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Sometimes Leaders Have to Literally Draw a Picture – Create Clarity

Create Clarity Leaders

Create Clarity by Drawing a Picture

An effective leader strives to ensure that his or her people understand.

They create clarity around the reasons for taking a particular action or the true need to pursue a defined goal. Creating clarity is necessary if a leader really wants excellent results.

However, saying it and doing it are sometimes miles apart. And until the team is clear; all efforts might flounder and everyone can become frustrated. Results might be non-existent or fair at best when there is a lack of clarity!

My Mom used to say, “Mark… do I have to draw you a picture?” However, when she did, I suddenly got it!

I have learned that sometimes as a leader you have to “draw a picture” in order for your people to get it!  And when they get it – WOW!  The results gained can be out of this world!

As a Service Desk (“Help Desk”) Manager, a key measurement of success is your ability to provide solutions to your customers during the initial call. And as much as you want this to always happen there are a lot of cases where a ticket has to be logged and worked later after doing research and/or by a person of special expertise.

In taking over a new Service Desk, I requested a report be generated to show me where we stood on our number of outstanding tickets and how old they were.

The report resembled the picture to the right. chart1

Upon review of the report, I saw that we had scores of open tickets. One would expect that there would be open tickets for a couple of days and maybe a week.

However, most disturbing to me was that tickets spanned well past a year.

Simply put, this meant that when a person called the desk and had an issue, we logged it into a ticket, and then we did not fix it for over 365 days. NOT ACCEPTABLE by anyone’s standards!

I sat down with my leadership team and it felt like my explanation was “falling on deaf ears.” Let’s just say, they didn’t get it. However someone asked, “if this chart you are showing us is bad then what does a good chart look like?” Then I knew we were getting somewhere. I drew up the following chart. chart2

I explained that we would expect to have open tickets that day or the following week, then we should see a natural curve downward as we worked to address the customer’s needs and closed their tickets.

Ideally, we should have no open tickets longer than a week. However, at this stage I would be happy with no open tickets older than 3 months versus a year!

One of my leaders suddenly exclaimed, “I got it!” You want us to have a chart that looks like a “Gator Tail!” I thought for a moment… a Gator Tail? He went on to explain that if you took an alligator and stood him up on his back legs, his tail would fall and it would resemble the chart I had drawn.

Like magic, the rest of team embraced his description with enthusiasm. All of a sudden what was once “mud” became crystal clear. Ideas were flying for all
kinds of revised processes, monitoring, and programs to drive tickets down to an “acceptable” level.

Because of our resounding success as a result of using “the Gator Tail” it is now a part of a Service Desk Managers tool kit at one of the top outsourcing firms in the world. You never know the impact of “drawing a picture!”

It is important for leaders to create clarity, which might include drawing a picture. How do you create clarity on your teams and in your organizations?

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