Adaptability in motion: a simple small example

How does adaptability work? How does it make a business more profitable? I get asked those and related questions almost daily.

Let me give you an answer by way of an example. I once worked with a parcel shipping company looking to find differentiation on their core business: package delivery.

Working with them, we came to realise they needed to start having different conversations with their customers.

Here’s how their business was run. Staff would typically drive to a customer who’d called for a pickup. The customer hands them a package that has been estimated in weight and cost. The courier would then bring it back to the office where it would be weighed again. If it was different – and it often was – they had to call the customer to find out how to proceed. If they couldn’t get in touch with the customer, they drove the parcel back to the customer to talk in person. About 24 hours was wasted in this process as well as a lot of the customer’s patience.

We did some research and came up with some solutions. The customer errors in calculating weights for their parcels was due to their lack of a weigh scale. So we gave the couriers scales to bring along when picking up the packages. We also had the couriers show customers how to properly pack items to get the least expensive rate. If the customer didn’t have the appropriate materials, the driver would bring in packing materials to assist.

They basically turned the driver into a customer service specialist. Pretty soon they would see other packages with the customer and ask why they weren’t shipping with their company. If the reason was shipping cost, they would source pricing for them often to find they were cheaper. They would even offer to do the complex import / export paperwork if necessary.

The courier took our recommendations, implemented them and increased their local revenue by 25 percent overnight.

Further, their proactive courier customer contact ended up growing the account.

They had underestimated their couriers. Originally hired to drive from location A to B, they more than rose to the challenge of their new customer-focussed roles.

Is that how all adaptable change processes work? No, not at all. They are as different as one business is from another.

To talk with Lloyd Parry about how to transform your business into an adaptable one and increase profitability, please get in touch.


How to do Shared Services the right – LEAN – way

So you’ve got duplicate internal services in your organisation. Simple enough to just share them with others in the company, right?

Great thinking! Too bad it’s not that easy to execute in the real world.

The upside is really impressive: you get to cut costs significantly while improving services. And it can be done. It just takes excellent leadership and an ability to change your organisational culture.

However, there are a number of errors and assumptions that can cause a shared services implementation to fail.

Our Sense and Respond 3.0 Adaptive-Lean Shared Services masterclass looks closely at how to use Sense and Respond – Lean and Adaptive Thinking as a framework for shared service implementations.

We draw on our recent experience implementing LEAN service transformations at Lego and SAP to help organisations get the most bang for their buck from streamlining and improving shared services.

We use the REAL challenges faced by companies as they made radical improvements to provide real-life context for attendees. The result are takeaways and implementation strategies that can save thousands or even millions in lost or wasted revenue.

Despite the currency of the cases we draw from, we continually adapting Lean service because customer and business needs change rapidly in today’s market.

Although the masterclass is designed for Senior Leaders in HR, Operations, Finance, Customer Service, IT and Senior Teams, it is invaluable for anyone interested in successful shared services transformation.

Key Learning Outcomes:

  • What exactly is LEAN  and why does it matter for people planning shared services – Lean is now a familiar concept to many business leaders, but do we all have an accurate and complete understanding?  It’s not about cutting costs, it’s about delivering value to customers
  • How to create a clear line of sight between what you and your staff do every day, and what the customer actually values
  • Measuring the right things in the right way – CORE LEAN principles – how to use the principles and tools to keep you focussed on what matters to your customer, and why this is especially vital when planning/running shared services
  • How to collect the information that you need to make good quality decisions, and how to tell the difference between quality, robust, reliable information and the rest of the stuff you’ll get
  • Managing resources during the transition to shared services – do you have enough people are they doing the right things – LEAN is likely to radically transform what people do every day, how do you manage this?
  • Measuring internal and external customer outcomes and using this information to keep evolving

Please read more about the masterclass here and then get in touch.


Making your talent valuable is the best organisational talent strategy

When working on an Adaptive-Lean transformation with an organisation, we look at their management, their leaders, their talent. What we’ve found that when it comes to recruitment, far too many look for candidates that are likely to maintain the status quo rather than infuse the organisation with new ideas.

