By Sarah Nicastro, Creator, Future of Field Service
As I’ve traveled from city to city the last two months for the Future of Field Service Live Tour, I’ve been reminded how much perspective is gained by meeting new people and seeing different places. By getting out of your comfort zone and removing the lens of familiarity. I grew up in a small town and I didn’t take my first flight until I was in college (my father still has never flown) so the opportunity to soak up these experiences is one I always cherish.
The feedback I’ve received from those who have joined us at the Paris, London, and Frankfurt stops of the Live Tour has echoed the value of perspective. Points such as “the event was insightful,” “I left re-energized about my objectives,” “this gave me food for thought AND food for action,” and “there’s so much power in collaborating in person this way,” have not only made me feel thankful for the ability to bring Future of Field Service to life in this way but have also reminded me of the power of fresh perspective. No one in attendance has all of the answers or a universal blueprint for success, but the act of stepping aside from the day-to-day for a few hours to engage with peers and share ideas has sparked new insights and new energy.
Thinking about the value of fresh perspective, I wonder if it is exactly what field service needs right now. Organizations spinning their wheels rather than achieving their objectives are almost always thinking too small, acting without input, or working inside siloes. Each of these challenges could be alleviated by seeking out more perspective.
For instance, I mentioned at last week’s Frankfurt event that it’s my opinion we need to stop hyper-focusing on “field” service and instead broaden our perspective to all of service. How does the organization operate? Field service shouldn’t be a silo. How is the value proposition presented to customers? Service should be seamless (which it isn’t when siloed). Do our customers only care about a positive field service experience, or a positive experience overall? In this scenario, taking in the perspective of the customer can point us to what changes need to be made within our strategy, execution, technology mix, or skills to ensure we are meeting today’s demands.
Perspective is also critical when it comes to recruiting, hiring and retention – as well as change management. Do you understand your employees’ wants, needs, and feelings? Do you try to put yourself in their shoes? Today’s talent is far different than that of even five years ago. Broadening your perspective on what they want and why they want it will help you achieve better results in a tight labor market. And when it comes to managing change, keeping the perspective of your employees top of mind is in many ways the key to success.
How Perspective Aids Change Management
At last week’s event, Marc Ringwelski, Product Manager at REMA TIP TOP shared how he has gained traction in the company’s journey to delivering outcomes-based service. The initial phase of this journey was to introduce the IFS platform to improve data accuracy and availability and to standardize processes. To help manage this change, he spent ample time doing ride-alongs with field technicians. When asked by the audience how he determined which feedback of theirs to incorporate, he said “I really tried to put myself in their shoes, and I was able to do that far better by seeing what they needed firsthand by joining them on the job.” The perspective he gained from this investment of his time not only helped the company to make improvements to the solution, but it showed the employees how much he valued their input.
While valuable, perspective isn’t always easy to gather because as humans we often like to believe we have it all figured out. The first step toward our own fresh perspective is realizing the value of thinking differently. From there we need exposure – you can’t change your perspective with the same-old, same-old. Whatever you’re needing to think differently on, step outside of your norm – go somewhere new, look outside of your industry for ideas, spend time with different people, ask varied opinions. Then work on listening to your gut on what you must hold true to and what beliefs or opinions or ideas it is time for you to make a shift on.
So much of service, of field service, is changing and fresh perspective can help take us outside of the view of that change being scary or daunting and instead help us see that it holds a wealth of opportunity.