Contact centers face a multitude of challenges every day, week and month of the year. Expectations of customers, employees and shareholders seem to be constantly increasing. In order to meet and exceed these expectations, great leadership is needed at all levels of the contact center operation, from frontline supervisors to the C-suite.
Why is leadership important?
Leaders at all levels within the contact center establish direction and targets for the organization, whether for the entire enterprise, or just their own team. They also set the culture, provide support, develop employees and resolve conflict. Leaders have a huge responsibility and much is at stake if leaders are not prepared and don’t have a leadership game plan.
The 7-T Success System
The 7-T Success System is an easy-to-use guide for leaders at all levels of the organization, from supervisor to CEO. What are the seven T’s?
“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” – Sun Tzu
These are the components that make up all organizations, from billion-dollar global corporations to little league sports teams. A leader’s job is to ensure his or her organization is aware of each of these components and constantly working together to optimize each of them. The process for optimizing these 7 components includes the following steps:
- Identify the key elements of each “T”
- Perform a Gap Analysis for each element (of each T)
- Prioritize the Gaps to be addressed (current state vs. desired state)
- Develop and Execute Action Plans for Gap priorities
Great Leaders Focus on Details
By breaking down an organization into these 7 components and listing just the top 3 (for example) key elements of each component, a leader will have quickly identified 21 areas of opportunity for improvement. Once you’ve identified all these key elements, you’ll need to understand how these elements can be improved and optimized. This process is called the gap analysis, which starts by detailing, and ideally quantifying, the level at which your T sub-component is currently performing. This is its current state. Next, describe or quantify where it should be performing. This is referred to as the desired state. The difference between the current and desired states is the gap. As part of the gap analysis, you determine what it would take to bridge each gap, and what it would mean to your organization to close each one. In other words, how much will it cost in terms of time, effort, and money to reach the desired state? And will the required cost to close each identified gap provide enough return on investment (ROI) to benefit the organization? By making just slight improvement to each of these elements can dramatically improve the overall performance of the organization. That’s the magic of the 7-T Success System!
“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” – John C. Maxwell
Most people in leadership positions don’t do everything poorly. They also don’t do everything well. Most leaders are strong in some respects and weak, or even absent, in others. The key is to recognize and continue to do things that you’re doing well and work continuously on things that need improvement. Most leaders, and especially frontline supervisors, don’t have a plan or process for managing their teams—all seven key components that make up every organization—and tend to focus on those that seem most urgent or high profile. But neglecting any of the key components puts the team at risk of losing alignment and developing inefficiencies, like counterproductive team members, processes, or tools.
The first step is to understand and document the key elements of the Ts. For example, key elements of “Talent” may include recruiting, hiring, organizational structures, team ratios, job descriptions, internal and external customers, succession planning, and the exit interview process. You may identify and document 20 or more elements within each of the remaining T categories. Given that there are seven Ts, you may very well end up identifying more than 100 key elements within your organization that need to be evaluated. This may seem overwhelming. But remember, there is no magic pill. The path to creating a winning team isn’t quick or easy, but you’ve taken the first important step.
After completing this exercise, you’ll have a list of initiatives that could potentially be addressed, and the ways to approach them (in this example, 21). These are gap bridge actions. They all signify opportunities for improvement, which is good news. However, you won’t have the time, resources or money to address all these gap initiatives, so you’ll need a process for prioritizing them.
Which projects get priority? The ones that shoot to the top of the list meet at the intersection of impact and urgency. With the previously calculated ROI, you can determine how much benefit could come from making changes versus the costs involved. The sense of urgency is determined by how many other 7-T elements would be negatively impacted if you do nothing.
There may not be a huge ROI directly related to an identified gap bridge action. But there may be tremendous ROI implications for other key elements if action isn’t taken. Therefore, it’s important to consider each gap bridge action’s impact on the entire organization and not just its associated component. Starting with the highest prioritized gap bridge action, you’ll estimate the time, resources and costs required to bridge each gap. When you’ve run out of time, resources and/or money, you’re at the end of the prioritization process. Take actions on the things that matter most. Shelve, at least temporarily, those that matter least.
“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin
Once you’ve prioritized the gaps that need improved you put together individual project/action plans to bridge the gaps. At this point, you’ve analyzed every component (every “T”) that makes up your organization. You’ve identified elements of each component that can and should be improved. You’ve prioritized each of those efforts based on which has the highest potential impact and highest sense of urgency. And finally, you’ve created project (or action) plans to address each opportunity. That is how the 7-T Success System works.
Having the desire and ability to manage all components of an organization (or team) is the primary differentiator between a good leader and a great leader. Many believe that keeping a strategic eye on the big picture is a leader’s primary role. But paying attention to details is equally important in ensuring that you’re doing the right things and doing things right. And maybe, most importantly, it establishes the tone for others within the organization to do the same. Setting the example that every detail deserves consideration and can be developed to its fullest potential is crucial to leading a winning organization.
The 7-T Success System is designed as a guide for those who have the desire and drive to become a leader who inspires others to work toward a common goal. Within this comprehensive framework, frontline leaders will be able to identify the right things to focus on and have a roadmap for doing those things in the right way. The 7-T Success System helps identify what comprises great leadership, how to achieve it, and how to leverage it to drive accomplishment and build high-performing teams.
In the next blog, we will dive into some highlights of each “T” and introduce several valuable techniques all leaders can use to build winning teams.
The 7-T Success System book can be purchased at www.7tsystem.com
Casey Kostecka is an award-winning thought leader and expert in sales, customer experience management and contact center operations within BPO/outsourcing, healthcare, travel/hospitality, and government arenas. His proven track record in leading $500M+ organizations to record-breaking growth and profitability makes him a sought-after speaker and consultant. Casey’s extensive experience with process engineering, leadership cultivation, and team and customer engagement led him to develop unique, highly effective tools. Casey is the founder of TouchPoint One and its award-winning ACUITYTM Performance Management System, multiple proprietary gamification applications, and the 7-T Success System™ are all of which are employed by Fortune 500 companies throughout the United States. Learn more about his work at www.touchpointone.com and www.7TSuccess.com.