If you have a receptionist at your organization, you should give them a call just like you were a customer.
As you interact with them, ask yourself how they represent your company and brand.
A while back, I called an acquaintance at their work to check in on them. They were having some private issues not disclosed to the public, and I wanted to see how they were doing.
The woman who answered the phone was very abrupt and gruff in her tone:
“Hi, who is this?” I informed her who I was.
“What company are you from?!” As it was a personal call, I told her I wasn’t representing anyone.
“Who are you looking for?!” I told her in a calming manner.
“What is this regarding?!” I let her know it was a private matter.
“I need to know what this is regarding.” I repeated myself and in an even calmer tone.
“Sir, I need you to tell me what this is regarding!” I informed her it was a private matter and the individual I was calling would know why.
She then promptly said “Well I need to know why you’re calling, but will try to give him the message,” and promptly hung up.
Whether this person sees herself as the gatekeeper to those in the office, the way she reflected the company would have had me go elsewhere for my needs if I was a potential customer.
If your receptionist, whoever he or she is, does not exude a pleasantness that personifies their brand, they should be retrained, or most likely let go.
And that goes for your automated phone tree as well. Many times companies that claim to have superior customer service fail in this regard when the phone options don’t create a positive customer experience.
Brands can be hurt when the wrong people touch the most customers.Tweet
Back in 2011, an article in The Wall Street Journal talked about achieving a level called “work-work balance”.
The writer laid out the possibility of a proper balance in the workplace to allow for innovation, thereby achieving the harmony of “main work duties with more experimental side projects”.
However, I believe there should be a different application to the term “work-work balance”. That is:
How does an organization achieve harmony and equilibrium in the ability to have the right mix of strategy and initiatives versus the actual work needing to be done and people there are do accomplish it?Tweet
That goal is a constant daily struggle for employees as well as leaders in any company, yet it needs to be thought of and worked into strategic planning and culture.
When the work-work balance is off, companies either overwork their people which leads to job hacks and eventually disengagement, or stay stagnant and their people’s skills deteriorate through lack of stretching or utilization of their talents.
A proper equilibrium in the work-work cycle is having the right strategic plan in place through the current workforce to enable the company and everyone in it to stretch and grow. And when the initiatives get 1 or 2 steps ahead or behind, then the culture of the organization should kick into action to either lay off the speed, or augment the current workforce and workflow, or push some of the secondary plans ahead that weren’t mission critical at the time.
Companies that get too far ahead of themselves become “top heavy” with pushing ahead and will eventually soon stumble. Those that find their pace has slowed down will find it harder to maintain speed and agility, and their employees will usually be a step behind that pace as well.
Leaders should thoughtfully observe their work-work harmony both in the long-term planning and the short-term tasks that run the organization. Balance might not be constantly attained, but the ability to step it up or lay it back when needed is crucial for keeping as consistent a momentum in your goals and mission.
What are some ways you can help your organization achieve a “work-work balance”?Tweet
In Michael Lee Stallard’s book “Connection Culture“, he alludes to three types of organizational culture.
Those cultures are: control, indifference and connection. Here’s my thoughts on each one:
Control based cultures are where the demand for task excellence is preeminent. Micromanaging at any scale persists. And the fear of reprimand, performance improvement plans, demotion or job loss exists in perpetuity. People are not valued in these companies, but rather commoditized.
Cultures of indifference are where the voice of the employee is disregarded. Open door policies are mere semantics, or great for attracting angel investors money into the company. Employee concerns are countered with directives to figure it out or work harder. Changes are not made from the voice of those who don’t have the degree or level of knowledge to offer any valuable input.
Connected cultures are different. These companies ascribe not only a high value on their people (for real and not for show) but also allow their voice to be heard, and a part of the process. But even more, a connected culture shares a strong vision with all employees. It’s not sufficient to be first in a market, to merely win, but to have a strong enough shared vision that enriches both monetarily and communally with everyone as to what the impact of the organization will have for the improvement of all involved, customer, leadership, employees and community.
Connected cultures serve the vision, value and voice of their people first, knowing that the investment in created connected individuals and teams far surpasses any task excellence and superior performance metrics.
The demand for high performance only lasts as long as the motivational fear can carry the spirit of their people. But the organization that has a deep connection culture will always persist and find success in the best and worst of times. Connected people are statistically more committed and productive versus those people in companies that are driven to be committed and productive.
Are you fostering a culture of control, indifference or connection? The choice is up to you. As well as the results from that culture as well.