I started writing this blog while on a train travelling into London. At Didcot Parkway it was interesting and somewhat nostalgic to see a bunch of people train spotting. The ensemble was made up of two boys and four adults armed with a variety of books, cameras, tripods and binoculars. I remember fondly a train spotting phase in my youth but in those days we didn’t have the multiple distractions of video games, social media and 100+ TV channels that exist today. I can’t explain why but it made me feel good and perhaps just a tad envious to witness this very traditional hobby still being pursued.
Last week I hosted a dinner for the ‘class of 2012’ graduate sales trainees or Sales Associates in CC speak. This is always an event I really look forward to as it’s fantastic to spend some quality time with young, enthusiastic and clearly bright individuals. But perhaps the best aspect is their relative naivety in terms of business and IT in general that results in often simple but incredibly compelling observations about our business. This lack of restraint in highlighting ideas is something that I believe all companies should aspire to. The people that know the business best are the people that are delivering for the company day in day out so encouraging them to participate in process and service improvement is a treasure trove waiting to be explored.
Some organisations use surveys, some idea boxes, some focus groups and I’m sure some use all of the above and more. What works for one company certainly won’t work for all and much will come down to the culture and management input that supports (or doesn’t) this employee involvement. This latter point is critical. If an employee believes his or her views will be heard rather than dismissed out of hand or worse ignored, they’ll be more likely to suggest additional ideas, spread the word and feel greater affinity towards the organisation. This is the mother lode of all treasure troves!
Lots of treasure resulted from my dinner with SA 12 and as usual, I learned more than I could have hoped for. What I didn’t enjoy learning was that none of them had ever bought a vinyl LP and no one knew what an XR3i was (my first CC company car)! Oh well, will have to dust off that old ABC book and join the crew at Didcot for a spot of train spotting, sure the older guys will recognise an XR3i when they see one…