Operations

The Impact from Culture on Customer Experience

The Impact from Culture on Customer Experience

By Dale Lawrence

Often, organizations focus on either culture or customer experience or operational excellence as independent activities without seeing that they all are interrelated. In fact, the customer doesn't really care about the company culture or the operational success but will feel the impacts from both. When it is time for the customer to reflect on their loyalty and determine if they with re-purchase, their decision will be based on the overall historical relationship and interactions. In effect, whether their needs were met with the least customer effort. The company must see the customer journey, the employee engagement and the underlying work environment as intertwined. Overall, it is the transparent customer relationship where the company succeeds or fails. Your culture is the core of this relationship.

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Transformational Leadership: How it Matters for Organizational Change

Transformational Leadership


By Madison Hanscom, PhD

Organizations must continually change and adapt in order to sustain improvement in this dynamic world. Without change, companies risk falling behind and losing the competitive edge. Researchers are developing a picture of what leads to successful change and what factors contribute to failure, because unsuccessful change can be disruptive and expensive. For example, it is known that having a proper diagnosis before the change, forming a clear vision, mobilizing energy, removing barriers, developing knowledge and skills for the change, setting goals, and implementing feedback are all crucial components of successful transformation. Another critical component is supportive leadership.

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Executives – Have you thought about your wellbeing lately?

Executives – Have you thought about your wellbeing lately


By Madison Hanscom, PhD

It is common to assume that executives, CEOs, and highly successful entrepreneurs just ‘have it all’, but many of these individuals are silently suffering. Executives can have a lot on their plate. They might feel responsible for the ups and downs of employees. They might work long hours and feel pressure to make the company more successful. They also can feel very isolated, like they can’t be vulnerable without looking weak.

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Encourage a growth mindset in your workplace

Encourage a growth mindset in your workplace


By Madison Hanscom, PhD

Growth mindset is the notion that who we are as a person (e.g., our character, abilities, intelligence) is malleable and capable of being developed with effort. At the opposite end of the spectrum is a fixed mindset, which describes when an individual feels their talents and abilities are predetermined and not flexible. Those with a more fixed mindset might feel some people “have it” and others “don’t”. Research on this topic began in education, where it was observed that students with a growth mindset approached difficulty as a challenge, and they were more likely to persevere with success despite setbacks. Students with a growth mindset vs. a fixed mindset had higher motivation, effort, and school outcomes (like math grades) (1).
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How to develop a growth mindset

How to develop a growth mindset


By Madison Hanscom, PhD

Changing how we think can have a profound impact on our life at home and work. Growth mindset is the notion that who we are as a person (e.g., our character, abilities, intelligence) is malleable and capable of being developed with effort. At the opposite end of the spectrum is a fixed mindset, which describes when an individual feels their talents and abilities are predetermined and not flexible. Those with a more fixed mindset might feel some people “have it” and others “don’t”. Research on this topic began in education, where it was observed that students with a growth mindset approached difficulty as a challenge, and they were more likely to persevere with success despite setbacks. Students with a growth mindset vs. a fixed mindset had higher motivation, effort, and school outcomes (like math grades) (1).
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Teach your people how to fish

jumpstory-download20200915-013729

By Madison Hanscom, PhD

What does the proverb “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime” have to do with being a great leader? In short, it allows followers to be more self-reliant. As a result, employees will enjoy more autonomy in their job, potentially experience more meaning in their work, and it allows the leader to find better balance in their own time.

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Using the “High Six” to Improve Leadership Skills

Using the High Six to Improve Leadership Skills


Josh Williams, Ph.D.

Psychologists use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) to diagnosing mental and personality disorders. This classification and diagnostic tool identifies issues that disrupt people’s ability to maintain relationships, achieve goals, and experience fulfillment.
But what about a tool to diagnose and identify success and contentment?

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Flex Work: The Need for a Long View in a Remote Workspace

The Need for a Long View for a Remote Workspace

By Dale Lawrence

While most leaders have adopted a plan of not bringing every employee back to the physical workplace, what is unclear is “how long?”, “how is this impacting my strategy?” and “what impact will this have on my business, partners and customers?”. Without a clear understanding of the long-term impacts of Coronavirus on society and specifically the economy, many leaders are unable to project far into the future business planning. Not only does this impact budgetary planning for capital and operating expenses, it changes how leaders look to growth, partnerships, supply chains, business improvements and customer experience initiatives.

