Monday, January 16, 2012

#Deming14Points in REAL WORLD Office Reality:

I was hired to manage a market research, phone bank for a NYC radio station. My office had a glass window that looked into the call center, where 20-30 people would be on the phone, calling NYC radio listeners, to ask their opinions on the radio market and current music. 

My first day on the job, I walked into the boiler room/call center and introduced myself. RIGHT AWAY, that sent SHOCK WAVES through the call center workers. 

They said, I was the third manager, that year; and the first one to ever walk into the room. THEN, I would walk in, throughout the day; NOT to "inspect" and make sure everyone was pretending to work when the boss was in the room, watching. But, because THEY were the people on the phones, gathering the information from the people. And, it takes a full week to gather the information, before I had to input the data into the computer, to see the tabulated results. 

But, there was VALUE in having daily updates, throughout the week, because a record could suddenly stand out, and you can get a week's edge on the competition. And, because numbers on a page ARE good (and I am the MASTER of interpreting them); BUT, numbers on a sheet, can't replace hearing what the people on the phones are hearing from the listeners (customers). 

So, WHEN THE "LOW-LIFE, BOILER ROOM CALLERS," who were instructed to keep their heads down and don't make eye contact with the big shots, when they walk down the hall (Aka: if we could have had automated robots making the calls, instead of you people, we would push you out the window, instead of even letting you use the door on your way out, forever!), were being ASKED their opinions, based on what they were hearing from folks on the phone...WELL THEN, it became their challenge to try and come up with the best new info to highlight (as though they had some pride and joy in their jobs)...and they started to see the value in what they were doing, because I was so interested, and they could see the radio station ratings going UP and UP...and EVERYONE KNOWS, EVEN MORESO THAT POLITICS...a radio station program director can't even make a MOVE without the research stats to back it up. [It's like you job security..."DON'T BLAME ME! YOU SAW THE RESEARCH!"] 

Some of the workers ended up moving into other areas of the station, as I was able to introduce the fine, crop of programming up and comers to upper management. And the "secret weapon" researcher, who had a knack for being "right" based on his own interpretation of what he was hearing on the phone from listeners/customers got a sweet job for a national radio research firm in Washington, D.C. (Got to move out of the parents home in NJ!) 

I know #Deming14Points may sound like complicated, statistical, Harvard-level management stuff. (Which it is, and needs to be, if you are a manufacturer or hospital.) But in everyday office situation, where a manager has to manage/motive a staff to get some damn results produced, that story seems like a good example of #Deming14Points, in reality. 

It was ALL GLOOM and BAD RESULTS, cause it was all a game. Pretend to work when the boss is in his office looking through the glass window, a couple times a day...everyone pretend like this is the pace/as many completed surveys as can be expected...and let's just use these phones to call our friends and family; which makes it look like were working, in case the boss is looking. I didn't matter to the other previous managers, before me, that they didn't walk into the room, ever -- and that the workers were miserable, and were getting low-quality research, which is why the station had low-quality ratings -- and I was the third manager in a year. I don't know what happened, after that. I got promoted within the industry to Director of Charts for Billboard (Hot 100). But, I don't know if #Deming14Points had anything to do with it. ;) 

Zuma Dogg 
@ElectZuma/2013 Los Angeles Candidate for Mayor, based on @Deming14Points.

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