If your position is at a Director level or above, you likely spend most of your time in meetings. And, while in these meetings, there is often talk about the “front line personnel”… whether you call them agents, analysts, reps etc.
What is disturbing about this talk is how many assumptions we make. (And when I say we, I am including myself.) We rely on opinions formed from months past, anecdotes or second/third hand information, and apply this to current state decision making- which may or may not be relevant.
So, what is a leader to do? Get out of the conference room and back in the trenches.
Last Friday, in less than one hour, I was reminded how important this is.
Earlier in the year my company had rolled out a new process with supporting technology and at the beginning, I was involved in much of the detailed decision-making. Over time, the project was delegated to a direct report who did a wonderful job managing it and providing me with the “sound bites” I needed to know to follow progress.
But, as we had our 1×1 this week, and I was getting the weekly sound bites, it hit me that I had grown too far away from the details. I was relying on second and third hand information to make decisions.
So, I inserted myself into a project working session and played the role of observer. I watched as we logged into the software and attempted to use some of our new processes. I saw the work-flow and where the pain points were. I saw first hand, that depending on the geographic location of the employees, they were interpreting the processes differently.
This helped me better understand where we are with the new process, but also reminded me how important it is to do this on a regular basis, with just about everything that is important to your organization.
When was the last time you spent time at the front line? I know that I must do this more often!
You might also like…
- Making Great Leadership Decisions (georgepapalexandratos.wordpress.com)
© 2011, Marci Reynolds. All rights reserved.