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What One Thing Can You Do?

…to make a difference to morale and the ability to get the job done in these tough economic times?

I was talking to Andy Cosslett recently. He is CEO of IHG, the world’s largest hotels company (Holiday Inn is one of their brands).

He said he spent two days working in a Holiday Inn a while ago and came back with a list of things head office could do to make life easier for people on the front line, delivering the service, running the business, making the money (because that’s what the front line do).

It reminded me of when Allan Leighton spoke to us at Leaders in London. The Chairman of the Post Office had turned up at the crack of dawn at a depot, unannounced. He asked the depot manager what was the one thing he (Leighton) could do to make the manager’s life easier.

The manager said that his posties came into work at 4am or earlier and that the coffee machine had been broken for over two weeks. The requisitioning process to get a coffee machine replaced took so long that his crack of dawn staff had had no access to coffee for all that time.

“They lose confidence in me as a manager, and I lose credibility, and it looks as if I have no interest in their welfare. That’s terrible for morale”, said the depot manager – or something like that: I don’t have my notes in front of me, so I’m paraphrasing.

“What do I need? I need a new coffee machine!”

So, Leighton went back to his office and arranged for every depot manager to have a £200 (or something like that) contingency fund to cover emergencies or situations where the central system just couldn’t deliver what the depot manager needed with enough urgency.

So, what can you do that is low cost but absolutely important in sending the right signals out to people who may be suffering low morale, and/or that removes a frustration or problem for them, and that shows that you are still fighting their corner?

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