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Managing a virtual workforce? Employees want to know your expectations

Managing a virtual workforce


By Madison Hanscom, PhD

When it comes to doing the job well, people need to know what is expected of them. Ambiguity can be a very stressful experience, and a great deal of individuals are in a working situation where they would like to know precisely what they should do to be considered a high performer. Unfortunately, for those working in remote positions, this is particularly difficult.
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Fires and other natural disasters – are you prepared?

Fires and other natural disasters – are you prepared


By Madison Hanscom, PhD

When it comes to natural disasters, companies with mature safety cultures have robust emergency preparedness plans that are specific to every scenario imaginable. These plans are accompanied by all the resources needed to carry out the action (e.g., training, practice drills, water supply, shelters, power supply).
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How Are Your Safety Systems? A Short Quiz

How Are Your Safety Systems


By Josh Williams, Ph.D.

One of the most important aspects of safety leadership is providing effective safety management systems and a safe work environment. Employees are more likely to be injured if the organization has safety management system failures such as inadequate manpower, unreasonable production pressure, excessive overtime, faulty equipment, insufficient safety training, unclear safety policies, non-existent safety meetings, poor safety communication, and blame-oriented discipline procedures. Leaders improve safety culture by optimizing these key safety management systems:
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Work from home experiences: Findings from a multinational survey

Work from home experiences



By Madison Hanscom, PhD


Covid-19 has contributed to a larger number of individuals working from home than ever before. Researchers at the Technical University of Denmark were interested in the experiences of individuals working from home across several European countries. They surveyed over 4,640 employees (mainly knowledge workers and managers) between March and May of 2020. The authors are still analyzing the large amounts of data that were collected, but initial findings were shared. Interesting results included:
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Do your employees have variety in their work tasks?

employees have variety in their work tasks

By Madison Hanscom, PhD

Let’s say you are about to start your workday. Imagine two scenarios:
• A day in which you will be doing the same task repeatedly for 8 hours
• A day in which you will rotate between a variety of tasks for 8 hours

Which would you prefer? Although it feels great to get really good at a particular task, over time this can take a toll on motivation. Research has shown that individuals with variety in their work tasks are more satisfied with their jobs (1). Repetitive tasks with little variation can also contribute to complacency and attentional issues, which can be detrimental to safety.
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What are the main causes of burnout?

What are the main causes of burnout


By Madison Hanscom, PhD

Burnout is deep and pervasive. It is marked by emotional exhaustion, physical fatigue, cynicism towards others, and depleted mental resources (1).

The main causes: The five factors that were most strongly related to burnout (as indicated by a survey of nearly 7,500 full time employees) are unfair treatment at work, unmanageable workload, lack of role clarity, lack of communication and support from the management, and unreasonable time pressure (2). There is something these burnout correlates have in common — they are issues with the workplace, not the person. Although teaching employees strategies to deal with these burnout factors can be valuable (e.g., meditation, resilience), it is not addressing the root cause. It is up to management to fix the system and culture in order to make deep, meaningful change happen.
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You have solid planning and procedures. Does that mean your safety culture change efforts will be successful?

Does that mean your safety culture change efforts will be successful


By Madison Hanscom and Brie DeLisi

When it comes to occupational safety, planning and procedures are incredibly important. They may be a legal requirement in some respects, and they also provide a guideline for the workforce to be aligned on mission, goals, and activities.
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Does virtual training work?

