent service. Are the intake nurses aware of the fact that when the lines are long it takes more time and tensions rise?”

“Yes, this is certainly a known problem.”

“Oh! So we would be providing information and feedback that is already a known fact. They know lines get long, they know people get tired of waiting, and they know their own patience can wear thin when this happens. What would we be telling them that they do not already know?”

{no answer}

“A core value of yours relates to ‘believing in the importance of collaboration, learning from one another, and in change’. What would happen if, instead of providing feedback that there is one area in which they are not performing well, you ASK them how you might support them in improving in this area? For example, instead of, ‘here is one area for your improvement,’ the report stated, ‘feedback suggests we have an opportunity for a process to be improved. We welcome your ideas and suggestions to improve the process to support your  success in this area, and to increase your ability to serve your customer’.”

GREAT discussion ensued from here regarding how we could influence and empower each department.

This is a reminder of the old adage: manage your processes; lead your people! They have the potential to do great things for you when you remove barriers such as ineffective processes and policies! This requires hearing what the challenges are; and what needs to be adjusted by the leader!thinking gears


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