A Better Way
Ben owns a service-based IT company. Basically, it functions as a help desk. When clients have IT problems, they call Ben and his company to resolve the issue. This is a standard business model, especially in the IT help desk arena. After all you can’t fix something until it breaks, right? And how can you predict what is going to fail? The trouble with this business model is you can never accurately predict workload from day to day and inevitably you either have people sitting around waiting for a phone to ring, or you can have so many calls, and not enough people to answer the phones. This reactive business model isn’t efficient for Ben and his company, or for the client who has an issue and is now on the phone trying to get it resolved and not being productive!
Finding a solution
Ben knew this “wait until it breaks” model wasn’t the best for his business or for his clients. Ben’s clients were wasting valuable time on the phone with IT support instead of being able to work effectively in their roles. This problem went right to the bottom line, causing their profitability to drop. Ben’s team was not as efficient as it could be because they were always in a reactive mode. Workload was unpredictable, and it was challenging to get staffing right. So, Ben decided the obvious answer was to find a proactive solution of preventative maintenance, which would dramatically reduce downtime and minimize help desk phone calls. He soon learned this was easier said than done!
One of the first challenges Ben had to overcome was a complete culture shift in his company! They needed to move from responding to client needs, to anticipating their needs. Instead of constantly putting out fires, they would develop an effective fire prevention plan. But, imagine if you came into work one day, and your boss told you that you could no conduct business in the same manner. You had to do something completely different. This isn’t a new process or procedure, or even a new piece of software to learn. This is learning how to think and act differently. Ben’s entire staff had to re-learn their jobs. Years of training and instinct had to be changed. This is the type of change which makes people uncomfortable and causes them to resist. Ben had to explain his vision, get his team’s buy-in, and be patient as they all experienced the inevitable growing pains associated with massive change.
Getting his team on board, working through changes to the way they think, was a challenge in and of itself. The next step in this transformation was getting his clients to come around to his way of thinking. Ben needed to convince his clients his new solution was better option for them. You have to imagine, to develop an IT system designed not to fail, there are costs associated with it. Clients would now be paying a premium to reduce downtime, instead of paying to fix a problem. This is a culture shift for them. It was time to share his vision with his clients, and ROI clearly had to be demonstrated. In many respects, this was more challenging than getting his team to change.
Ultimately, over time, Ben was able to deliver on his promise of a more reliable IT system for his clients. He was not able to convince all of his clients to convert to this new way of thinking, and honestly it probably wasn’t the right solution for everyone. The business transformation resulted in losing many clients who could not accept the new operating standard. But Ben’s business is more predictable now and works more efficiently. In fact, Ben has been able to double his company’s revenue, improve the quality of life for his employees, and improve customer satisfaction. Sounds like a win-win-win to me!
This Week’s Challenge
Although I wasn’t part of the solution for Ben, his story is indeed inspiring. Many times during my career, I have been stuck in a constant struggle. I’ve gotten analytical and thought there had to be a better way. I’m fortunate enough to help individuals and companies have these kinds of breakthroughs. This week’s challenge is to evaluate some of your pain points and opportunities. Stop and ask yourself if there is a better way. The ability to change for the better will always make you more valuable… in any career or profession. In fact, it’s one of the best ways to rise to the top of your industry! Change isn’t always easy, but it’s never as hard as you think.
Let’s work on positive culture change for you!
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Quote of the Week
“There’s a way to do it better – find it.”