This column is part of Globe Careers' Leadership Lab series, where executives and experts share their views and advice about leadership and management. Follow us at @Globe_Careers. Find all Leadership Lab stories at tgam.ca/leadershiplab
Leaders must micromanage.
I know, leaders are supposed to set the tone and direction for the organization and then let people drive to deliver the results expected.
A leader who micromanages is often scorned and encouraged to "get out of the kitchen" and let the workers do their thing.
Although I generally agree with this mantra, there is one huge exception that demands leadership hands-on involvement – the "customer moment."
This stuff should never be delegated.
The customer moment is that special instant when your most precious asset "touches" your organization. The moment of truth when things will either go brilliantly or horribly wrong. The moment when, based on the outcome, your customer will either decide to continue doing business with you or leave and scream to everyone around them about how terrible you are.
This moment requires an active deep-dive by the leader to ensure that the customer is dazzled, smitten, wowed, blown away and left breathless.
It requires the leader's fingerprints.
Here are 10 things a leader should do to micromanage the customer moment:
1. Tell your organization what you are up to and why it is so critically important to have blazing moments with your customers. Make sure everyone understands why you are "getting into the engine room" and getting your hands dirty. It's not a trust issue; it's a strategic one.
2. Declare what you expect every moment to "look like" – the key behaviours and outcome you expect.
3. Monitor moments. Open up your calendar to get to the front line and witness how moments are being handled.
4. Provide real-time feedback and coaching to your people engaging with moments.
5. Show them how it's done. Engage in some moments yourself and with your employees and give them a picture of what you expect a moment to look like for the customer.
6. Catch them doing the right thing. Praise someone who has just handled a moment superlatively. Recognize them in front of their peers. Get them to describe what they do in each moment.
7. Take notes of the things that get in the way of people being able to deliver dazzling moments. Rules, procedures and policies that are barriers to "wow." Be the champion who goes back inside the organization and removes the grunge that prevents the front line from doing what they have to do to achieve the right moments.
8. Be spontaneous. Show up unannounced. Leave your entourage behind. Make it about you, your folks and the moment.
9. Stream your experience to the rest of the organization. Publish what you learn for all to see and learn from.
10. Be consistent. Don't let the flame diminish. Keep your fingerprint on the moment. If you let it wane in your personal priority list, others will see, and conclude that the moment is simply another flavour-of-the-month.
Take personal ownership of the activities in your organization that are critical to serving your customers.
Do not delegate the stuff that will either make you win or lose. A customer moment is in this bag of stuff. It begs for your personal attention.
Roy Osing (@RoyOsing) is a former executive vice-president of Telus with over 33 years of leadership experience. He is a blogger, educator, coach, adviser and the author of the book series Be Different or Be Dead, dedicated to helping organizations and individuals stand out from the competitive herd.