Content By Tripp Babbitt

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By: Tripp Babbitt


OK, brace yourself for a shocking disclosure that will revolutionize service businesses everywhere. Are you ready? The role of support areas such as human resources, IT, finance, and of course, management is to... wait for it... support the core business. And by core business I’m talking about those who deliver what customers want or solve customer problems.

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By: Tripp Babbitt


The focus for management and support staff when diagnosing problems with customers is squarely on the front line. Many times the failure is diagnosed with the phrase, “If they would just follow the procedure, none of these problems would ever have happened.” If only resolving customer issues were this easy.

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By: Tripp Babbitt

The rhyme we all learned as children rings in my ears: Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall / Humpty Dumpty had a great fall / All the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put Humpty together again. I like to use Humpty Dumpty to describe companies that have functionally separated their work. These companies group similar tasks together, which shatters any cohesive workflow. For service industries especially, this can be extremely counterproductive.

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By: Tripp Babbitt

The recent NFL brouhaha over pay for performance (Saints style) has seen a lot of media coverage. An ESPN fan poll finds coaches more to blame (by a large margin) than the players. In the business world, this is the equivalent of workers “accepting” practices put in by management—as if they had a choice.

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By: Tripp Babbitt

American management has a long-established industrialized mindset in service industries. The trend started in post-WWII when the problem being solved in manufacturing was how to quickly provide products to a world that could only turn to the United States. This was because the competition (i.e., the rest of the world) had been devastated by the war. It didn’t matter how good the products were, so long as they satisfied demand.

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By: Tripp Babbitt

In 1862, the bloodiest battle in American history was fought on Sept. 17, and 23,000 soldiers from the North and South were killed in about 12 hours of fighting. This military “victory” for the North paved the way for Abraham Lincoln to issue the emancipation proclamation a few months later. Not 10 months later another battle occurred in Gettysburg from July 1–3, 1863, with 51,000 casualties over the three days.

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By: Tripp Babbitt

Too many service organizations use measures that disconnect them from customers. The result is predictable: higher costs and worse service.

In service organizations, the systemic relationship between purpose, measures, and method is often clouded. These measures have nothing to do with what matters to customers, but they drive all the ingenuity of the manager and worker. They typically have to do with activity and financial targets but do little to serve the customer.

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By: Tripp Babbitt

Long ago, W. Edwards Deming warned us about the use of what he called “arbitrary numerical goals.” Targets are another name for these. They are so commonplace that governments, service, and manufacturing organizations all use them. Targets have become accepted in all organizations, but this habitual use conceals the harm they actually do.

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By: Tripp Babbitt

Bounties in the National Football League (NFL)? Most fans were appalled when former professional basketball player, Charles Barkley, disclosed on The Dan Patrick Show that players will pool money, called a bounty, which goes to the player who hits an opponent hard enough to intimidate him. With a group competing for the bounty, the opposing player is in for rough time.

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By: Tripp Babbitt

I don’t know how much is spent on the benchmarking industry, but companies and governments seem to spend an awful lot on it. The idea of benchmarking seems plausible enough—compare your organization against competitors, and voilá… you can provide many years’ worth of projects and plans to bridge the gap. Many organizations choose to do so, but is it really worthwhile?

No.