I have often been accused of my lack of “common sense.”  Which makes me proud of my “uncommon sense.”  So let’s take a look at what types of things are “common sense” in the world of the command and control thinking service organization:

  • Ranking workers, units, teams and departments
  • “Carrots and Sticks” for workers
  • Quotas, targets and arbitrary numerical goals
  • Performance appraisal of the worker,manager and executive
  • When service fails . . . take action
  • Rewards, incentives and bonuses for salespeople, workers and managers
  • Using lean manufacturing tools to improve service
  • Standardization is the place to begin service improvement efforts
  • Outsourcing, technology and/or shared services reduce costs
  • Economies of Scale
  • Separation of the decision making from the work
  • Divide the work into functions
  • Use an IVR for customers to save costs
  • Use reports to make decisions about the work
  • Do lots of inspection to improve quality of service
  • Hire the cheapest workers for the front-line
  • Keep the skilled workers away from service customers
  • Make decisions based on last month’s financials
  • Create competition between workers, teams and departments to increase production
  • Use scripts, policies, procedures, mandates to manage the workers
  • Motivation of employees
  • There is a trade-off between good service and costs (zero-sum game)

All of these make “common sense” to every service organization.  The problem is they all lead to higher costs and worse service.  The management articles/blogs that I have written to date have talked about the problems of each one these.  As a whole they create a management paradox to achieve “uncommon sense” (counter-intuitive ideas).  Innovation leadership means applying new “systems thinking” in our leadership strategy to accomplish new heights.  A service organization can not learn by reading alone, it requires understanding by doing.

Tripp Babbitt is a speaker, blogger and consultant to service industry (private and public).  He is focused on exposing the problems of command and control management and the termination of bad service through application of new thinking . . . systems thinking.  Download free Understanding Your Organization as a System and gain knowledge of systems thinking or contact us about our intervention services at [email protected].  Reach him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/TriBabbitt. Let us show you what you cannot see.