Kotter - OU

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ITLPviii Main Page > Group Kotter > Kotter - OU

Played by Ashish

3. Controlling activities and solving problems versus motivating and inspiring.

The Problem

OU IT is growing at a very fast pace. Nearly every school or administrative department that we forge partnerships with require a unique set of IT solutions (migrating to our email system, managing their in-house website or database, varying security policies, etc). Due to these differences, our ability to provide consistent customer service is a growing challenge. Customers get frustrated with slow response times and repeat visits for the same problem.

(additional comments that elaborate on the problem)

- Customer service is managed by two broad units – Acquisition and Partnerships that forges new relations with customers, and Customer Support (Call center, field techs, etc) who actually provide the day-to-day services and support

- Rapid expansion where the teams that actually provide the support are often finding themselves always “catching up”

- Our best foot forward may either be too forward or just too good. First impression is probably too impressive (best of the best resources are allocated during the initial migration after which the normal Customer Support unit takes over). This could lead to expectations that may not represent reality. So when the Customer Support teams take over, the lack of personalized attention would result in a reduced quality of service.

Managerial Approach

Surely there's success in numbers! So we beef up the teams that provide customer support. Unfortunately, it's still 20% of the people doing 80% of the work. Most people don't feel motivated because once they learn the unique service specific to the customer, they're "stuck" with this responsibility through the rest of their career.

(additional comments regarding the current managerial solution):

- Increase staffing

- Set up tangible processes that help “track number of cases solved”

- Micro-manage to ensure team leads are aware of the status of every issue

- Over-correct the situation by appeasing the customer to solve an immediate problem at hand

Leaderful Approach (Kotter and Raelin)

The secret to success is to keep no secrets! Individuals at every level of the organization's hierarchy should be accessible and approachable. The teams should be transparent and make sure everyone's trained up on how to provide the services. Individuals should be rewarded for their willingness to learn rather than punished by making them the permanent "go-to" people. A collaborative environment where there's extensive communication within, and across, teams would go a long way in pushing towards the goal of providing better customer service.

Teams leads should encourage members to voluntarily take ownership of projects as it would make them more likely to succeed. Basically, allow people to develop in an environment that fosters growth.