What’s going on?

OK, so you’re a manager, a head of, or a director.  You’ve got a team of people working for you providing a service for your customers – internal users, external business customers or a personal customer base.   You’ve grown your team and have some good people.  You’re proud to have developed them over a few years.  You’ve handpicked them for their strengths.  Yes, you’ve got a couple who might be a bit flaky but generally you feel you’ve got a dependable crew.

So what are they doing right now?  Yes one’s gone for a quick smoke but they’re industrious when they’re at their desk so it’s not an issue really.  The others seem to be getting on with it.  Yes, but what are they getting on with?

Do you really know?

Yes, you get the weekly stats reports and they tell you everything’s fine – above target.  The boss will be pleased, just like usual.  Occasionally there’s a dip and you get a bit of a grilling but once in a while that’s OK.  After all you are responsible for all those fluctuations in demand caused by err…    …yes, the weather, the sudden closure of a competitor.   Oh well, you’ll have to learn how to use your crystal ball a bit better.

But that’s not the real picture is it?

How much of their time, (your time actually) is spent on their primary task.  Let’s call their primary task ‘value demand’ .  Yes that’s the stuff that you’ve recruited them for.    Go on, check, spend some time with them, observe for yourself.

I strongly suspect the percentage is a lot less than you’d hoped for or imagined.  So what’s the other stuff they’re doing?  Dealing with items which should have been directed to another team?  Customers chasing progress on problems they told you about 2 weeks ago?    Umm, that’ll be failure demand then.

Just think how much better that weekly stats report would look if you could stop it.

3 thoughts on “What’s going on?

  1. Neil

    I agree, on closer inspection ‘Value demand’ tasks would more than likely be greatly eaten into, and quite possibly far outweighed, by ‘other stuff’ in most teams. My question is , how do you recommend that this problem is remedied? in my experience , as long as things are ticking along most managers will just let it be. Quite often they just don’t seem to have the time to dig deeper anyway.


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