Rule 19: Look after the Workforce

You don’t understand the work

You might think you have a tight grip of how your operation is working… but you just don’t.  How can you?  You spend your days in meetings.  Picking up actions to write PowerPoints you can present at more meetings.  You are rarely in the workplace.

The workforce understand the work

They are deeply acquainted with it, they see it and live with it, day in and day out.  That is what you pay them to do.

  • They created the routing patterns
  • They understand the policy booklets
  • They can use the booking system
  • They know the billing workarounds

You, however, do not.

Your workforce can choose how to behave:

If you treat them well they will treat you well:

They will override the system to solve the customer’s problems.  Then will work late to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

If you treat them badly they will treat you badly:

They will plead ignorance, sending the customer away unhappy and empty-handed.  Then they’ll manipulate your incentive scheme so they look like they are doing a great job.

Your workforce has you over a barrel.  Because you don’t understand the work, and they do.

It is your choice

You can:

Or you can treat them like adults, help them fix their problems and get out of their way.

Rule 19: Look after the workforce

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  1. James,

    This (not understanding the work – and not getting out of the way) is a common scenario. Why do you think that is the case?


  2. Hi James,
    Your post reminded me of an interview I did with Peter Hunter some time ago when he faced a situation when he had to lead a team who were vastly more experienced than him. The way that he found to get the best out his team was to work with them to remove obstacles that hindered them doing their best work.


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