Monthly Archives: September 2011

Operational Efficiency is Your Personal Signature on The Branding Canvas !!

From the Crucibles of JPS Customer Value Academy 

                                       Just Plain & Simple         

                                      ….. Helping Create Customer Value

Indian Optician, May-June, 2011

Identify with excellence, put your name on your work, and both your work and your name
will stand the test of time. ~ Dr. Denis Waitley

I have a habit of maintaining a ‘to do’ list in my diary. It helps me stay on top of my activities, not forgetting things. More than anything else, I do not have to strain myself and my mind remembering various things. Hence, my mind stays relatively calm, less stressed and more peaceful than what it would probably have been without such a habit ….. a meditative experience of emptying the mind !!

I don’t remember when this habit started, but it has been with me as long as I can remember, through my student days and through my various jobs. Apart from not having to remember things, it has helped me in follow ups and to improve operational efficiency tremendously. I cannot even think of having to work without my diary and that too, nothing less than ‘a page a day’ variety. I have retained it even in this age of laptops and handheld gizmos, as I find it very practical and convenient and always at hand, not having to open and spread it and charge it and distract everyone in meetings. Moreover, the pleasure of writing down a point and then ‘ticking’ it off when done, gives joy and satisfaction of its own kind, unmatched by any feat.

Infact, so strong has been the impact of this on my ability for follow ups and operational efficiency, that many of my colleagues have jokingly confided on scheming to ‘steal’ my diary !! Over the years I have developed the skill to monitor a personal and professional daily activity list and plan all my schedules and calendars with this one single process ….. Just Plain and Simple !!

A few days back, while going through my daily activities list during the day, it struck me how, a lot of the things I was following up/getting through that day, were actually reminders to various organisations and people, to whom I was a customer !! Should I be doing the follow up or should they be chasing me ? Was I actually operating like a secretary to them ? But really speaking, why couldn’t they maintain a ‘to do’ discipline and improve their operational efficiency, hence delighting me as a customer !? ….. Just Plain and Simple, I thought …..

Let me share some of the things I had on one sample day on my diary page and you will get an idea :

  • We had planned to book a ‘whole’ resort for a workshop that we had to conduct two months later ….. I had to send a reminder to/follow up with the owner/manager, who had been committing for a week that he will send a proposal for the rates ….. soon.
  • Our grocery supplier who had missed sending one item from our monthly shopping list ….. and we were now to remind him
  • My bank which had to send a statement of an investment that I had taken a few weeks back
  • My optical store which had romised to deliver my new specs the previous day.
  • To check with my CA, who had promised to revert to me with certain clarifications I had sought regarding my tax liability
  • A real estate developer who had taken the ‘booking’ amount but had been promising to revert to me with options of flat numbers available
  • A sanitaryware supplier, to whom I had paid the full amount for sanitary fittings for a new floor that I was getting constructed ….. half the items were pending delivery for two weeks from the promised dates.

Yes, all these are some of the entries from a page of my diary for ONE, yes, ONE day !!

Why are these people unable to complete and finish these simple tasks? What holds them back? I am sure everyone thinks that these are quite plain, ordinary and routine tasks ….. surprise ? But true. It really struck me that day, as to how insensitive people can become and that too to a customer (if you run through all the above incidents, you will notice that I am a customer to all the players mentioned). If that was the case with a customer, I shudder to think what would have been happening to their other stakeholders …..

Also, none of these is a big enterprise or a government department to put the blame on red tape, bureaucracy or rigid processes ….. most of them would be under a small to medium enterprise range ….. capable of speed and efficiency and agility !! What stopped them from getting stuck and not being able to use one of the biggest advantages of ‘not being big’ i.e. agility and absence of sluggish, scale led inertia ….. as long as it is available ??

Various reasons abound. But fundamentally, there has to be an experiential realization. No amount of preaching and pedagogy work as these seem to be common issues which everyone should be knowing and I am sure each manager would agree that he/she has broken their heads highlighting the significance of such a discipline. Why doesn’t it happen still ? The experiential journey has to lead through stages of awakening, realisation, internalisation, motivation and action, otherwise the desired behavior is never seen !!

But all hope is not lost. There is this pharmacy chain where the processes (or maybe the counter boy’s inititiative) are so well laid out, that everytime I call or order medicines or vitamins for our family, the counter boy knows the back ground, asks which of the regular medicines I want to order, confirms what all is available, gives a time for delivery and ensures that it is done at that time. In the rare case of an error, there is a prompt apology and immediate corrective action.

The best way is to follow an approach that balances the right and left brain impulses and at each stage, connecting through process design, feelings, pleasure, creativity and meaning ….. to ensure a high level of acceptance by the team and hence having a multiplicative and lasting impact that is self sustaining and self regenerating !!

The process discipline, appreciation and habit has to get into the genetic code of the organization ….. Brand Equity is built, not just by a good poster and/or an ad, but is the ‘effect’ of a holistic experience of ALL the touch points of a brand, ‘caused’ by how the organizational DNA is codified !!

J.P.Singh,

Justplainandsimple Consulting Pvt. Ltd.

JPSConsulting

Just Plain & Simple
….. Helping Realise Potential

JPS Customer Value Academy

Just Plain & Simple
….. Helping Create Customer Value

Website : www.justplainandsimple.com

Twitter : @jpsingh55

 

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