Designing service organizations can be tricky business. Peter Scholtes – in The Leader’s Handbook – was the first to tell us to design our organizations as a system, customer-in. He referenced that a “product-out” mentality “is at best tactful arrogance.” We can say that the same applies to service-out thinking too.
Front-line workers can offer any service organization insight into what is wrong with their design of service in real-time. This move can save you big money in not having to do surveys. Anyone interacting with a customer should know by the end of the service if the organization is performing or not.
The barrier to getting feedback for many service organizations from front-line employees are reward systems, performance appraisals and the like. It is the false belief that good performance is derived from the individual and not the system.
Performance is not down to the individual and not to use the worker to help design the system is to miss out on a customer-in design. Ultimately, the worker will have to use the design to deliver the service. Why wouldn’t a service company want to use the worker to help build the design and refine it?
A good service design will involve the front-line workers in designing “customer-in.”
Tripp Babbitt is a service design architect. His organization helps executives find a better way to link perspective to performance and use workers to build and refine your service. Read his column at Quality Digest and his articles for CustomermanagementIQ.com. Reach him on Twitter atwww.twitter.com/TriBabbitt or LinkedIn atwww.linkedin.com/in/trippbabbitt.
Frederick Winslow Taylor (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I sometimes reread certain books that have depth and knowledge associated with them. Out of the Crisis, The New Economics, The Deming Dimension and The Reckoning are those that I have revisited a number of times. Another called, Deming’s Profound Changes was written by Ken Delavigne and Dan Robertson.
Deming’s Profound Changes outlines the American perspective on management. This perspective is rooted in Scientific Management (aka Taylorism) developed by Frederick Winslow Taylor back in the early 1900s. The authors do an excellent job of breaking down the elements of Scientific Management and describe what they call Neo-Taylorism or the “New Taylorism.”
An analysis of Taylorism leaves us with eight flaws (from Deming’s Profound Changes):
- Belief in management control as the essential precondition for increasing productivity.
- Belief in the possibility of optimal processes.
- A narrow view of process improvement.
- Low-level optimization instead of holistic, total-system improvement.
- Recognition of only one cause of defects: people.
- Separation of planning and doing.
- Failure to recognize systems and communities in the organization.
- View of workers as interchangeable, bionic machines.
The book goes on to describe how these flaws have continued to embed in themselves in the design of organizations. This is done through a comparison of the Taylorism flaws as perpetuated in the New Taylorism. The comparisons in the book leave you feeling that the US has absorbed the bad and entropy has taken over the rest of the American perspective.
I was fortunate enough to spend close to two hours speaking with one of the authors – Dan Robertson. He shared with me that Perry Gluckman was the source of their (Ken Delavigne and Dan) inspiration to write Deming’s Profound Changes – interestingly the name of the slides Dr. Gluckman used. Dr. Gluckman was directly guided by Dr. Deming in learning his method. Dan described his interactions with Dr. Gluckman as sometimes confusing, but that the careful guidance of Gluckman always allowed the learning to advance.
Dan Robertson is from Indiana (Clinton county), but lives outside the Bay area today. He is traveling back to Indiana this week and I hope to have coffee with him in late June or early July to learn more about his experiences.
Tripp Babbitt is a service design architect. His organization helps executives find a better way to link perspective to performance. Read his column at Quality Digest and his articles for CustomermanagementIQ.com. Reach him on Twitter atwww.twitter.com/TriBabbitt or LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/trippbabbitt.