Ken Robinson in his recent TED talk (april 2013) mentioned that leaders should be responsible for climate control. They have to create the right climate, in which the people can flourish.
The command & control approach will just kill the much required creativity.
Are you creating the right climate in your organization?
As most of our public institutions (education, police, community hall etc.) provide services, they can benefit hugely from service innovation. However, in order to reap those benefits, they need to be open to the fact that their users (‘the public’) are really their customers. That in itself will require a huge shift in attitude!
Let me give you an example. I am helping my mother with her income tax. She has signed an authorization to automatically pay for her 2013 taxes. So far, so good. But, after 4 months, she did receive 2 mails on the same day. These mails were contradicting each other. In any case, there was a problem, they said, as they could not withdraw the money from my mother’s account. And of course, they are threatening with fines, if she didn’t pay soon. So, I did call the bank, which said that there were no limitations. Then I did call the tax office.
They told me that 2 months were paid. This was not true, as the money was not withdrawn from my mothers’ account, but from the account of a complete stranger! Also the account number in their system for my mother was wrong. I did ask them to sort out this problem and fix it, as they clearly messed up their admin. They told me to be available for a call between 11.00 hrs. and 14.00 hrs., the next day. Immediately they told me that if I did miss the call, there would be problems. The next day I did wait and …. nobody called!
Therefor I did write them a letter and asked for explanation and action.
Just a few days ago, they did send a new form for authorization and a copy of my own letter. No explanation, no apologies, nothing.
That is not a customer friendly response! But, clearly they don’t see me as a customer. I can understand that you will make mistakes, which happen to all of us. But then at least you can have the respect and decency to admit that and explain why you mess up different accounts.
Research indicates that if you adequately follow up to a customer complaint, then your customer will be more loyal and share that positive feedback with his/her networks.
This is especially important for the tax office. A first start would be to see your users as customers and treat them accordingly.
Enthusiasm drives Excellence!
When I become excessively critical towards others, it means I am going in the wrong direction. We are usually very good at spotting mistakes, but we should develop the quality of also spotting goodness. If I can see what is good in others or in situations and go beyond the curtain of negativity, I feel good about myself. If I constantly think “he is wrong”, I instead create a barrier which blocks me from reaching my own goodness.
As technology and the internet have lowered the cost of innovation and expressing yourself creatively, the ability of small groups of people to have a big impact has increased, he says. “The barrier now isn’t lack of money,” he says, “it’s lack of permission. Untapped capital gets unlocked when authority gets out of the way and lets people do what they would do if given potential and the context in which to do it.” The barrier now isn’t lack of money, it’s lack of permission.
Everything and everyone is connected. it is time to bundle forces and to tackle these problems. The hour of ‘generalists’ has come!!
More and more research (positive psychology; happiness) indicates that giving a compliment is very important for the wellbeing, as well as the performance of employees. A compliment makes you feel good (yes, that is true for everyone!) and that will help you to more easily solve problems, be nicer to customers and/or come up with new ideas.
So, why are we not giving that many compliments then? The reason might be our culture , in which we are trained to focus on the weaknesses, mistakes and faults, rather than focusing on the strengths. We are afraid that people will become lazy when we give them compliments, or maybe that they will start asking for a raise. Again, this is not true. In most cases, employees give a higher value to a positive and motivating environment than to just their salaries.
Therefor we need to practice to give compliments (at work and at home). And we also need to be careful if we criticize someone. A decade of research on high and low performance teams by psychologist Marcial Losada shows the importance of compliments. Through studying 100’s of corporate teams, the ratio of positive to negative interactions necessary to make a team successful, is 2.9 This means that it takes about three positive comments, interactions, experiences or expressions to fend off the languishing effects of one negative.
Dip below this level, known as the Losada Line, workplace performance quickly suffers. Rise above it, and the results are predictably positive.
How many compliments did you give today?
Enthusiasm drives Excellence!