When I first began working for Soundview, I filled back-issue orders in the mail room. We had hundreds of print summaries of top business books, and through our catalog customers ordered them on a regular basis. However, I noticed early on that the order form was not easy to use if you wanted a lot of summaries. There was a series of blank lines on which you had to write the orders numbers, and there was no easy way to indicate if you wanted more than one copy of a title.
So I suggested to our publisher that we ought to change the order form to list each order number, with a space next to it for indicating how many copies the customer wanted of each title. Through this simple change our order volume skyrocketed.
Noel Tichy and Chris DeRose state a simple principle in their new book Judgment on the Front Line:
“In my experience, innovation can only come from the bottom. Those closest to the problem are in the best position to solve it. I believe any organization that depends on innovation must embrace chaos. Loyalty and obedience are not your tools; you must use measurement and objective debate to separate the good from the bad.”
Tichy and DeRose go on to provide a five-step process for leaders to use to build, or rebuild, their companies from the front line so that the ingenuity, innovation, and emotion of thousands of employees can be harnessed.
- Step 1 – Connect front line to the customer.
- Step 2 – Teach people to think for themselves.
- Step 3 – Experiment to implement.
- Step 4 – Break down the hierarchy.
- Step 5 – Invest in front line capability.
The authors also bring to the table their extensive experience with companies from many industries that have learned how to harness their front line.
If you would like to learn more about how to harness your front line people to tap their insights and innovative thinking, then you’ll want to join us for our next Soundview Live webinar with Tichy and DeRose on March 27th. They will expand on the five steps, and provide examples of real-world use of these steps in successfully companies.
Perhaps you could even kick-start the process by inviting those who lead your front line people to the webinar. You can fill the room on one registration. Remember that all Soundview subscribers attend Soundview Live free.