In today’s world where change is one of the only constants, we often hear of companies undergoing a transformation to reinvent themselves and revitalize their customer offerings. This is a natural function of the organizational life cycle where companies grow and organize in a variety of ways along the way, including around services or products. However, in focusing on efficiency and processes to enable scale, organizations lose some measure of tight collaboration and team agility that comes from regular innovation. So, how can companies avoid having to regularly undergo transformations? One way successful businesses do this is through the identification of gaps in team collaboration through a Customer Correction tool that allows teams to find opportunities and cooperate to improve where disconnects may be occurring and resolve issues before they impact customers.

Functional issues cause established companies to have difficulty with transformations and innovation to meet their customer’s needs. As an example, we recently saw a team dedicated to measurement of new initiatives struggle to meet key milestones and deliverables due to the novelty of the project and complexity of data. This resulted in a high likelihood of failure for the business team to understand the customer benefits of the innovation.  The business team raised the issue several times to leadership but, over time, the business team had to accept the problem and figure out a work-around. The acceptance of the issue led to many hours of lost productivity and countless meetings to try to close the gaps which went unresolved.

To get ahead of functional issues within a company, we’ve seen forward-thinking organizations adopt a regular exchange of notes by each member of a group (team) to assess for the purpose of improving collaboration and performance. We have all worked with managers, co-workers or teams that affect others and we understand the impact that poor collaboration and communication has on each step of their process. So, how can concerns be raised in an objective manner for management to course correct before they become larger issues? We’ve seen brief, anonymized sessions scheduled weekly or bi-weekly with small teams as a useful tool to assess what’s working and what is not. In this way, employees can take ownership of their work and a potential solution by flagging issues to management on a regular cadence via ongoing participation. Employees are motivated to participate because they see increased speed and responsibility in fixing issues. Management teams are motivated to utilize it because it flags issues for them and allows them to proactively address functional issues.

This method is also employed by a global management consulting firm with their case teams to get regular feedback and make changes on an ongoing basis to ensure employee satisfaction, which translates into client satisfaction. In this way, employees can take an active role in making positive changes that both improve their day-to-day interactions and translate into value for customers. Customers will see an improved experience based on happier employees and the development of unpracticed ways to create change. It’s not a coincidence that the consulting firm regularly appears at the top of Glassdoor’s “Best Places to Work” list and has experienced record growth since implementing the tool.

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The Customer Correction can help flag issues but, just as important, the management team must support the process of change and empower teams to make continuous improvements. Leadership teams can think of the survey results as a beacon, of sorts, that shines light on the areas of the company that most need additional support. Make no mistake – there is no substitute for strong leadership, especially during times of change but the Customer Correction enables leadership team to identify some potential areas of friction before they adversely impact customers.

Do you see a need to re-think how your teams serve customers? When you’re ready to make a change in the business, reach out to Carlos Castelán (carlos@thenaviogroup.com) or Steve Anderson (sanderson@magsf.us) for a complimentary Customer Correction Review to find out more about how to facilitate functional alignment.