Managing in a multi-dimensional environment
Recently in an interesting discussion with a colleague on managing expectations in a multi-dimensional, layered, stakeholder, location environment ,the most important aspects that came to the fore were:-
Documentation of processes and policies-Processes are optimized when best practices are documented.They do not become person-dependent – any new employee knows how to do the work when responsibility and accountability is clearly assigned.Written changes in procedures and policies reduce ambiguity and increase change control in the environment.Better understanding of processes ensures compliance in service delivery.
Proactive approach to events and incidents-Its very important to have a proactive approach to subsequent event or incidents which has the potential of blowing up in your face.How does one develop a sixth sense to track these damages before it reaches the management, client or customer? To begin with one does need to know the business very well to get the sixth sense in order to evaluate or analyse a particular situation or multiple situations. A particular day needs your attention on multiple levels/layers ,there are certain situations that are common to business while some are special.In order to assess and address daily common situations/causes its very important to start your day by studying the current and historical trends of your line of business and business overall.Appraising oneself with daily report updates is as critical as serious business acumen sized up with a garnered sixth sense. While all special causes/ situations and actions deployed to handle them should be documented for future references.
It’s particularly important to proactively monitor both the objective statistical performance and the customers’ subjective perception of service quality. This monitoring is vital because one can only improve what you measure. So service metrics—especially when used in conjunction with service level agreements (SLAs) and/or other benchmarks—are essential for achieving quality and productivity gains.
Additionally,there are proactive monitoring tools which assist in gathering real-time and historical information, identifying patterns of interest, and distributing notifications to individuals, groups, dashboards, or other systems so that issues can be resolved quickly.Over a period of time this will not only build trust in your stakeholders but also a strong belief that they can entrust your organization with more work.
Transparency in contracts and communication-Every SLA is made up of certain, key components. It may vary depending on the company or specific SLA but there are some basics that you should consider for each individual Service Level Agreement.
- Exact Service(s) Being Provided: This helps eliminate any potential communication mishaps or confusion from the beginning. If you list the exact services you will be providing with no loopholes, the customer will not expect more than you are going to give them per the SLA.
- Responsibilities of Both Parties (supplier & customer): Let the customer know what they should expect from you and what you expect from them. This goes along with the first component but each party needs to communicate effectively from the beginning of their business relationship so no one feels like they’ve been taken advantage of.
- Timetable for Delivery: SLA’s will give customers a timetable to let them know how long it will take the service provider to get back with them via phone call, email- whatever your agreed upon method is. For example: “If you submit a help-desk ticket, we will call you no later than 2 business days after it is received”.
- How Disputes Are Handled: This lets the customer know what your procedure is for any disagreement and how exactly you will approach it. Even if your procedure will vary depending on the dispute, putting a section in your SLA overviewing how disputes are handled, it gives the customer peace of mind.
- Payment Terms: Like an apartment lease contract; they let you know when you’re expected to pay and if you don’t pay by that time, what the repercussions will be, the same goes for a SLA
A two-way communication is more helpful in building an environment of continuous improvement, trust and partnership then one way communication. In my experience I have often seen one way communication becoming harbors of distrust and dichotomy. It only instills a behaviour which is reluctant to change and obey and no-one wants rebels in today’s work environment.Communicating and listening is a behaviour which one unlearns to learn.
Instilling a Win-Win approach-I had attended a workshop on 7 habits of highly effective people very early in my career. Then the approach seemed very easy to understand and follow.But as days and years passed practising this approach in reality was as difficult as taming a bull! It doesn’t come easy.
As rightly said by Stephen Covey- Many people think in terms of either/or: either you’re nice or you’re tough. Win-win requires that you be both. It is a balancing act between courage and consideration. To go for win-win, you not only have to be empathic, but you also have to be confident. You not only have to be considerate and sensitive, you also have to be brave. To do that–to achieve that balance between courage and consideration–is the essence of real maturity and is fundamental to win-win.
It’s very critical to place a maturer and rational leader to co-operate in such an environment.A leader with superficial mature outlook comes to the notice of everyone sooner or later and then lets not forget WYGIWYG( saw it somewhere and found it very catchy and apt) this means What you give is what you get 🙂
Developing a co-model of partnership and co-operation-Why do we need partnering and co-operation in multi dynamic environment that’s because the number of people deployed to manage strategic relationships, partnerships,accounts are limited and even if one would wish for a 48 hour day that will never happen and then there are costs,expectations,reputation involved.Thus, to ensure that maximum is achieved in limited hours ,with maximum output, the energies should be diverted towards building cohesive and conclusive relationships that leads to successful ventures.All of you would agree that this thought and gesture does gets lost somewhere along the way.In our attempt to achieve customer satisfaction and perfection we forget that this is the foundation for faster and quicker results. My suggestion for any 2 organizations entering into a partnership would be to always place two people of equal maturity and knowledge alongside for higher productivity and better results.
Best Practices,Innovation and Re-engineering-To survive in the multi-client and location environment it’s very critical to build teams and groups which harness the energies of individuals working in silos all over the organization.Timely Recognition for best practise replication,innovation and re-engineering is very important to build up the morale of the employees and create a environment of constant evolvement.Hiring /training of SMEs to drive this excellence will definitely give an extra edge to business.