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On this particular job site, each member of the team has a job to do. Each morning assignments are given. As each task is completed, the next task is assigned. The leader of this team must plan out each day, and give out the next part of the plan as every individual task is completed.

This approach has been in place for a while. Let’s call it the “wait until you complete this task before you get the next one approach” for lack of a better, more concise term.

To makes things even more interesting, certain members of the team became better at particular tasks. As the assignments were issued, those who were better at certain tasks were always assigned those tasks.

This system has revealed a few issues.

  1. Members of the team have developed skills, but a very narrow set of skills. They can do certain parts of the work, but not all of it. When someone is out or busy, work can come to a halt.
  2. Projects have become more complex. The work accomplished on day one has to connect to someone else’s work the next day, and it wasn’t matching up. There was a lot of doing work, then going back to fix it the next day.

Once identified, the leader came up with a better plan.

Streams. That is what we need.”

I paused to wait for the explanation.

Streams. A continual flow from the start to the finish on these various projects. I realize that by just assigning tasks, individual parts were completed, but there was no connection into the larger project as a whole. No real understanding of how these part fit together. No ownership of the whole.”

I paused again.

Streams. I could map out the beginning and the end, and let them flow through the entire part or project. I bet they would be happier. I recently heard some grumbling because when parts don’t fit together they have to redo work. I bet this will help them develop more well rounded skills . I have to go create these Streams.

Where have you assigned tasks instead of Streams? How could creating a flow of work from the start to finish increase satisfaction, performance, and connection to the whole?

Let’s try giving members of the team Streams instead of tasks and watch them develop and flow from the beginning to the end.

Service Shifts

Customers are all around us.

They are both internal and external, and have needs, questions, and requests.

Sometimes we become hardened towards them.

But not always.

Sometimes we simply fall into a routine.

They have a need, we meet it.

They have a question, we answer it.

They have a request, we follow-up on it.

Routines are not bad, they are routine.

Some routines need to be disrupted by Service Shifts.

Service Shifts are when you realize that you can provide more, and meet a need that is greater than you originally expected.

Service Shifts make you pause and ask yourself a few questions.

“Is there a greater need beyond this specific request?”

“Who else needs to know this answer I am about to send this customer, client, or team member?”

“Does this really answer their specific question, or do they need a little background?”

“What else should I be providing?”

Service Shifts happen when you discover greater needs and provide deeper solutions.

Service Shifts happen when you inform others so everyone involved understands the situation.

Service Shifts happen when you create value by building relationships above routines.

Service Shifts happen when you create trust as customers see you and your operation as a partner.

How will your Service Shifts make a difference?