The phrase ‘perfect fit’ is the term most of them use. But what many don’t understand is that the status quo actually means stagnation and what organisations should be looking for is reinvigoration and reinvention.

It’s this kind of thinking that often leads to companies engaging us. When the status quo isn’t good enough anymore it’s time for an Adaptive-Lean change.

People are the core of any business – whether it’s understood that way or not. But once it is  understood and integrated into the values of the organisation everything changes. If you release the potential of your people, your people will realize the potential of your organisation.

I tell organisations we’re working with to invest in their people –  make them smarter, more capable, engaged and fully aligned with objectives.  When this is done correctly, employees become worth their weight in gold.

Of course the upshot is that these employees also become more attractive to competitors. And while poaching may become a concern, it shouldn’t. That’s because when a workplace is promotes this kind of employee empowerment, the opposite happens. Candidates will flock to a workplace that shares with employees the rewards of what they bring to the organisation.

The result is you’re no longer on the watch for good people, because they’re looking for you.

To learn how LloydParry can transform your organisation into one to watch, please get in touch.

Ten police officers and one man with a baseball bat: a Lean story

A few years back when we were working with a UK police force on a Lean transformation project, we put some staff from the IT department in police cruisers with officers for ride-alongs.

In one instance an IT person was able to witness first hand how a communications failure turned a minor neighborhood incident into a major tie-up of police resources.

First some basic info about the command and control system at headquarters. The system handled and recorded incoming information from 999 calls before assessing the situation and dispatching officers to the scene.

In this instance the IT person was in the car when a call come over the radio about 12 youths on a residential street squaring off against each other with sticks and bats. The officer, realizing he’s closest to the scene, asks for more information.

But the dispatcher comes back on and tells him that his system just died and no more information is available.

So the officer sizes up the situation based on the information he has. He’s in a car with some IT guy and he has to decide if he’s going to deal with 12 people swinging bats alone. Well of course he wasn’t go to go into that kind of a situation alone. He’s a police officer, not Batman.

So he calls for backup and goes to a location near the residential area where he will rendezvous with his back up and prepare to engage. In total there are five patrol cars, ten officers, a dog handler, two big dogs of course and a Land Rover.

They’re ready to go in like gangbusters.

And they do. But what they discover is a little different than what the initial report had indicated. Instead of a dozen youths ready to wreck the neighbourhood, they find one drunk guy with a baseball bat yelling at his neighbours from a window in his house.

It sounds like a funny anecdote. But it was really a disaster. Because of the system failure at headquarters, ten officers in five patrol cars were pulled away from other duties. Not to mention the police dogs and their handler.

I say it was a disaster because if those resources were needed anywhere else during that time frame, they would have been unavailable. And given the life and death nature of some police calls, it could have resulted in a very bad outcome at another crime scene.

In the end it was a simple matter of the system being down for five minutes. A quick call to IT and it was fixed. While a solution was eventually put in place to eliminate such outages, it brought home to the police force management just how important their IT department was to the organisation. And it showed the IT person in the car how important their contribution was to keeping the streets safe.

More specifically, the IT department staff saw the importance of ensuring what they do had a clear line of sight to customer outcomes.  The IT department changed their attitude towards their work and made them see their IT job as more than just fixing the force’s technology. In fact, they came to see it was about keeping police officers and the public safe.

They put in a system to link all IT work that included not a strong view as to why the smooth running of the system was key to customer outcomes.

If you would like to have Lloyd Parry work on a Lean solution with your organisation, please get in touch.


When a policeman has to use his wife’s cell on the job, its time for a change

When I was working with a UK police force on their Lean transformation, I had an interesting opportunity to speak to their IT department about the importance of IT and how it makes the force more effective.  

What I found in some cases was terrifying and comic in equal doses.

A police officer was interviewed about his police issue mobile phone. He told us that when it broke down it had to go away for two to five weeks. He also noted that at the time of our conversation it had been out for repair four times in five months.

But that’s not the comic or terrifying part.

