When is LO inappropriate? LO13894

Richard C. Holloway (olypolys@nwrain.com)
Sun, 08 Jun 1997 23:38:42 -0700

Replying to LO13856 --

Debbie Broome wrote:

> Replying to general discussion summarized by:
> >I sense in this discussion a tendency to equate "service" jobs with
> >MacDonalds and Taco making. The implication being that "real" jobs are
> >about technology and production.
> I've been out of touch for a bit and read this thread with interest
> because many of us in the local government sector very much consider
> ourselves the service industry.


I suspect that most people nowadays are in service industries, despite
what they call themselves. I appreciated your quandry with the issues
of taking customer-service workers out from their front-desk or
telephone and into the classroom for training. That's the same concern
we had with my little business department in a medium-sized nonprofit
agency. I'd been training four hours monthly with the team coaches, and
not been too successful getting the personal mastery skills trained on
the four teams. I set up two four-hour trainings for the other twenty
staff. These trainings were difficult to set up because of the loss of
time from the job. We managed to pull it off, though, and the trainings
were well-received.

Each team has set up some time together to work on skills development,
but it's still not satisfactory. I offered to conduct a Personal
Mastery workshop, monthly, after work. A third of the team is attending
regularly, and we're getting a few attendees from the general community
who heard about it. The workshop seems to be helping in the workplace,
and the skills we work on get used and influence others in the office.

After a year of working on personal mastery skills, the team of coaches
(I call a cadre) is beginning work on the 5th Discipline to develop
systems thinking skills.

Finally, when we began using performance agreements about a year ago,
one of the performance objectives was to meet customers' needs. The
underlying principle was to "treat customers the same way I want to be
treated when I'm the customer." The benchmark relies on each team
member surveying her or his internal customers; while the company
surveys external customers. We've noticed a dramatic increase in
customer satisfaction with the business department. Some of that
increase, no doubt, is due to the fact that they are being asked.
That's a significant change.

I'm convinced that many service workers are interested in
self-management, learning, and will enhance an organization's customer
services if they are given opportunities to learn and grow.


Richard C. "Doc" Holloway, Limen Development Network - olypolys@nwrain.com

"I have come to understand organizational vision as a field-a force of unseen connections that influences employees' behavior-rather than as an evocative message about some desired future state."

-Margaret Wheatley

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <rkarash@karash.com> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>