There are many sources you can look to in becoming the company you desire. Are you taking advantage of the many resources at your disposal? Let's consider a few that are easily within your reach.
“Imagine that every person in the world is enlightened but you. They are all your teachers, each doing just the right things to help you learn perfect patience, perfect wisdom, perfect compassion.”
~ Lessons Attributed to Gautama Buddha
The Full Scoop
In the book, In Search Of Excellence, author Thomas J. Peters taught, "Many of the innovative companies got their best product ideas from customers. The comes from listening, intently and regularly." Customers of our IT Service and Support business have always been the greatest source of inspiration for new product offerings, feedback on customer service, and team performance.
The book previously mentioned, In Search Of Excellence, was a study of America’s top 15 companies. The author's goal was to find out what made them stand out, and as it so happens; the biggest differentiators were found in how they listened to the needs of their customers, employees, and adhered to a core set of values. Listening to key external and internal stakeholders, and then staying true to their driving principles for quality and innovation; made a world of difference time and again.
Listening, really listening with the intent to understand, can be hard for all of us. With all the distractions, competing interests and demands on our time; spending quality time with a person or team to focus on their needs can be a real challenge. IT can be frustrating for so many, particularly if it is not your strength. Some people seem to have a natural talent for listening and emphasizing, others have to work on it; regardless of where you find yourself, there is always something we can learn from sincerely considering the input of others.
Years ago I came across the statement, “Imagine that every person in the world is enlightened but you. They are all your teachers, each doing just the right things to help you learn perfect patience, perfect wisdom, perfect compassion.” This can be hard to do if someone pulls in front of you while commuting, unloads their frustrations on you, or doesn't listen when you share concerns; but if we apply it consistently and can focus on the bigger picture of what we're trying to accomplish individually and as a team, there is so much we can learn. Opportunities for continuous improvement and growth really do surround us.
IT resources are under constant pressure. Consider the plight of someone taking inbound calls on an IT Helpdesk, they often only deal with high impact, urgent and stressful situations. If we take each one of those client touch points as an opportunity to understand the needs of our clients, how well we are servicing them, and consider it an privilege to listen and learn; great results can and often do follow. It is very true you can't make everyone happen, but we can make many customers and clients "happier". We need to remember when someone expresses frustration to us, it is often not us they are frustrated with; there are likely dozens of factors that are contributing to the emotions you are seeing.
We often reflect while performing IT Projects and Support, why an escalation occurred in the first place. Why did this business owner feel the need to follow-up on a request? Did we not communicate the status properly? Why did they feel the need "to chase" for an answer? This leads to further discussions and often changes in how we determine and measure team accountability, IT service automation, and our broader commitment to excellence.
The next time you feel like disagreeing, or fighting back, take an opportunity to look into the bigger picture of what your client is trying to communicate to you. Are they just looking for a simple, "I'm sorry, we'll try harder", have their concerns been re-occurring regularly, is the issue with a control or a part of a deeper problem within the organization? Opportunities for improvement abound, find ways to learn from your daily interactions with others; for those in technology, this is critical to understanding how the IT services and products we develop are enhancing or limiting the businesses of those we service.