Does virtual training work


By Madison Hanscom, PhD

Virtual training is becoming more and more common, which begs the question: does it work?
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Beware the Lost Customer

Beware the Lost Customer



By Dale Lawrence

Operational leaders, over the past five months of COVID-19, have mostly focused on managing costs, making decisions on difficult layoffs and furloughs while trying to convince their customers to purchase goods and services. This has been a balancing act, but the customer likely has taken a back seat to the other operational needs. In a number of areas, the customer’s experience has been forgotten.
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Employee Well-being and Flex Work: Research Findings

Employee Well-being and Flex Work


By Madison Hanscom, PhD

Virtual work is becoming a part of everyday life for many individuals. What does the research have to say about how it impacts our well-being? Working from home is associated with…

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Organizational Learning and Occupational Safety

Organizational Learning


By Madison Hanscom, PhD

The world is changing, and it is vital to prioritize organizational learning both during times of adjustment and during sustainment periods. Exemplar knowledge sharing and learning are critical components in leading a successful business, and it is also a determinant in leading a safe one.
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What is the best way to handle unsafe behavior?

What is the best way to handle unsafe behavior

By Brie DeLisi

“Hey! what the $@&* do you think you’re doing?!” or perhaps someone just sneaks a picture of an unsafe behavior and reports it through the official reporting chain. How we handle unsafe behavior directly reflects where the safety culture is from a maturity perspective. So, what are the different ways that organizations can handle unsafe behavior and what does that mean for the culture?
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Flex Work and Loneliness: What Can We Do?

Flex Work and Loneliness What Can We Do?


By Madison Hanscom, PhD

Working from home can be a positive opportunity for many individuals. It might come with a shorter commute, less interruptions, more productive work time, and less stress. Despite the huge number of employees who are enjoying working from home, a dark side to flex work for some can be the aspect of loneliness.
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Cost Reduction – Supply Chain

Cost Reduction – Supply Chain

By Eric Johnson

Supply chain is an area where substantial savings can be captured due to the many impacts on production and operations. However, some management teams tend to shy away from large scale projects, only employing them when something breaks or sometimes when it's too late. A key approach here is to be proactive, and start when the first issues appear, which will allow a longer time frame to enact change.
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Cost Analysis – Operations

Cost Analysis – Operations

By Eric Johnson

As we think through cost analysis opportunities, whether during times of crisis or during routine analysis, a key focal point is reducing extraneous costs to the business while maintaining the tools, processes, and skill sets that provide the value proposition to the customer.
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Setting the Right G.O.A.L.S. for Safety

Setting the Right GOALS for Safety


By Josh Williams, Ph. D.

Leaders need to make sure they set intelligence safety goals to improve performance and prevent SIFs. Proper goal setting helps field leaders and employees understand the value of a unified greater purpose. They also set objective, actionable behaviors which should be integrated into daily activities. Research demonstrates that there is a statistically significant reduction in injuries when leaders effectively articulate a compelling vision and inspire employees to work towards goals that meet that mission (Hoffmeister et al., 2014). Also, a 10% improvement in employee’s understanding of organizational values and goals results in a 12.7% reduction in safety incidents (Gallup, 2017). The G.O.A.L.S. acronym is a helpful heuristic to set smart safety goals for the organization. Safety goals should have these elements:
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Reducing Organizational Footprints

Reducing Organizational Footprints


By Eric Johnson

The tidal wave of working from home experiences may ultimately push many organizations to permanently establish work from home capabilities even after the Covid crisis has ended. Some organizations will push for a majority of their employees to stay home fully, while others may require in office work periodically for everyone, possibly on a weekly or staggering scale, e.g. alphabetically by day or by specific business unit based on strategic need. Considering the above, organizations have a tremendous opportunity to extract expenses and improve both the balance sheet and P&L through the strategic planning of facilities.
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Cost Analysis and the Organization

Cost Analysis and the Organization

By Eric Johnson

Every organization engages in constant analysis of the business and the reduction in costs is no exception. Obviously during the pandemic everyone is making sure to account to the last penny where they can save and pull costs out of the business. Even during good times, responsible stewards are always on the hunt to see where they can create efficiencies and do more with less.

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Flex Work – 2022?

Flex Work – 2022



By Eric Johnson

Further into the future as the pandemic has waned for some time, idea of flex work as a normal aspect of business operations may become permanent as organizations grow accustomed to the cost savings and flexibility offered to workers. With several considerations, organizations can plan around the culture shift and assist employees by creating purposeful guidelines and norms for the future.

