Archive for April, 2012
For New England Crane School, Tango Training’s sister company, the season is now winding down. Crane operators don’t want to go to classes during the busy construction season in late spring, summer and early fall, so we operate primarily over the winter.
I’m proud to say that by the end of May, we will have licensed somewhere in the neighborhood of 35 crane operators this season. Why be proud of that? Because it’s something tangible, something we can see the results of. We’re helping to make the construction world a safer place for people to work. You need only be an occasional consumer of mainstream news to know that a crane accident can be a pretty serious thing. By helping operators meet the 2014 OSHA requirement to be nationally licensed, we’re doing our part to bring those accident statistics down. We’re also doing our part to help operators keep their jobs during a time of high unemployment.
I love the work I do in team building and leadership training and facilitation. But let’s face it, the results of that work will never be as visible and measurable as what we do for crane operators. At the end of a leadership development workshop, you don’t get to give the participants a test, proclaim them competent, and congratulate them for making the grade. Nor would we want to try! But there’s just something satisfying about the kind of program in which you can test for competency, and then watch the look of accomplishment (or relief, sometimes) on a participant’s face. It’s also satisfying to be able to track statistics on how many people you’ve helped to get a job or keep a job, and to be safer in the performance of that job. It’s something to be proud of, and we look forward to an even busier season next winter.
I’m in the middle of reading Micah Solomon’s and Leonardo Inghilleri’s book Exceptional Service Exceptional Profit: The Secrets of Building a Five-Star Customer Service Organization. For a former hospitality industry trainer like me, it’s been a re-hash of old ideas so far, with one exception: the authors recommend creating a lexicon of preferred language and phrasing for your organization.
Of course part of customer service training is always to examine appropriate and inappropriate uses of certain words and phrasing. We teach customer service reps to say things like, “let me help you with that” and not to say things like, “I’m sorry, but that’s policy.” And yet it never occurred to me to actually create, in writing, an organization-specific lexicon. A language manual of sorts, that would lay out conscious phrasing choices such as “my pleasure” for an upscale hotel company, instead of “OK” or “Yes sir.”
It made me start thinking about other uses for such a language manual. What about creating a teamwork lexicon? Such a manual would specify word and phrase choices such as:
- “We” instead of “I”
- “We made a mistake” instead of “you made a mistake”
- “What do you think?”
- “What other ways could we look at this?”
- “How do you see it?”
- “Let’s consider some different options”
- “I’m frustrated about ___. Do you have time to talk about it?”
So on and so forth. The possibilities are endless. And the lexicon could be laid out in a team charter or other such guiding document, and could be part of new employe orientation. The act of creating it would be a team building activity in and of itself.
What language would you put in a teamwork lexicon?