The officer was asked if he used backup phones. He said he would but they were all out for repair.

So what was his working solution? He used his wife’s phone which was, of course, against departmental regulations. When pressed on this apparent flaunting of protocols, he simply shrugged ‘What would you have me do?’.

So the terrifying and comic part? He was the head of the Rapid Firearms Response Unit. The head of this important part of tactical response policing could have been using his wife’s cellphone during a crisis. Comic and yes, terrifying.

How did it come to be that their communications were in such disarray? Well, the repair process was handled by three different organisations: the IT department, an outsourced repair company with a one-week turnaround service agreement and another company that supplied replacement phones.

The issue, ironically, was communication: none of these departments talked to each other. They were also measured against different targets, there was no context provided to the companies as to the purpose of the service and certainly none taken as to the impact on the customers: the police in the first instance, and most importantly, the public.

This story has a happy ending however. The tale made its way to the Police Commissioner and service for the entire process was brought back in house. Most crucially, the performance indicators were changed from repair times to the standard of no officers being without authorized communications devices.

This story had a long tail in that it set in motion a whole new service strategy from object focussed to customer focused. Things change when you understand and are committed to the customer’s purpose.

To find out how Lloyd Parry can transform your organisation to more effective service parameters, please get in touch.

The wow about the WOW! Awards

Working with Lean over the years, I’ve grown to take special delight in seeing how customer engagement changes, develops and then becomes essential in the growth of an organisation.

Given that, we at Lloyd Parry are happy to have our own Rupert Coles as a judge at this year’s WOW! Awards.

WOW! Is an independent award organisation that rewards great customer service solely through customer compliments. That’s it. No supervisor input.

Whether you’re part of the Lean universe or not, the WOW! Awards are an event every business can look to for examples of how improve the customer contact experience.

The awards are a celebration of the best in customer service and experience  – something that a lot of businesses have lost site of in the age of random cost-cutting and automation.

As an organisation, WOW! created a set of tools to easily facilitate the flow of information from customer to business and then to the employee responsible for the positive customer experience.

I see WOW! and similar organisations as crucial to Lean in that they provide a useful mechanism to not only smooth the feedback process but turn it into positive employee feedback and rewards.

And by championing the finalists for these awards they provide a status in great customer service delivery usually reserved for management success.

The Gala Awards will be held on November 28.

To learn more about the WOW! Organisation and Gala, please click here.

If you’re interested in learning about how LloydParry can put your company into the upper tier of customer-focussed business success, please get in touch.


Inside Climetrics: the process of changing a work climate

The benefits of changing a work culture are well known. When people talk to us about change their questions aren’t about “why” it needs to happen, but rather “the how Inside Climetrics.” 

How you change the work climate within your organisation

At Lloyd Parry we use a proprietary system called Climetrics. And as part of our comprehensive change programs we first take the time to understand the the alignment between the following areas:

  • Operating strategies
  • Organisational structures
  • Managing practices
  • Delivery capabilities
  • General work climate (i.e. operational performance and behaviour)

Then, a general assessment is made to determine the overall operational impact on workplace perceptions, and the ability of employees to serve customers better in the following areas:

  • Ability to define and measure customer value and end-to-end delivery performance metrics.
  • Ability to share customer data and operational performance information at all levels within the organisation.
  • Ability of the organisation to introduce innovation and improvement.
  • Leadership styles and drivers at each level within the organisation.
  • Particular attention will be paid to the processes and practices used to define new customer business, create a service design, implement, test and deploy.

Managerial practices are also reviewed in the following areas:

  • Customer and client management
  • Management review practices
  • Workforce management practices
  • Change and improvement practices
  • MIS practices
  • Knowledge management and reuse
  • Reward and recognition policies
  • Service-level-agreement regimes
  • Process standardisation and reuse
  • Staff targets and goals
  • Management targets and goals

Then we conduct interviews, observe work demonstrations and review operational reports.

