Sometimes It’s Better To Be A Role Player

I've been thinking a lot recently about role players. When you think about it, these folks are very crucial to any REAL team. You know what I mean, a group of people who know the goals are bigger than the individual desires of each team member. Well, I digress, the role players are crucial. Most significant victories would never happen without them.

There is a certain implication that comes with being a role player, namely you must be willing to be in the background or behind the scenes. Humility is the implied character trait here. This is difficult. Our culture (business, media, church, and maybe even family) doesn't laud humility. So it can lead you to wonder where's the spotlight on your achievements. Maybe you don't need the limelight. Maybe the limelight is overrated.

You need to evaluate hard what the coaching staff looks like in your organization. If it's weak, then time to reconsider. Effective organizations know the importance and live out the importance of strong coaching. They know that the best coaches know how to get the best out of each player. The best coaches take the time to understand each individual and then find the place where they can excel. Again, the application applies to multiple places in life. So whether you're a reserve guard for a team in the Sweet Sixteen or a business analyst in a Fortune 500 firm, you've got to have a coach that knows you and you have to have the humility accept not a lot of lime light if your best suited to be a role player.

We all need to find that place where we're satisfied with our role. Even if it's the role of a role player.

How Perception Can Lead To Reality

The above is a speech from Rory Sutherland.  He gives some veiled (pay close attention)advice on how to take what you are and do to a new level.

Have you thought about the implications of how you or your service/products are perceived today?  Have you asked anyone (customer, employee, vendor)?

The speech is about 20 minutes in length, but it will feel like 10.  The quote from G.K. Chesterton is powerful too.

Hidden Costs

One thing that drove me crazy when I was paying for my sins in corporate America was all of the hidden costs inside the organization.  As a corporate manager I was always asked to cut expenses.  However, I was rarely asked to look at those hidden costs.  The costs that were silent killers.  For example:

  • Meetings.  Need I say more?
  • Training events that were the equivalent of a U2 concert.  Entertainment versus learning here.  Feels good in the moment, but forgotten when it counts.
  • Employees and their organizations who don't fully understand the difference between time and results.
  • Outdated policies and procedures written 20 years ago that are as relevant as a powder blue tuxedo.
  • Hiring practices that are driven by HR.  The hiring of talent is not a legal process.

If your organization really wants to be efficient and lean, then take a look at the hidden costs. It could lead to a new curve.  Failure to look always leads to atrophy.  And as we know atrophy lives next door to extinction.

How Social Media Can Save Customer Service Training

Was doing some research for a friend/client on customer service training materials this week.  I decided to use Twitter (my top choice for social media portals) as a tool to do some research on the matter.  A simple search on the term "customer service training" is all it took to create a hmmm moment.  And though my research was not very scientific, it did reveal some things I knew instinctively.

First, customer service is a very popular discipline for a number of companies/consultants.  Must mean that bad customer service is more the norm than the exception.  I agree with that on its face.

Second, I don't think the customers (organizations) of the customer service training product are fully aware of what's going on inside their own walls. 

Here's what brought me to the above conclusions:

  1. My typed search "customer service training" revealed that for every two consultants offering training, there were an equal number of employees who were referring to customer service training as a boring event, a cure for insomnia, or a pain in the rear.  Again, this wasn't a scientific result, but it seems that many employees are nodding yes, but thinking and feeling no.
  2. Employees, especially those in larger entities, feel like their targets for cost cutting and lay-offs.  Creates a jaded, if not callused view of things.  Wonder how these folks treat customers who have legitimate needs/issues?
  3. Why the disconnect?  Leadership.  Some managers may think they're leading well, but have yet to look behind them to find no one following.
  4. Fixing conclusion #3 creates a bridge for change.
  5. Employers are missing out on the power of social media.  See this article for more on that.  But I'm speaking of finding out what's REALLY going on with the employee base.  Might save them some money and go a long way in reinventing how they serve-employees and customers.