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Rethinking the Workspace

rethinking the workspace

By Dale Lawrence

As we slowly step out into the world, still mindful of Coronavirus, we need to consider that for the next 12-18 months (or much longer) our concept of daily commuting to an office, sitting at a desk, attending meetings in boardrooms and commuting back home has changed and may never return to how it was previously. While the natural reaction of most companies is to call their employees back to work, employers should be asking asking important questions: Why? Is it really safe? Are we bringing workers to the office because we want to see the employees together? Is it because we yearn for normal? Do we need to portray confidence? Or are we bringing them back because we have the physical space? None of these reasons would be wrong. It is critical to capture the business needs; however, self-reflection may open some new opportunities.
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How to reduce customer anxiety in car sales

contactless car sales

By Julia Borges

Purchasing a vehicle is always a big deal. From deciding between various vehicle options to filling out all necessary paperwork, it can certainly cause a fair amount of anxiety for customers. Financing or leasing a car has always been viewed as a long, tedious process with many steps that will most likely keep customers there for the majority of their day – and in some cases, can even take multiple days.

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Managing Justice Perceptions When Flex Work Causes Interpersonal Conflict

Managing Justice Perceptions When Flex Work


By Madison Hanscom, Ph.D.

Whether it is full time or part of the time, more people are working from home than ever. Although it is becoming clear that many individuals enjoy working virtually, tensions can build between different groups of employees who work onsite as residents, those who work flexibly between the office and home, and those who work entirely from home.
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Leadership Considerations for a Successful Flex Work Model

Leadership Considerations for a Successful Flex Work


By Madison Hanscom, Ph.D.

Researchers who study telework argue that successful virtual teams are determined more by successful or unsuccessful leadership rather than other factors such as technology (1). Poor leadership is poor leadership. If you take a substandard leader and move them into a flex work environment - they won’t do any better. There are foundational leadership competencies that help all teams succeed - whether the team is in an office or working remotely. These include leading with a big picture goal and supporting the company’s vision, building interpersonal connections and collaboration, walking the talk, demonstrating ethics and integrity, managing change, creating a safe space for people to speak up and innovate, and more.

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Will Flex Work Change My Culture?

Will Flex Work Change My Culture


By Madison Hanscom, Ph.D.

As many businesses are considering (or have already decided) moving some employees to a permanent telework model after the COVID-19 outbreak, the question comes up often —
What does this mean for the culture? A company’s culture is composed of the beliefs, assumptions, norms, and core values that the members hold (Schein, 1985). The people are your culture - so any major change in how people work within your company has the potential to change the culture - for better or for worse.

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Is My Culture Supportive of Flex Work?

Is My Culture Supportive of Flex Work

By Madison Hanscom, PhD

Introducing telework into a culture that does not support flexible work arrangements can set up a business for failure. It is important to deeply consider culture before, during, and after changes to the company that involve employees working from home. If the attitude is that telework is not going to succeed - it will not. A company’s culture is composed of the beliefs, assumptions, norms, and core values that the members hold (1). Norms and assumptions run deep, and they are all around (staying at your desk late to symbolize commitment to the boss, how long to take a coffee break, the clothes you wear to the office, how you talk to your team vs. your leader, what is frowned upon, and so on). Clearly these everyday practices and assumptions will be disturbed by integrating a major new component into work.

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Rethinking the Tight Grip: A Flex Work Tip for Leaders

flex work tip for leaders



By Madison Hanscom, PhD

If you are accustomed to a leadership style that involves close monitoring to feel in control of what employees are doing daily, this will be a point of consideration when employees transitioning to more flexible telecommuting model. Previously, you might have conducted “walk-arounds” to observe work onsite. With a flexible work environment, this will not be as possible.
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What’s in it for the workers? Benefits of Flex Work

flex work and what is in it for workers



By Madison Hanscom, PhD


In previous blogs we have discussed the benefits companies can experience from Flex Work arrangements (1). Because flexible work requires less commuting and office space, this also has positive implications for the environment. This is because there is an associated reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (2). There are clear benefits to businesses and the environment, but how about individuals? Although some individuals experience negative components of remote work, such as loneliness (see our blog post on common challenges associated with Flex Work, 3), there are many positive outcomes employees can enjoy from Flex Work.
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Flex Work from an Accounting and Finance Perspective

