Remember my “Resistance Against Change as a Way to Save Face” post? James described an interesting situation in the comments:
Here’s the thing. Im my organisation call centre workers are managed based on adherence to roster. The roster is a plan, based on a forecast of customer demand, telling staff when to be available to take calls, and organising when they can spend there time on other activities. Managers believe that this is a customer focused approach. They seek to maximise adherence to roster, and they reward staff for doing so. However it takes no account of real demand – just forecast demand. I would argue that when the forecast is wrong it is right to move away from the plan to help the actual customers, but this systems prioritises the hypothetical customers in the forecast above the real customers on the phone (or any other change in circumstances not accounted for in the plan.)
It’s idiotic. Any suggestions about how to address this folly without making those who implement it feel foolish.
James asks about a process, not someone’s individual ways, which is similar but not the same. For this scenario I do have ideas:
Why is the current process the way it is? Become a researcher and find out. This works best if you are new to the company or the department.
Caution, for this to work you have to be genuinely curious and prepared to change your mind. People can smell a hidden agenda. And who knows, maybe the current process makes perfect sense if seen as part of a bigger picture.
Do you know who came up with the current process? If they’ve left, this will make your life easier. If not, talk to that person first. Alone, so there’s less reason for them to be defensive. Be careful how you phrase your question and offer your observations. Words like “folly” and “idiotic” would rub everyone the wrong way. [I don't really thing you'd put it like this with them ]
I’d try it like this: “Do you have a minute for me? I’ve noticed something surprising in the way we handle things and would like to understand why we do it like this.”
Best case scenario: There was a reason to do it the current way which doesn’t apply anymore. This becomes apparent to others while you research the history of the process and you change how agents are rewarded, because the current way causes pain.
Very important aspect that, the pain.
Who feels pain?
If no one in the company feels the pain, there is no reason for them to change*. Continue reading