And now the change program takes shape

Up until now we’ve spent most of our time doing a deep dive that shows us at a very detailed level how the organisation functions (or dysfunctions!) Using this information when can then prepare and configure a subsequent on-line survey to collect staff and management perceptions, feelings and behaviours.

Is it that easy? No.

All organisations are different and those differences and how we adapt to them ourselves is part of the Lloyd Parry International expertise.

To learn more about Climetrics and how Lloyd Parry can make your organisation more profitable, please get in touch by clicking here.


If an organisation sees Marilyn Monroe and Albert Einstein

When working with organisations looking to change, I often start by showing them a prepared image that combines the visages of Marilyn Monroe and Albert Einstein. It’s the same image but looks entirely different depending on how close – or far – you’re standing from it.

Stand far away and you’re seeing Monroe, move up close and you’re seeing Einstein.

Senior management thinks their operation looks like Marilyn Monroe, people on the front lines see Einstein.  And caught in between are middle managers who have to artfully mediate between both views.

Talk about a thankless task. These brave souls talk to frontline staff and say ‘yeah, it’s bad’, while thinking, “Oh, I’ve got to change these reports to make it look like Marilyn Monroe  or senior management is going to come down here there’s going to be mayhem.”

The Monroe / Einstein metaphor is also useful when examining end-to-end business, particularly in development and IT. The developer or project sponsor is at one end, seeing Marilyn Monroe while the IT people managing infrastructure – including all the bugs and customer pain – are seeing nothing but Albert.  The view from the top looks great. But like the picture, it’s all an illusion. 

In situations like this how can an organization possibly come together in consensus and purpose on what needs to be fixed? Without clarity of purpose, we get politics. Without clarity of purpose we get bad customer responses and lose trust.

So getting that vision, that single vision is really important. In order to get a strategy for change, the entire organisation needs to see the same picture. If you’re all seeing a very different picture of reality, things can go mightily wrong.

If you want to have me guide your organisation’s change, please be in touch.


Scam caller stopped dead by one question

We’ve all heard the stories about devious callers trying to fool us to give up our precious credit card numbers. Who does these sorts of calls? What scum would try to scam people out of their hard earned money?

If my wife’s recent experience is anything to go by, the reality is that they’re actually deeply religious people. Yes, there are limits to what they will do in their ‘professional’ lives.

She got a call the other day from an Indian man informing her that someone in her household had been recently involved in a car accident or some such.

She told the man that she was the only person in her household, and oh, by the way, she doesn’t have a car.

Then she did something remarkable. She turned the tables on him.

She simply asked him for his phone number. He read her own number back to her.

“Uh no”, she replied. “That’s my number. I want to know your number.”

He giggled a nervous laugh and asked why she wanted his number. She responded matter-of-factly that since he’s got hers, she should have his. Makes sense, right?

He said he couldn’t give her his number. She replied that she couldn’t talk to him unless he did.

He then mumbled a number, something like 4433222345. She pointed out that it didn’t sound like a real phone number. He insisted it was his real phone number.
That’s when she went for the jugular. Presuming that his Indian accent was an indication as to his culture, she asked ‘Do you swear to God, to Allah, to Ishvar that this is your phone

After a short pause, he mumbled that he couldn’t do that.

She asked why. Silence.

“Because you’re lying?” she added.

She asked again: “Swear to your god that the number you gave me is yours”.

He said no he couldn’t and hung up.

We may have discovered a new tactic in dealing with unwanted callers. Ask them to tie their personal beliefs to their ‘professional’ demeanor.

Expect them to hang up before you do…

Honoured to be a Judge at the UK Customer Experience Awards

Honoured to be asked to Judge at the UK Customer Experience Awards.

The UK Customer Experience Awards recognise and celebrate the delivery of an outstanding customer experience by those companies and organisations who are leaders in their field. Judges are carefully selected for their experience and expertise, and add significantly to the wealth of relevant knowledge accessible on the day.

Implementing lean

Following a unique format, the finalists’ presentations, and the announcement of the Award winners, are achieved on the same day, with the presentations taking place in the morning, and the winners announced at a sumptuous gala lunch in the early afternoon.