Welcome to the new blog of Better for Everyone, the UK call centre with intelligence, integrity and initiative based in Bradford, West Yorkshire!

The traditional call centre approach has earned the industry its awful sweatshop image and reputation for terrible customer service. I knew there was potential for something much better and that creating my own company with a better, more ethical approach to call centre services was the right thing to do.

Through this blog, we’ll keep you informed of our news and let you know our thoughts on what’s going on in the industry and in management generally, so do keep coming back.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Doing more with less - meeting the management challenge of 2010

This week, FT columnist Stefan Stern wrote an interesting piece entitled “Your task for today is doing more with less”.

Predicting “more with less” as the new management mantra for Stern cites worrying trends in recent research from both Roffey Park (the number of managers that felt performance management was handled badly in their organisation had doubled since last year) and Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development (reported UK job satisfaction at record lows).


The upshot of the article is that the management challenge of these times is for business leaders to get their teams to work smarter & harder by delivering efficiency savings and increased productivity. Stern has really hit the nail on the head with this, which applies equally to leaders in both public, private & third sector organisations– but unfortunately the article failed to offer the answer of how this might be achieved…

Ironically, Stern did allude to the reality that rather than bashing fewer employees to do more of everything they do, doing “more with less” may simply mean taking a proper look at what organisations do, and choosing what to stop doing, and what to do more of.

But in order to do that, your typical business leader will really need to change how they think – they need to stop focusing on the necessity to reduce costs, instead seeking to look at their organisations as systems.

Firstly, and without judgement, leaders need to work with front line staff to understand what they do now and why they do things that way: consider their purpose (what do they exist to do as an organisation?); look at the efficiency & effectiveness of their processes from their customers point of view; and things that get in the way (e.g. traditional performance management, legislation, interpretation and attempts to prevent potential problems).

Only when they have a clear picture of their organisation as a system in this way, can leaders see what needs to change in their organisations – what they can stop doing to improve the work they do to enable them to do more with less.

This isn’t easy though, and it’s certainly not a quick fix – it involves leaders’ commitment and understanding to make a successful change. They need to change the principles they follow in terms of, for example, customers’ experience, job design and how they’ll use measures to continue to improve the work they do in the longer term.

In 2010, these can no longer be leadership choices – they are fundamental to survival of our economy. They are leadership necessities… let’s hope government and business leaders work this out before it’s too late… unfortunately this blogger isn’t too optimistic…