Ideas on People and Performance, Team Building, Motivation and Innovation

Tag: customer service improvement

On Integrity and Customer Service and improving business results

Sometimes, it is really great getting surprises. My 0ld friend, Frank Navran, emailed me the other day saying that he had used my name and ideas in an article and asked if it was okay. He had actually published the article already so I guess he was not asking for permission! (That is fine by me, actually. Nice to have good, trusted friends out there!)

It was on ROI – not Return on Investment but Return on Integrity. Frank writes quite well and has used my ideas before, so I opened up the file and was surprised and pleased. It’s nice knowing that one has left some legacy and some impacts with the efforts that we give so that is another real positive for him in sending this to me.

This is one of the clearest posts I have seen on the theme of leadership and integrity and how they impact business and people. You can click on the link below to download the article.

Navran on Customer Service Maturity Model and Integrity

The article is about Frank’s personal experiences as a manager and consultant and how integrity has been such a strong factor in the success of his clients’ organizations and the driving force for repeat business. Frank builds on my simple and straightforward concept of Service Maturity and talks about building loyalty among both employees and customers.

The model has three levels, each of which builds on the other, from left to right:

Simply put, there are three levels of service, each of which needs a strong foundation of the other. The first is the effective processing and handling of transactions, the second is the meeting of expectations and the third is about care, working to exceed expectations and build customer loyalty. Meeting expectations is fine but if someone finds it cheaper, they can be lost as customers.

I think that you will find Frank’s writings on integrity to be most interesting. Frank has been working with performance leadership and ethics for the past 20 years and is well known for his ideas and effectiveness.

The permission to post is from Frank Navran and is as follows:
© 2011 Navran Associates, © 2012 Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics

You can read more about building service profitability and engaging employees in a lot of other posts, but you might find this one of interest:

Improving Service Profitability by Engaging Employees

My work with customer service improvement started back in 1980 and it is somewhat disappointing to see that we have made a good bit of progress in the processing of transactions in so many organizations, but not as much as one would hope in meeting or exceeding expectations. Those few that seem to get it do quite well in the marketplace.

Most of my recent writings have been about general workplace performance and productivity themes, being less focused on service quality. The issues overlap greatly, since it is hard to care for customers if you don’t feel the boss cares for you.

You might also like this article on People as an Asset:


For the FUN of It!

Dr. Scott SimmermanDr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement tools. Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and consultant.

Connect with Scott on Google+ – you can reach Scott at

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Scott’s quips and quotes on Poems on The Workplace is here.

materials © Performance Management Company, 1993 – 2015

Big Leaps and Little Steps – Thoughts on Innovation and Creativity

Dr. Scott Simmerman

For dozens of years, I have worked on the edges of how organizations work, being The Man in two organizations as well as being a consultant on long-term implementation projects as well as simply standing on the outside observing and commenting. Being in each position has had its advantages and drawbacks, but one thing is clear: Lots of organizations and individuals can accomplish lots of organizational improvement in lots of ways, and there is no silver bullet or best way.

Being internal offers the advantages of being able to bring to bear the organizational resources like time and money and support and roadblock management. One can supervise a group of people to focus on an issue or opportunity and to design an intervention to solve some problem or make some improvement.

That is easy when you are in charge of customer service or computer software or some other area that is somewhat self-contained. There are a lot of things you cannot manage, like customer service if you are a software manager or software if you are a customer service manager. But overall, you have some direct control.

The consultant has no direct influence, but might have access to senior managers and is often looking for something to implement that has impact and value for the company or department. So, the approach there is to identify issues and then look for leverage. Often, it is possible to collaborate and determine some changes and improvements that have significant organizational impact or effectiveness and whose results can be measured and evaluated.

In my 30 years of experience on the edges, it is quite common to find an individual who is doing things differently from the rest and seeing the results and impacts from that difference. Occasionally, it occurs at the low end of the performance curve, but very often, it is the Top or Exemplary Performer who has discovered some innovative efficiency that enables them to perform at a very high level.

They are not doing what the average employee is doing, but they are also doing things that the average person COULD do if they were aware of it or understood it or were measured on it (with feedback – see my newsletter on Performance Feedback).

This, for me, is organizational creativity or innovation. It does NOT have to be some brand new idea for a product or service, but it can be some organizational improvement or change that has impacts on some important aspect of how things work. And, often, those new improved ideas can be the basis for some team building as those ideas are implemented across part of the organization. Change does not have to be forced on people, which commonly generates resistance, anyway. Change and improvement can be made into an attractive new goal or mission and people can be recruited to implement and share the intrinsic motivation that comes naturally from improvement in skills or performance. Improvements can be recognized peer-to-peer and thus help that group build a more cohesive spirit.

On the other hand, forcing improvements from outside the group – such as a recommendation from a glory-seeking consultant who does not share any of the credit with the hands-on people – will result in resistance or worse.

Ownership, as I have discussed before, is a critical factor in organizational improvement:

“Nobody Ever Washes a Rental Car”

See these blog articles for more information:

Doing the same thing the same way will mostly generate the same result. I say mostly because it is my experience that some people will NOT accept “how things work, now, badly” and will make improvements on their own. These are often the same people who will bend the rules and develop “out of bounds” types of solutions that make sense when viewed from a distance – they are working on the edges of accepted behavior in many cases. They often feel that work looks like this:

Working hard, turning corners, working hard, turning corners, working hard…

And at least they can shift some things around so that their effort has more positive impacts and makes more sense, even though they cannot change things. They will make work look more like this:

Some people will simply innovate how they do things to make it easier…

What is needed is pretty simple: time, support, and more support to actually make real changes in how things operate and how work gets done.

They need the support of the management, support of the departments that impact their results, and the support of their peers. This all leads to improved intrinsic motivation.

This stuff is NOT rocket science and we simply need to understand that ideas for innovation can come from anywhere at any time and may not flow from how things are done right now. Sometimes there are necessary and important paradigm shifts in how we think of things. And not every idea is a great one, but we do need to be careful about how we deal with it. There may be a spark of creativity that we want to build on.

Ideas will come from the edges, and everyone has ideas. Reinforce them!

My tools are useful for a wide variety of innovative or creative exploits with front line workers. They are easy to facilitate and set up a language of improvement. It is easy for hands-on people to share the things that do not work smoothly – you can generate dozens of good ideas for workplace improvement. And you can use these ideas to create a history of successful implementation that leads to easier improvement in the future.

Square Wheels and our team building games are designed to impact performance and results. Have fun with them.

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