What if IDLE told you to jump off a cliff?

For those of you who are not fortunate enough to live in Calgary, you may not know that we recently wrapped up the Calgary Stampede. This 10 day event showcases all things 'western' including rodeo events, chuckwagon races and agricultural demonstrations among other things. Because of this festive spirit it also produces a large assortment of vendor and client gatherings across all lines of business which comes with a fair share of BBQ, pulled pork sandwiches and beer.

It was at such an event for a larger IT Service provider that I was networking with a handful of their managers. After explaining that I worked in the service management space, one of the support managers who was dressed in his best denim and checkered garb, began to outline how they had just implemented “IDLE” (his pronunciation).
Not one to shy away from shop talk, or the fact that he ordered another round for the table, he went on to explain that they had encountered some challenges with the communication of what they were trying to do, not only within operations but also with the business. Oddly enough hearing this from an operations person was uniquely refreshing as in years past it was the service management people who would have challenges communicating with the operations teams.
“We have all these IDLE process maps and documents, loads of books but they just don’t seem to get it”, he said as he glanced down into his now finished bottle of beer. He motioned for another round at the table so I decided at the least to ask a few questions.
“What audience are you having the most trouble communicating with?” I asked.
“The business, they just don’t seem to get this IDLE thing at all. I even left one of the books on the desk of one of the business directors, it’s still sitting in the same place in his office."
It was all becoming clear to me. The real issue that the support manager faced wasn’t the framework that they were using to facilitate service delivery but the method in which they communicated with their business (or anyone else) on the intent to provide that service.
“If ‘IDLE’ told you to jump off a cliff would you do it?” I asked with a smirk
“No!” he replied sharply
“Well you need to look at how you are marketing this process improvement. To the business it looks and sounds like you are reciting from a book or jamming something inflexible down their throat when in reality that is the opposite of what you are doing” I outlined.
Frankly whether you leverage one framework or combine a few to achieve your business objectives, you need to think about it in terms of the business objectives. From their perspective they are looking more for ‘what’s in it for them’ rather than what goes into making that a reality. For commuinicating this to the business focus on the output and deliverables rather than the input.
To drive the message home I pointed out that during our conversation we had two cold beers brought to the table with nothing more than a point of a finger. I don’t need to know what framework made that happen.
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