I recently wrote an article about Failed Service Transformation and how it is not Murphy’s Law to blame but laxity of the strategy, process and change management mechanisms. Thanks to Martin Summerhayes for pointing out an important question- ‘How do you make the strategy personal to the people involved?’ Let’s try to answer it!

Author Rohit Agarwal | Copperberg

Get your Technician’s Voice Heard in the Boardroom

I would firstly flick an idea from Martin’s LinkedIN article

– ‘the Outside-In approach to Customer Service’ and recommend ‘getting the people involved into the boardroom.’ A large company will have to then book a small stadium and should we call it a general meeting then! Ofcourse, it is not practically feasible to get everyone into the boardroom but it is possible to get everyone’s voice heard in the boardroom. 

Let’s take a simple example of a new mobile device handed out to the technicians as part of the Digitalisation Strategy. Being in the boardroom and caring more about the interface design more than the functionality could lead to that maximum used feature hidden behind three drop-down menus. One way of not falling into this trap is to involve the technicians from the very beginning. Most companies would do interviews, user-research and observation.s with their technicians when deciding on the problems faced and what tools could help them, but not so many would consult them when actually implementing the solution!

Take Action on your Technician’s Opinions

Only having the voice of the technician’s heard cannot work without taking concrete actions to show the top management cares. Technician insights is a two way street enabled by actively listening and implementing the ideas. Carsten Tams in his Forbes article about organisational change management, talks about the CEO as a fully invested champion who creates a burning platform to create a strong sense of urgency. The top management has to motivate the technicians to provide feedback constantly and then push the other departments to work on these insights. 

Could this process be made cyclical involving more feedback from the users in the technology building/implementing phase? Yes, to reiterate and reinstate the Lean Startup Theory by Eric Ries, the entire technology development can be done in a Build-Measure-Learn loop to involve the feedback in every stage. To start with the technology development phase, build a few mock-ups and take it to the technicians, let them create basic sketches themselves. I remember going into a workshop at a large transportation company and asking the drivers to draw what the would like the interface of the Heads-up display to look like. Fair enough, the results were not award winning sketches or reduced workload for me, but a few key insights which wouldn’t be possible for me to learn through years of interviewing or observations.

Organisational Culture and Constant Change Mentality

To involve everyone in the organisation in the strategy, the organisation has to build itself on these values. The mission, vision, working structure and accessibility to the top-management plays a very important role in how much each employee is going to push beyond oneself beside their regular tasks. A happy employee is the key to a happy customer. Get rid of the suggestion box that has laid dormant since ages and make your employees feel involved while making yourself approachable can lead to great ideas and changes pouring up from the lower levels to the top of the organisation. I am no expert on organisational culture, but can definitely quote Google known for their culture and innovation.

“You have to have the culture,” says Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, “and you need to get it right.” At Google, collaboration is essential to innovation and it happens best when they share information openly. So as a company, Google shares as much as possible with employees and strives for transparency. Getting the right motivated people on board is another of Google’s secret formula. ‘’We hire for capability and learning ability before we hire for expertise.’’—Laszlo Bock, Senior Vice President, People Operations, Google.

To sum it up, it might not sound easy at first glance to involve your technicians or all the people in your strategy and might look time, effort and resource intensive, but hey! Rome wasn’t built in a day. A simple method to get started would be to have more open communication with your technicians, get their advice, create a minimum viable product, take it back to them for feedback and see how they feel about it.