“You want to do what”, my boss said.
We all know the saying, but how many of us understand it, or even tried it?
In the world of business today we’ve got Change Ambassadors, Value Chain Analysts, and even Change Management models to implement and follow, but do any of them work, or are they pointing out things deep down we already know. With so many new ideas coming and going and pop up web agencies telling you to “streamline” charging thousands for the privilege. Is it possible to learn something from within the business that could change the way we work, the way we treat our colleagues, and in turn benefit the company as a whole?
The Answer, Maybe!
But first, who am I to write this.
I am you, I am not a blogger, I don’t work for one of these pop-ups, I’m just another member of staff, working for a company just like yours.
So why am I writing this? because it worked, just not how I thought it would.
Let us go back a few months to the start. We’ve all noticed the world has changed and the way we work has too, we’re either working remotely or finding ways to still get stuff done whilst not coming into contact with anyone.
During this time my workload had slowed so I asked my boss if I could help any other members of the team, My boss applauded my forward thinking and granted my request, explaining it would “add another string to my bow”.
I knew instinctively who to ask, an individual who I speak to almost exclusively 10 times a day, we spoke about what I was trying to achieve. And only a few days later I found myself in the warmth of the office learning the complexities of office life.
From my 2-meter vantage point, I quickly noticed his job was a lot harder than I had envisioned, his mornings comprised of writing technical reports for management to review daily, some of which are about my job and what I do.
He also dealt with all of the incoming technical calls from engineers just like myself. Most of these calls were to report small issues which nine times out of ten were caused by user error, simply not reading the detailed instructions we provide, but he always explained it politely before moving onto the next caller. I did however noticed small gaps in the information he was giving, it wasn’t that it was the wrong information, it just wasn’t all of the information, I realised I had something to offer and quickly set about filling in those voids.
I asked him if he had ever fitted our product, to which he replied, “no but I understand how to”
I decided we could both benefit from “swapping shoes” for the day.
The wheels were set in motion and within a week said colleague was out of the warmth of the office and getting his hands dirty on-site, adding strings to his own imaginary bow. The relevant questions were asked, and notes were taken, and under my close supervision, he fitted several of our products. It was an insightful few days with valuable knowledge flowing both ways, but more than this, I got to know the guy at the other end of the phone, got to know his sense of humor, work ethic, and our shared love of mountain bikes.
Upon returning to his warm comfy office, he set about changing how we schedule the installations within my diary, allowing extra time for the small things in my day, like finding parking in a city center or time to write reports. As a result, I no longer park in areas where I may come back to find a yellow sticker on the windscreen and now finish my reports in greater detail which in turn helps him within his own reporting chain.
So many of the ideas and models we’re asked to follow center around reducing costs, increasing interactions, gaining greater profitability through reductions in time. Now I am not saying to boycott these ideas, I am sure they work wonders, but do we really need a team of pop up experts to tell us what we already know.
When we’re allowed back in the office ask your team in marketing or sales a simple question about the product or service you provide, something simple, like “how much does the product weigh” or “what’s the dimensions”, you will be surprised at the answers you receive.
There is always something to learn but some of us can be blinkered to what is in front of us, so if like me you work for a forward-thinking company, ask your boss the “shoe” question.
Next week, how to put “a feather in my cap”.