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Addressing Challenges of Groups and Teams James King, Allison Compton, Jeremy Severson, and Ann Williams LDR 531 March 8, 2011 Dr. Molly Smith Addressing Challenges of Groups and Teams Competition and technology changes in the telecommunications industry has resulted in declining profits for Desert Communications Incorporated (DCI). The competitive business climate in the telecommunications industry requires DCI to initiate proactive strategies to drive profits. The conventional view of the customer contact center is as a cost center for supporting customer relations (Kaiser, 2011).

Learning Team B will demonstrate the advantages of converting the customer contact center into a profit center for cross-selling additional products and services available through Desert Communications Inc. The contact center employees will receive the necessary training and support to become a strategic operation contributing to company goals for profitability. Methods for Operational Change Incorporating new methods, ideas, technologies, or programs within an organization can face resistance, and if the resistance flourishes, employee activity protecting the status quo can build a counterculture against the change.

Change within a work unit that includes changing the job description is a recipe for failure without appropriate planning. Planning is an activity that incorporates decision-making regarding objectives, strategies, priorities, assignment of responsibilities, organization of work, and distribution of resources (Yukl, 2010). After identifying operational changes, communication of the changes is necessary for acceptance and support among the key employees at DCI. Without the appropriate training and feedback mechanisms, the employees responsible to execute operational change can encounter lack of nthusiasm and low morale (Fonseca, 2012). Providing telephone sales training, modeling behaviors, enforcing policies, and instituting rewards systems can create a culture of optimism. Telephone Sales Training Leading organizations view sales an extension of customer service and cross selling is imperative to company growth and customer preservation (Boe, 2011). Appropriate training will help contact center service representatives understand that a sale is an advanced level of service. This will allow call center representatives to recognize buyer needs, create opportunities to cross-sell, and close more business transactions.

Modeling Desired Behaviors Adherence to change requires people in charge to model the changes they wish to reinforce. Customer contact employees must follow policies regarding call handle time and attendance so incorporating upselling activities can place added pressure to daily requirements for employees. Therefore, it is critical for leadership consistently to model desired behaviors for optimal results (Green, 2006). Enforcing Policies Proficient managers are consistent enforcing policies and guidelines establishing a smooth department.

Without consistent enforcement, a supervisor’s actions can undermine a component of employee morale with unclear expectations. Contact center employees with a clear understanding of expectations will not perform to their full potential (Fonseca, 2012). Instituting Recognition and Rewards Instituting appropriate recognition and rewards systems is tenet of contact center motivation. The recognition and rewards must have clearly defined, achievable goals that are available to every employee and reward receipt must be timely (Heathfield, 2012).

Furthermore, the recognition and rewards must apply to key motivators, have incentives of value to the contact center employees, and encourage preferred behaviors. Team Training, Development, and Implementation Appropriate training development and delivery is critical for successful rollout out of the new service lines that DCI plans to implement. Because there must be different levels of training for new and existing employees at DCI tailoring training sessions to capture every employee at DCI is essential (“Developing effective instruction…,” 2008).

The proposed training topics include; (a) sales training, (b) customer support training, (c) service inquiry training, and (d) billing question training. Presentation and delivery of each topic in differing training platforms to warrant employee development and understanding is vital to success in implementation. With the addition of added services to DCI’s portfolio, it is imperative to add a sales department to assist the service and support department to maximize profits. Training and development implementation for the new sales division for every employee, regardless of the employees department must take place (Mayhew, 2012).

This will ensure that every employee can assist customers who wish to purchase DCI’s products. Furthermore, it is necessary for current employees to complete monthly online scenario training and comprehensive training classes. Additionally, each of the new sales department teams will have a sales mentor available to provide guidance and feedback on an ongoing basis. Prior to completing extensive training and development, it is critical to develop teams so throughout the training sessions team members can establish relationships with one another.

