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Is Change a Core Competency in Your Organization?

by Gregory Gibbs, Vice President of Global Customer Transformation, Service Council

A Short Story:

The SVP of Field Services announces an exciting new enhancement to improve technician efficiency and mobility: a mobile app that plugs into their current smart phones and, among other things, allows techs to access service manuals, order and track parts, and schedule themselves without needing to be tethered to the Dispatch Center. Also, this technology is expected to be fully operational in 90 days – in a field organization with almost 2,000 techs.

On the surface, this would seem like a well-received announcement and that the implementation would be relatively easy. But as with other similar initiatives considered as positive upgrades, the mobile app implementation was not fully operational 6 months later.

You may have a similar scenario in your mind as you read this, and may have experienced such more than once in your career. You may even have some ideas as to why similar change initiatives were not as successful as originally intended.

There is no one answer to why change often takes longer to deliver on and doesn’t achieve optimal benefit for what is sometimes years later. But there are two common causes of less-than-successful change that occur in the majority of change initiatives we have observed or been involved in:

  1. A communication strategy that doesn’t embrace the “Rule of 7,” which simply translates as: “No individual or organization will adopt a new product, service or solution without having contact with it, through both messaging and experience, at least 7 times.” Experience has shown us that if we shortchange the Rule of 7, delays will happen, and full adoption may never be realized.
  2. Ignoring or misunderstanding the Roles of Change. There are 4 essential Roles of Change: Sponsor, Advocate, Change Agent, and Change Target. Out of these, one of the most frequently-occurring mistakes is to believe that an Advocate (a leader who is supportive of the change) can serve in the role of Sponsor. Why is this a problem? If we do not have the leadership who has “consequential leverage” over the targets of change - to act as Sponsors - then the change initiative is doomed to not fully succeed as planned.

Successful change does not have to be an experiment; if methodically planned and executed with patience and persistence, it will be successful, possibly even exceeding expectations. “Go slow to go fast” can be your new mantra, when it comes to planning and implementing change. Take the time to plan roll-out the communication strategy and ensure you have leaders who will serve in the proper roles necessary to lead the change, keeping in mind their need to move up the adoption ladder in order to best lead the change.

You can learn more about successful change methods by contacting me.

Have you checked out the 2018 Smarter Services Symposium? Go here for more information.

Filed under:  Field service technologyService automationService cultureService innovationService leadershipService transformationTrainingWorkforce management 

Gregory Gibbs
Vice President of Global Customer Transformation,  Service Council

The Value of Employee Engagement

by Gregory Gibbs, Vice President of Global Customer Transformation, Service Council

According a 2017 Gallup poll on the Global Workplace, 87 percent of workers worldwide and 70 percent of employees in the U.S. are either not engaged or actively disengaged. Furthermore, the cost of low employee engagement is staggering: Actively disengaged employees cost the U.S. $450 to $550 Billion per year.

The flip side, organizations with high employee engagement experience higher earnings per share, 22 percent higher profitability and 21 percent higher productivity, 37 percent lower absenteeism, 28 percent lower “shrinkage”, 48 percent fewer staff safety incidents and higher customer engagement as well.

Our experience with successful initiatives to improve employee engagement has been, among other things, greater collaboration, more employee-driven innovation in service processes and a culture that becomes more resilient in times of organizational change.

In our own research, “The Field Service Leader’s Agenda–a 2018 Service Council Trends Survey, over 50% of leaders deemed field service employee collaboration as their top focus area, and two of their top 4 concerns were employee engagement and field service collaboration with other functions.

Clearly, as leaders experience continued pressures to drive efficiencies and increase revenues, at the same time improve on customer satisfaction, they can’t lose sight on the cultural dynamics that underlie any efforts at operational improvement. As Jim Collins stated in his book, “Built to Last”, leaders have to become masters of the “Genius of the AND”, instead of falling prey to the “Tyranny of the OR”. Instead of thinking we can do one thing, such as focus on cost cutting rather than enhancing customer satisfaction, we need to be able to drive efficiency and cut costs, and the same time with improving both the employee and the customer experience.

A successful approach to changing to a culture of high employee engagement is what Smarter Services Leadership™ is all about. With SSL methods, employee engagement and customer satisfaction increase, while employee attrition is reduced and operating cost is cut, among other benefits.

With SSL, we focus on tools and methods that encourage two-way communication at all levels in the organization. Specific performance expectations include achieving performance results in a collaborative way, and service to others is not only expected, but rewarded. An intangible benefit is expressed buy staff and leadership alike was that the workplace has a different feel to it that you notice as soon as you enter the area—“there’s a positive energy that did not exist before SSL,” to paraphrase a leader at one global field service organization.

If you would like to know more about Smarter Services Leadership™ and improving employee engagement, please contact Greg Gibbs at

The 2018 Smarter Services Symposium is just around the corner! Please check out the details here.

Filed under:  CultureEmployee engagementEmployee retentionEmployee satisfaction 

Gregory Gibbs
Vice President of Global Customer Transformation,  Service Council

Rapid Improvement to Achieve Quick Results and Keep Teams Motivated

by Gregory Gibbs, Vice President of Global Customer Transformation, Service Council

In my early days as a Lean Six Sigma practitioner, I became accustomed to the typical Green Belt project taking at least three and up to four months to complete, while a typical Black Belt project could take up to six months or longer, depending on whether it was an improvement or a design project. Believe it or not, that was already 25 years ago!

Today, improvement needs to be realized in a much shorter time frame, and for a variety of reasons:

  1. Customers want successful change implemented faster and faster
  2. Sponsors want to see tangible results as soon as possible to justify the investment in dedicated resources and cost to an improvement project
  3. Organizational change happens so frequently and unexpectedly that project teams are often disrupted in the middle of a Lean Six Sigma project
  4. Change in organizations is happening so rapidly that if a dedicated team doesn’t show results quickly enough, another group could take credit for their achievements

To circumvent these and other issues facing organizations these days, the Rapid Improvement for Services approach has been successfully developed and implemented. This approach draws on the successes of Agile improvement, incubated in the software development world, and adapted to the Lean Six Sigma (LSS) DMAIC approach (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control). Embedded in this approach is the upfront rigor of LSS tools and methods, such as the powerful chartering process. It includes a Case for Change, a problem and goal statement that are tied to measurable results, and a scoping approach that keeps project teams realistic, yet meaningful, in targeting achievable results.

The Rapid Improvement approach is designed to set up a project team to achieve meaningful results every two weeks for the duration of the project, which will not exceed three months in total. With this cadence, project team members stay engaged and on-task, knowing that they have little extra time to achieve their next week’s deliverables. And once these two-week deliverables are accomplished, the team members derive a strong sense of achievement without having to wait for the final result of the project.

In short, the Rapid Improvement approach leveraging the DMAIC methodology is a way to mobilize and engage employees in a way that allows them to stay on task in their everyday deliverables, yet participate in meaningful improvement projects that will help them and their customer over the long-term.

For more information on the Rapid Improvement approach, please contact Greg Gibbs at

The 2018 Smarter Services™ Symposium is coming up soon! Please check it out here.

Filed under:  Service cultureService leadershipTalent developmentTraining 

Gregory Gibbs
Vice President of Global Customer Transformation,  Service Council


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