Flex work financial benefits


By Eric Johnson

As the pandemic further pushes the work environment into remote and off-site arrangements, we are beginning to see conversations regarding the future of work, and what remote working would encompass over the course of a longer period of time. Many organizations already have telecommuting options to reduce employees’ exposure to long commute times, approaching this type of arrangement as a perk of employment.
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Returning to a Safe and Healthy Office Work Environment Blog Series: The New Normal

Ferris wheel


By Brie DeLisi

Have the last few months felt like a rollercoaster? It is time for us to embrace the new normal, in which nothing is ‘normal’ anymore. This blog series will explore options for returning to the office (or not), what the new workplace might look like, and how to best prepare for what might be a long period of uncertainty.




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Concerned About Flex Work?

Concerned About Flex Work

By Madison Hanscom, Ph.D.


There is evidence to suggest that Flex Work can be a very successful model. Whether working entirely remote from home or in a flex arrangement between the office and home, this can have positive implications for the bottom line (see:
The Financial Benefits of Having a Flex Work Environment) and for the individual.
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Strategies for Workers, From Workers: Creating a Successful Flex Work Experience

Strategies for Workers

By Madison Hanscom, Ph.D.

The nature of work is changing to be more flexible, and it is becoming more essential to understand the best ways to work remotely. In a research study examining practices utilized by high performing teleworkers (1), strategies were identified that help workers overcome common barriers associated with remote work. These include:
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The Financial Benefits of Having a Flex Work Environment

Reduced office capacity


By Dale Lawrence

There is ample evidence that most organizations see productivity gains when their workers are able to work in a flexible environment, whether entirely based in their home-office or flex between the office and their home. This doesn’t mean everything is rosy and the recent and sudden movement home during the pandemic saw many workers having to share workspace with their families. This wasn’t ideal but necessary. However, now that most businesses are beginning their journey to work in the new normal, it is time to evaluate one aspect that can provide real savings for your business. Flex Work as a permanent work style. There is data to prove it.
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Rapidly Evaluate Your Customer Experience During the Massive Business Disruption

rapid assessment of your business


By Dale Lawrence

Many organizations have been forced to increase their logistics to keep up with the sudden increase to online customer orders. Self-isolation during COVID-19 has caused significant problems for the economy. Businesses were not ready.

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Harmonize your team just like an Orchestra

orchestra


By Kyounghee Choi

Have you ever imagined that an Orchestra is just like an Organization? Orchestras are a great place to explore lessons in leadership. Read More...

RIP Paul O’Neill: Safety Champion

Paul O’Neill

By Josh Williams, Ph.D.

The world lost a great safety champion last week in former Treasury Secretary and Alcoa Chairman and CEO Paul O’Neill. O’Neill was a fierce advocate of employee safety and took big risks (and won!) going “all in” on injury prevention. He took the bold step of saying there were no budget constraints for safety at Alcoa, even if that meant lost revenue and an unhappy Board of Directors.
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COVID-19: Rapidly innovate & create opportunities

Rapidly-innovate-create-opportunities


By KyoungHee Choi

Let’s face it. Most entrepreneurs are struggling amid this COVID-19 pandemic shutdown. The longer it continues, the more business will be crippled by the crisis and might not be able to recover. We are facing an unprecedented storm. Everyone is faced with incredible uncertainty.

While businesses are rapidly adjusting their business plans, and working to quickly adapt to a new reality, it becomes critically important to focus on defensive moves that will maintain cash flow and long-term relationships with clients.
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Blog Series: Before the Transformation, Enough or Too Much Information?

performance

By Dale Lawrence

The traditional model for transformation projects is to plan, build the business case, go through financial gates, estimate benefits, project plan, go through more approvals, stakeholder analysis, more approvals, assemble the team, launch project, seek more funding, start strong but then things start happening. Delays, impacts to areas of the business that were not expected, funding issues, more delays, resistance is building, watch out! Many major projects start with different project team members than they end with because the project takes too long. The perception is the business world moves fast but your business moves too slow. In reality most businesses are exactly the same.
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Recessions and Safety


recession and safety



By Eric Johnson

One of the biggest challenges to developing a robust safety culture we find is built around the value of safety. Unless you are Apple, corporate resources are often quite limited and have competing interests tugging at them, all while trying to demonstrate the best return on equity. Those projects/processes/activities that are best quantifiable are often the first to receive the benefit of resources. Read More...

