6 Steps to Service Improvement

Thursday, March 19, 2009 by Tripp Babbitt

Command and control thinkers believe that organizational change management comes from projects and project plans, cost-benefit analysis, deliverables, milestones, strategic plans and the like.  Time wasted over and over again breaking things down, timelines, inter-dependencies identified, resources and skill sets . . . you get the idea.

Systems thinking reduces complexity by eliminating all this.  The Vanguard Method (that I use) begins with "check" which means understanding the "what and why" of current performance as a system.  Change begins at "check" in contrast to the command and control style of predetermination of outcomes.  In the command and control world plans and projects are rarely returned to . . . they usually wind up in a neat binder on the executives desk.  Worse, much time is taken to cover-up failings and milestones are extended, manipulated or constantly adjusted.

The Vanguard Model for check follows a six step process:

  1. What is the purpose?  At each service touchpoint (where the customer transacts business with service company) What is the purpose of this service from the customer’s standpoint?
  2. What are the types and frequencies of demand?  Managers must go to the point(s) of transaction to find out.  Why do they call?  What do they want or need?  What matters?  Are the demands value or failure?
  3. How well does the system respond to demand?  How well does your service respond to these demands?
  4. Study the Flow.  Only after studying demand and measuring how well the service is performed do we study flow. 
  5. Understand what system conditions exist.  Systems build their own waste from command and control thinking.  Work design, information technology, contracts, targets, structure, scripts, etc. are all potential conditions that add waste to the system.
  6. Review management thinking.  Learning is not something for the front-line only, managers learn through this process.  They can see the waste caused by command and control thinking.
Doing "check" creates the mindset and momentum for business improvement.  Purpose and measures change in systems thinking.  There is a better way.

For those wanting to learn more there is a free download from my blog and website (160 pages of information and exercises).  In addition, the website has more management articles.  If you get have questions email, twitter or call me.

Comments for 6 Steps to Service Improvement

Saturday, March 21, 2009 by M ShivaKumar:
This methodology is quite a right approach and shall make difference in a day to day evaluation of the issues on hand and further improvements rather than spending good amount of time is meetings which most of the time end with no postive results.
Sunday, March 22, 2009 by Kirpalsinh Vala:
Dear Sir, A very practical approach

Leave a comment