Thursday, November 11, 2010

Frontline management

What an incredible group of participants in the Daikin Frontline Management program! They have not only learnt new skills – they have also applied them to benefit the business and to improve the way in which they work with their teams.

Here are some of their amazing success stories of what they put in to practice following attendance at the training sessions:

“The greatest asset I have gained is being able to better manage my time. I have found the simple task of starting a list of jobs to work on throughout the day has been a good way to gauge your progress for the day. I also enjoy crossing jobs off, as they are completed, as this can give you a sense of achievement.

Having defined start and finish times for meetings has also been beneficial. In the past, I could sometimes get held up for an extra half hour or so at my first or second appointment. With better time management skills, I will now make it quite clear to my customer how long I will be able to spend with them and set a clear agenda for our meeting.

Communication was a session that was also very relevant to everyone in our team. I learnt that continuing to type an email whilst trying to listen to another colleague was not only a bit rude but the message was sometimes not taken in properly or misunderstood.

It also becomes very clear that you are missing out on five or six types of non verbal communication when you don’t pay enough attention to the person relaying the message. Nowadays I will say to the message giver something along the lines of could you just hold on for a minute and I will be with you or I have to get this email or phone call, I will come up and see you to discuss whatever in ten minutes or so.

I like the phrase we were given two ears and one mouth and they should be used proportionally. Active listening was a real ear opener, for me, a few little things I picked up from this session were Place the focus of attention totally on the ‘speaker, Repeat tentatively (in your words) your understanding of the speaker’s meaning, Allow silences in the conversation and most importantly - Be aware of your body language.

Another participant comments as follows:

I have increased my emphasis on personal effectiveness. This has involved things such as;

  • Consideration of the Time Management Matrix is helping me when I am sorting out my tasks and determining the most appropriate priorities (put them in the relevant quadrant, urgent or non-urgent, important vs not so important).
  • I am paying more attention to regularly updating my To Do List and reviewing the priorities of the tasks in the list.
  • I am scheduling non-urgent tasks to a more suitable time rather than letting them distract me from current tasks.
  • I now schedule time to attend to email. This has reduced interruptions

When possible I have been trying to set SMART Goals for the planned tasks that I do. This has helped me focus on what is really required and when it is required. This is also helping me manage having a number of tasks on the go at the same time.

I was interested in the session where we discussing the differences between managing and leading, where managing deals with day to day issues and leading is more about dealing with change and setting direction.

This is very relevant to the projects that we do in IT where we are designing and implementing new processes and functionality for the business.

It is not just a matter of building something and handing it over to the business users. We need to ensure that there is effective change management so that the new development takes the business in the right direction with the right results.

The course has reiterated the importance of having a good understanding of people in order to effectively communicate and interact with them. When dealing with people I am focusing more on trying to understand their objectives and why they behave the way that they do.

When having a discussion I am trying to ask more questions in order to gain a better understanding of the situation. I am also more aware that depending upon the person I may need to vary the way that I communicate with them.

In terms of being innovative, read this wonderful story that has made a difference to customers:

- My first idea was to set up a central tenders email address. Due to numerous changes in staff and an increase in quotation requests, quotes were not going out on time and there were too many emails going between staff and there was a double up on quotes.

- I discussed with internal sales and other commercial account managers that we should have a central place for all request to come to, got feedback from all on how it should be done. I suggested a process on what would not add to anyone persons workload but make all our jobs hassle-free and assist our customers

- I received great feedback and made changes to way we monitored it. I then took the lead in getting management to set up a new email address and then notified everyone. It has now been running well and both customers and internal staff have benefited from quotes going out on time.”

Well done to the class of 2010 - may you go from strength to strength in your management and leadership skills.

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