Establishing a culture of Teamwork is a service managers’s goal and it begins with the leader’s core beliefs and his ability to convey a vision. During this Thanksgiving holiday, memories of past service management experiences come to mind.
For me, building a culture of teamwork, cooperation and mutual respect reminds me of a 1974 warehouse job. Back then, I drove a forklift, unload trucks, and shipped orders. I was a typical blue-collar worker who wore steel-toe shoes and blue jeans. My office counterparts, a little older than me, wore dress shoes, white shirts and ties. Back then, there were distinct differences between the guys who worked on the carpet (in the office) and the guys, like me, who worked in the warehouse.
I urge managers everywhere to build a culture of teamwork, cooperation and mutual respect.
The office guys spoke with customers, wrote new orders and guaranteed expedited shipments – all of which impacted me, but unfortunately I wasn’t invited to participate in the logistics of order fulfillment. This meant that I was often the last to know about orders that had to go out today – not exactly a teamwork atmosphere.
My office counterparts would venture onto the warehouse floor, seek me out and sternly insist that their order be sent today or else. Regardless of the circumstances, I was thankful to have a job.
Being resourceful and creative, I always figured out a way to squeeze their expedited orders into the workload mix. None of which ever resulted in a kind word of thanks or appreciation – after all, I was just a warehouse worker. My office counterparts took all the credit for the sale, the expedited fulfillment and the customer’s gratitude.
My experiences as a warehouse worker greatly influenced my style when I became a customer service manager in the 1980’s. I impressed upon my staff an understanding that warehouse workers make us look good because they convert our words into actions. I would say, “We might be able to commit to a shipping deadline, but they guys in the back make it happen – and for that, we acknowledge their effort.”
Employees are more willing to cooperate when they have learned, through past experience, that they are part of the solution that makes the entire organization achieve business goals.
This Thanksgiving holiday I am mindful of life’s events that helped establish teamwork, cooperation and mutual respect. Happy Thanksgiving!