Often in the Profit Talk Newsletter I have commented on the shift that is happening in the marketplace from selling products or services to selling solutions.
Well the same shift is also happening within companies to positions and personnel.
A friend of mine has an Office Administrator role within a successful company. She is experienced with a high level of productivity but she has recently been reduced to a 3 day work week (from 5 days).
Why? Well a number of the activities that have traditionally been in an Administrator’s role are either being automated with technology or can be outsourced at a fraction of the cost.
The same scenario is happening in all industries (and most positions!). In Canada it is not uncommon to see prescription kiosks in hospitals – displacing pharmacists and technicians.
What we are seeing is a Great Divide – on one side are skilled labour that (at the moment) can’t be outsourced or mechanized, and on the other side are packaged solutions or results based activities.
Tasks and task based jobs are falling into the Great Divide between the two sides.
The rule of thumb is if it can be automated or mechanized it can be commoditized, and if it can be commoditized it is falling in the Great Divide.
This is true for businesses and it’s also true for positions within a company. So what does is mean for your business?
Given that one of the marketplace forces is increasing efficiency, you should be continually reviewing your internal systems, technology and resources.
Are you using the marketplace changes to increase your business performance and productivity? Now that’s if you are operating a business. What does this mean for your team members?
Have them focus on the results of what they do more than the activities they are responsible for.
For example I will pay minimal $’s for someone to edit my teleseminars or webinars, but I am willing to pay a lot more $’s if someone takes my raw audio and can convert it into a finished product I can sell.
The outcome is a much greater value to me and I don’t have to create it or manage it.
If a team member or outsourced resource just does an activity or task, there will be minimal $ available, and the amount is decreasing (downwards commoditization pressure).
However if that same team member manages the whole project they become indispensable.
Let’s look at a carpet cleaning technician’s role. If the technician focuses on the activities of their job – even if they do a good job – it will be a minimally paying position.
However if the technician focuses on the total customer experience and relationship rather than just the activities, now they are positioning their role more as a partner in the company increasing total customer satisfaction and sales.
The problem is most companies have job descriptions that list activities rather than results and standards for the position – which usually leads to team members focusing on activities rather than the results.
Set your team members up for success – include the targeted results and outcomes for each position and during team meetings always include results and outcomes when talking about specific activities or projects.