The Front-line connection – leveraging the front-line in execution excellence

search-for-service


By Eric Johnson

The front-line of many organizations is often the first segment of interaction of the company to its customers. In a past post, we have discussed the importance of customer care. In this post, we discuss empowering employees to make the decisions that align with the organization while increasing their own satisfaction with their roles and ability to achieve their career objectives. Read More...

Building a Culture in Small to Midsize Businesses (SMBs)


culture_Fotor

By Julia Borges & Kelly Cave

What is organizational culture?

Many may know the term ‘culture’ as a word that describes the behavior, thoughts, feelings, and traditions of a group of a group of people or society (1). However, in organizational change and development, its definition means something slightly different. Culture, in the context of organizations, refers to the shared norms, beliefs, and attitudes that exist among the employees of the organization (2). For example, Southwest Airlines is famous for their friendly and helpful customer-oriented culture. At Southwest, employees are empowered to go the extra mile to make customers happy, which in turn leads to more employee buy-in of the common goal centered around excellence in customer-service. Organizational culture can manifest in various ways that either accelerate or decelerate organizational performance (3). The topic of organizational culture has become an increasingly popular area of focus, both in the management consulting industry and academia. This increasing popularity has resulted in the creation of management consulting firms who specialize solely in the transformation of organizational culture. Additionally, there are certifications, academic courses, and specializations dedicated to learning about organizational culture.
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In Praise of Tactical Patience

Tactical Patience Blog Post



There’s an old aphorism that is apocryphally attributed to Abraham Lincoln, which deals with the subject of cutting down a tree. ‘Give me six hours to chop down a tree,’ the saying goes, ‘and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.’ Various other versions of the saying exist, changing the times involved, but all with the same central thesis: use the majority of the time allotted to prepare for the task. Read More...

Transforming, Innovating, Growing: The case for leaders with diversified careers

transforming

By Eric Michrowski


HBR recently published a study on Transformational Leaders . One of the conclusions that caught my eye was that most of the leaders that had successfully transformed an industry or business had very diverse backgrounds (think Amazon's Bezos who came from a Finance background). They mention the importance of leaders that come with outside experience and that are brought into a business to drive change. Read More...

Four Vital Lessons Joe Dirt Surprisingly Teaches us about Strategy

Joe Dirt




In 2001, David Spade’s magnum opus ‘Joe Dirt’ was released, to critical fanfare (11% at Rotten Tomatoes) and commercial success ($27M in domestic gross). A coming of age tale about the eponymous antihero (played by Spade), the film tells the story of a young man whose parents had a mullet wig surgically grafted to his head because his skull failed to completely form, before leaving him behind at the Grand Canyon at the tender age of only eight years old. Joe would go on to grow up in a plethora of foster homes, each with a series of misadventures more imposing than the last, before leaving the love of his life to try to find his parents, eventually ending up in a janitorial job at a Los Angeles radio station, where his tragic story became fodder for a morning show disc jockey. Joe eventually finds his parents, discovering their abhorrent and crass commercialism and rejecting them for the friends he discovered during the course of his search and recapturing his lost love. Read More...

Three Lessons about Leadership from the Seattle Seahawks Locker Room

Seahawks




In the June 12th issue of ESPN The Magazine, Seth Wickersham published an outstanding story about four-time Pro Bowl defensive back Richard Sherman and his struggles to move past the Seahawks’ inability to close out a win over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX, the most-watched television program in American history. Read More...

Four Myths about Process Improvement…and One Truth You’ve Never Thought About

Four Myths



For years, organizations have pursued process improvement to proactively identify opportunities for cost reduction, quality enhancement, elevated productivity, and to achieve new standards. The industry of process improvement has exploded in size and scope, and has brought with it scores of buzzwords, methodologies, certifications, and associated requirements. Here are four myths that have hitched along for the ride…and one truth that hasn’t, but should have. Read More...