Therefore, before training initiates, each employee will complete a personality profile. The results of the personality profile, combined with current employee sales percentages, current employee service and support resolution percentages will determine assignment of the new department and team for current employees. This way teams that have deep-level diversity will begin forming relationships in training sessions, resulting in cohesion of the newly created teams (“Incorporating deep-level…,” 2010). Once team creation is complete, team-training sessions can ensue to develop each team further.

Complete training packages include team collaboration activities, instructor led sales or service and support presentations, participant guides, participant handouts, web-based tutorials, and team mentors to provide performance support (Grossman, 2009). The variety of training platforms will capture different learning styles and ensure that employees have the opportunity to learn through different mediums. Furthermore, multiple learning mediums layer learning opportunities to ensure employee understanding.

Web-based tutorials with simulation scenario training will always be available for employees with applications for each of the training topics. Creation and implementation of monthly simulation scenarios will ensure continued and ongoing growth and development for employees (Grossman, 2009). Each month, employees must complete two simulations; one simulation for service and support and one simulation for sales. Furthermore, employees must pass the simulations with no less than 90% accuracy or the employee must retake the simulation scenario.

Anticipating Conflict Because DCI plans to initiate major organizational changes, anticipation of employee conflict is necessary. The most effective approach DCI can use to minimize conflict within the organization is to ensure constant and consistent communication regarding the anticipated changes and outcomes (Cole, 2011). The leadership team must unify and support the efforts of DCI throughout the transition. Furthermore, the leadership team must be sensitive to the needs of the employees, especially employees resistant to the changes (Cole, 2011).

Once creation of the new teams takes place, the leadership team must anticipate conflict as the team members go through the storming stage of team development and discover their role on the team. The storming stage of team development is critical for team success; however, it is also the most difficult stage of team development. If the leadership team ignores the conflicts that arise throughout the storming stage, the new teams will fail upon the first signs of team stress at an imperative time for the business (Cole, 2011).

Therefore, leadership must prepare to exhibit and teach problem-solving and coping skills that will benefit the team once the team is ready to function as a unit independently. Collaboration Between Employees and Management Collaboration between employees and management during operational change is imperative. Developing a top-down culture at DCI that encourages rewards will open communication and collaboration (Jerralds, 2010). Sharing the corporate strategy and vision with every employee through various communication methods regularly is imperative to the company culture and company success.

Additionally, sharing financial results with employees will motivate the workforce to perform less like employees and more like entrepreneurial-minded strategic partners. DCI also must create a balanced scorecard and consistently maintain results to align merit bonuses and other monetary rewards. Furthermore, it is critical for DCI to celebrate successes to reinforce the company’s commitment to the strategy. DCI’s celebration of successes will promote a culture that encourages rewards while learning from mistakes. Use of Work Teams to Facilitate Change

Successful work teams and work groups require active leadership team roles in change implementation. Therefore, a strong and established leadership team is imperative to successful organizational change. When leadership teams establish clearly communicated, well-defined, attainable goals for the employees, change efforts will prove to be successful (“Organizing for successful…,” 2006). Once the leadership team has established clear and consistent communication tools and techniques, they can deliver messages to the employee teams.

The employee teams, created throughout the training process will be instrumental in facilitating the changes at DCI. Consequently, the leadership team must work closely with these teams to ensure success throughout the operational change. The organization must be affable in processing the changes because it will have a lasting effect on the designated teams. Conclusion For DCI successfully to change their organization from a call center to a profitable call and service center, leadership must incorporate strategic changes to the organizations operations.

Operational change includes planning and communication regarding the changes. Positive communication and clearly defined plans will encourage employees to start accepting changes. Presentation and delivery by leadership of each topic in differing training platforms to warrant employee development and understanding is vital to success in implementation. To avoid or minimize conflict, leadership must be consistent in their messages related to changes. Sharing the corporate strategy and vision with every employee through various communication methods consistently is imperative to the company culture and success.

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