Are You Delivering a Service or Simply Focusing on Systems?

Mid summer and I was sitting in a sweltering downtown office space. The organization that I was visiting has a policy that in order to save money and conserve energy they will not run the air conditioning systems on the weekend. The policy makes good sense. Conserve energy by not providing climate control during unneeded times, but the implementation of that policy lacks a few considerations:

1. Are the hours for use of the environments known?
2. Is the implementation focused on the systems or the outcomes?

Availability system vs service faulty
Availability system vs service faulty

At end of day Friday this organization shuts down the air conditioning for the weekend, and then brings the air conditioning systems back on line Monday mornings. The problem is that workers arrive to an unbearably hot work environment Monday morning, and it doesn't cool down until later afternoon.

Good policy
Conserve energy by not providing climate control during periods whe it is not needed.

Bad interpretation of policy
Conserve energy by not running the air conditioning system on weekends.

The differences in the two statements above are very subtle but important when put in practice. In the figure above, the bad interpretation results in lost worker productivity. I'm sure that it was never the intent to create a sweat shop.

Focus on customer service. If you are going to move to work of higher value, you really do need to identify what the resultant value is in terms of services received not simply systems operated.


About Wayne McKinnon

Wayne McKinnon works with organizations to change their course of evolutions from extinct to distinct
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