It's been a rough month with a Verizon phone switchover. After hours of working with company reps and finally with a higher up who had the power to make a change, all was supposed to resolve in the wee hours this AM.
When I couldn't receive the call from USA Today columnist, Steve Strauss, for our interview for his Small Business Success Secrets podcast show, I found out that my phone situation is worse than ever - completely down!
That's entropy for Verizon and for me - and for Steve - lots of resources draining down a hole that just isn't that deep. My phones aren't complicated.
As a small phone and internet based business, FIOS technology matters but it's already cost me more than I'll save with in my new 2 year contract. Athough they can't get me up, if I go to another company, there's no way around automatically paying the penalty for cancelling my new contract plus I'd lose FIOS. No warm fuzzies in the customer loyalty department.
As a business consultant, I question how this all scales up to Verizon-sized issues. Despite having a relatively minor issue that fell between automation and organizational cracks, I've cost them a bundle in support hours.
I met one excellent top level manager who's working hard for me, and one-for-the-books awful service rep, and a whole lot in between over the last month. What they have in common triggers my consulting and coaching instincts: I smell a culture problem.
There's a lack of cohesion, lack of accountability for resolution, no leadership empowered enough to rectify the hole in the system that my pretty simple account fell through, and a long process to even get through the frontline automated and live operators to access that disempowered leadership.
They sure can't be breaking any stakeholder loyalty records internally or externally because it's no fun to work in that kind of muck and since culture is one of the best indicators of sustained success, I wouldn't invest in the stock.
Whether you're a business owner or top level executive, if you consciously develop the culture around you, you'll fortify your organization against this kind of nonsensical entropy. Consciously building your culture will yield a synergistic organization that continually meets criteria for excellence and that ongoingly evolves that criteria through dedication and innovation.
Identify a specific problem at the front line of your business or service
Connect the dots between that and the top. The best way to do that is to figure out what values are operative on both ends. (
Identify the values matches and mismatches and you'll be getting at the core of the problem so that not only will the front line symptom resolve, you'll do systemic development in the process because values development is cultural development.