A catchy phrase or slogan; it is how we remember something even before we know if it is good. We know that (fill in the blank) _____ is "The Real Thing" and the company that tells us to "Just Do It" is ______. If in fact you do have a product or service to shout about, being remembered is all the more important.
“Saving the world, one piece of equipment at a time.” is the slogan for my student team of AV tech support specialists. Simply put, we want our customer to know we will not just try to solve their issue, but will take ownership of the solution until order has been restored. The keyword being “ownership”. When millennial student workers feel that they own part of the process, they perform at a high level.
I just finished reading, “Extreme Ownership” by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. This is a narrative from two top Navy Seals and how their experiences in Iraq formed their leadership model. In extremely dangerous situations and with only seconds to act, there was no time for communication or leadership that was in any way ineffective. It is an easy read with lots of great insight into how to enable those you lead to invest in the success of the team and mission.
Two concepts that I have implemented with my student staff are: Prioritize and Execute and Decentralized Command. These both translate to the world of tech support and customer service. Although our customers are not being shot at or shooting at us … on most days … the chaos and tension of the moment do create a need for extreme focus.
The concept that has impacted our work together most is, Prioritize and Execute which we have adapted to be A.P.E. or Assess, Prioritize and Execute. This connects directly to the value millennial students’ place on their desire to be a part of the solution rather than just be told what to do.
We have broken up our staff into teams with a mix of experience and send them on “missions” to solve tech issues. They are assessed on how well they take their training in this area and focus it on the tech problems they find. Too often we find ourselves in chaotic situations (again, not as dangerous as war torn Mosul, Iraq) where the customer needs a resolution to their issue right now.
it can be very easy to get overwhelmed and misread the clues needed to provide a solution. The A.P.E. structure gives my staff a frame to put around any situation and calmly provide the support that is both timely and effective. Again, they also are given a strategic roll in this process that makes their pursuit of a solution personal. Since implementing this process in teams, we have seen our task completion rate increase. The student staff work together better and … the bottom line is the customers are happier 😃
Directing a staff of millenial students bears some similarities to leading adults, but is unique with regards to the amount and depth of the many other concerns that can easily pull their focus away. While adults have had more time to work with life distractions, students are just learning how to navigate their often chaotic circumstances. Handing over some control or including millenials in the solution process is one thing that makes all of the difference.
More than just a slogan, “Saving the world, one piece of equipment at a time” is reminder to us and our customers that we are all in this together. I have found this to be one of the main components of success in leading a team of college age tech detectives - give them ownership of the solution and they will on most days positively rise to the occasion.