Why you should focus on results.

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Focus on results and watch how things improve

In almost any kind of job, it is the results that you produce that counts. You would have a special job if your results would be unimportant. I have a very result oriented job, as lead a group of people at a call centre. Everything is measured from number of abandon calls to average handling time and average waiting time. I have charts for about anything and everything can be measured. All employees are measured by the number of calls they can handle during the day, to average handling time, time on lunch and breaks, number of e-mail handled, average time between calls. If I want to I can bury myself in charts and statistics.

Historically I was measured by percentage. I was told that my department should answer at least 94 % of all calls. Still some people like to see this number that are totally irrelevant for my job performance as there are factors that I cannot control. Measure by percentage is crap and it gives me nothing as the number of callers is a factor I can’t control. If there is a major screw up in a major city I might get 500 extra calls within a few hours. And I do not have extra personnel hidden in a closet for use in such times.

I therefore focus on how many calls we can answer per week. I have xx employees that on average answer 43 calls each day. That means if I am going to answer 3200 calls in a week (5 days), I would need 15 people. If I then got 15 people and they answer 3000 calls I am not doing my job. If they do answer 3400 calls they do a great job.

I see stars, can you see them too?
To keep on increasing performance we need to get the group of people to lift their performance. If I focus on the results each day, the rest of the team will focus on the results as well. If I focus on reports and meetings and other stuff, they will focus on other stuff also.
That is why I live and breathe for results these days. I write the results on a white board 2-3 times a day. I send a group e-mail each morning with the numbers. We have a team competition that focus on individual performance. And we have a dedication to improve each and every one.

Take one man out of production to increase performance.
I still need the rest of the crew to focus as well, if you work in my business and are happy with a below average performance you will fail. All and everyone need to focus. And to help them to focus, one of the best employees are taken off the phone with only one mission in life, to improve one by one. If he can improve the overall performance with 8 % the result will be an increase in the number of answered calls by 5 a day. He managed within two weeks to improve two people from an average of 40 to an average of 65 calls per day. And there are still 12 people to go.

Currently running up to a 20 % increase of efficiency!
With this focus we are on our way to lift the performance by 20 % per person or to be able to handle 3600 calls per week with 14 people, not 3200 with 15 on the line, the same effect as hiring two more the old way. So by dedicating one man to increase the efficiency, I get the needed results.

And why is this good?
Nobody whines about high workloads, they are happier now and 0 customers in line is now a common view on the big screen. The ones that improve get a boost in confidence as they feel that they handle the job better.

I cannot promise to the directors that we always will answer 94 % but I can promise that we can answer 3200 calls per week and continue to improve up to somewhere around 3600-3800 calls. And if we get more callers to blow my percentage, and only then there will be need for more people to do the job.

The importance of a result focused environment
As an employee you will need to understand the importance of a result focused environment, as it contributes to the well being of the employees, the satisfaction of the customers and the cash flow and profit of the company. Imagine hiring two more people to get the same results? This would cost a lot of $ straight out of the profit. And if the company you work in have a profit, your job is secure.

As a leader you must continue to focus on results and train your employees to focus on results as well. Around the world there are a lot of companies bigger than the one I work at. Imagine having 100 people selling goods at your company on an average of $15000 a day. If they could improve by 20 %, it would be a good investment to hire a coach for a year to train them and pay the coach $100.000 to do it. You almost cannot afford not to focus on results.

Imagine running a massive call centre with 900 people answering 50 calls each day. 45.000 calls each day, and you got to increase capacity with 4.500 calls. You could either hire 90 more people at a cost of a fortune or you could pay one good coach or ten to improve the average number of calls by 10 %.

But you will not get there if you don’t have the result focus you’ll need. Both the leader and the employee are obliged to really focus on results, as the focus can make or break a company.

So suck it up and improve!

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2 Comments on "Why you should focus on results."

  1. Frode Heimen | November 29, 2008 at 5:34 pm |

    Hi Ron.
    Thanks for your comment. This one line says it all actually. I have had managers that were more into how many hours I would work instead of what I did with the time I used. I have always been effective and had to learn to be slow in some of my earlier jobs. I am glad I have a job now where results count and not how much overtime I spend during a month.

  2. Ron Meledandri - Sentra Business Solutions | November 29, 2008 at 3:52 pm |

    The most important line in your posting is “train your employees to focus on results.” That is one of the biggest failures I have seen by managers. Instead of results, they accept hard work. How hard someone works does not matter. What is important is the results that are achieved.

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