By: Leisa Bulow – September 2015
One of the first questions asked of managers (sometimes even at interview) is how would you identify issues and improvement opportunities for the business?
Sometimes there will be issues that are obvious to you, where processes and procedures need to be updated, especially to reflect new legislation, systems, and business improvements.
One of the best places to mine information on what is and isn’t working well, is from your IT department. Talk to the IT Manager (or equivalent) and find out where are the major pain points in the organisation. Is there a particular software program giving users grief? Is there a process most people do not properly understand?
Quality assurance reports and error logs are another great source to find out if your staff have enough of a grip on the programs and processes they are working with.
Gather data on the efficiency of the process(es) you are managing. Talk to the staff as they may be able to shed some light on any particular issues.
Read complaint reports and talk to your customers. (Make sure this is in the correct parameters though – it is great for customers to feel special that a manager is taking an interest in their particular case, but defer to your complaint specialists about who to contact, and do not over-promise and under-deliver to the complainant!) Sure, take note of the survey results, but it is more effective to speak personally to customers and find out why or why not they would recommend your organisation to friends and family.
Don’t forget to take your staff enthusiasm and morale into consideration. Look at any available staff surveys or measures of staff engagement. Talk with your team leaders to find out their opinions on how the staff are coping and the team dynamics. Have unofficial coffee catch-ups with each of the team members and ask them about their opinions. You may even want to implement an anonymous suggestion box.
Whatever issues may be flagged, remember that you are not alone. It is not up to you alone to come up with all the answers. If you engage your team in finding a resolution, you may just find that they start looking at you as a leader, not just a manager…
About the Author:
Leisa Bulow is a Learning & Development specialist, with over 25 years’ experience in customer service, sales, training, and leadership and management roles in a diverse range of industries, including retail, banking and finance, government departments and government projects (both state and national), and various corporate private enterprises.
Leisa currently contracts to (or consults in) businesses in her role as a Learning & Development Specialist/Manager and Instructional Designer, providing written and delivered training solutions and online training modules in technical systems training, leadership, customer service, sales, effective communication, team-building, and time management, and other courseware customised to the organisation she is working for.
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