In order to introduce the Nside/Outside (internal customer) principle to our employees, one member of my leadership team and I had to get crafty!
Together, we fashioned a quasi relay-race baton. Now, this wasn’t a very high tech baton. In fact, it was two cardboard tubes held together by duct tape. And at each end of the baton, multi-color streamers were sticking out. Honestly, it was hideous.
However, almost two decades later, I still have that baton (pictured above!) It proved to be an effective prop that captured our people's attention illustrating this important principle.
A Leadership Principle
Tell me and I'll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I'll understand. – Chinese Proverb
Whenever possible, I have tried to create situations that take into account different learning styles that enable and deepen our team's learning and understanding.
It is easy to overlook the numerous steps and human resources that are involved in delivering our goods or services to our external customers.
As leaders, we think we know the organization inside-out. But some of our people know only their specific job. They have no idea about what goes on before and after they complete their role.
I developed an exercise that emphasizes and illustrates the importance of knowing how the work flows in your company. I call it the “Baton Exercise” and it uses the baton mentioned above to involve your people in a simple, but profound process. This exercise is a leadership tool that you can utilize in your own organization that demonstrates how to teach employees the concept of internal customers and suppliers.
I introduced the Baton Exercise at a company-wide Nside/Outside Workshop with all of our employees in the room. The exercise involved passing the baton around the room to illustrate the relationships between the multiple internal customers and multiple internal suppliers within our company.
It is these people, working together, who ensure that our external customer experiences service excellence.
The bible also gives us wisdom on the importance of working together for good. In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, he says, “From him, the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. Ephesians 4:16 NIV
I’ve made a Baton Exercise Instruction Sheet that you can use to clarify the relationships between your organization’s internal customers and internal suppliers. It’s FREE, and you can download this leadership tool immediately by <clicking here>. Feel free to print it or save it for your own use.
Based on my own experience, I promise you that you can improve your organization’s performance if you address this understanding gap with your people. You’ll see that when people realize the workflow of your operation, they are positioned to help you fine-tune the performance of the entire company using the Nside/Outside principle.
In my next blog post, I’ll describe how you can leverage your team’s newly clarified workflow to boost the service to your external customers!
How do you involve your people to deepen their learning? Would you consider introducing the baton exercise to your organization? Please share your thoughts <here> and share this blog post with a friend or co-worker.