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Engaging Others in Change

A mini case study

Jamie is responsible for changing a process within customer service. The process involves inputting data into an application when a customer calls about a problem with the product. Currently the process, as outlined, takes 8 – 10 minutes to complete. The goal is the reduce the process to no more than 5 minutes. It has been used by the customer service group for over 8 years. In fact, the 5 individuals who work in this group have, on average, 10 years in the job. Jamie was excited about the initiative she was assigned and set up a meeting to redesign the process. However, during that first meeting with the customer service group, she lost that excitement. Many of them sat quietly in the meeting and the one who did speak up said everything was fine and the company should stop wasting their time and let them get back to work. Jamie needed the group to help in this effort.

What should Jamie do?

Here is what Jamie might do:  Jamie needs to get the group engaged in this effort. While getting them involved in the first meeting was the right thing to do; planning on beginning to redesign the process during that initial meeting was a mistake! Jamie needs to meet with the group to get to know them first. They have been doing the job for a while now and undoubtedly have concerns about what is happening. What is running through their minds may be any or all of the following:

  • Will any of them lose their jobs?
  • Will new skills be needed and can they learn what they need to?
  • Are they not doing a good job any longer?

By building a relationship and getting to know the group and talk with them about the initiative before diving in to change the process, Jamie will engage the group and get them involved and excited about the initiative as much as she is. Plus Jamie will likely learn that they already have ideas about how to improve the process!

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