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Consortium for Service Innovation

Doubt: Knowledge is power. Why would I give that up?

Possible Underlying Beliefs

  • You want my knowledge so you can outsource my job and fire me.
  • I am only valued for what I know
  • No one else is going to give up their knowledge, why should I?

Suggestions for Discovery

  • Ask before coaching.
  • I can see how you could feel that way… can we talk more about that?
  • What are the things you enjoy about your job?

Key Points for Advocacy

  • Most support people don’t enjoy answering questions and solving issues they have already solved, they enjoy the challenge and satisfaction of solving new issues
  • Eliminate repetitive work
  • High-value work is solving new, we need people who are good at that

Reference Materials

  • Principle: Create value - work tasks, think big picture
  • Principle: Abundance - share more, learn more
  • Practice: Performance assessment

Sample Scenario

NOTE: This is a sample scenario that provides an example of how a conversation might go between a coach/influencer (Miguel) and a doubtful experienced knowledge worker (Scott). Coaching skills are denoted in blue.

Each situation will vary, and influencers will have to adjust their approach based on the situation. Listening and good judgment are required; it is important to be really curious.  We’re aiming to identify underlying beliefs so we can offer a different way of looking at things!.  Asking people to explain their concerns by demonstrating how they do their work can provide a lot of insight.

  • Miguel: Hi Scott
  • Scott: Oh hi….
  • Miguel: How’s it going?
  • Scott: Ok, very busy
  • Miguel: Well, do you have a few minutes to talk? Ask Before Coaching
  • Scott: A few…
  • Miguel: Thank you. Have you tried using the knowledge base? That might help you solve some of your many issues faster? Advocacy
  • Scott: I am not using the knowledge base, there is nothing of value in there.
  • Miguel: Oh… have you tried it? Inquiry
  • Scott: No one is going to put their knowledge in the KB.
  • Miguel: Oh?
  • Scott: We get paid for what we know… if we put our knowledge in the KB then you don’t need us. I really think it is an attempt to reduce staff or outsource our jobs.
  • Miguel: Well, I guess I can see how you could see it that way.  From what I have seen, management seems to appreciate the work you do. Appreciation
  • Scott: Hmmm
  • Miguel: Can you tell me more about the work you do? Inquiry
  • Scott: You don’t want to talk about outsourcing our jobs?
  • Miguel: We will get back to that. I would just like to understand more about what you do and what you like about it.Inquiry
  • Scott: Humph… ok…. I guess …like helping our customers and solving their issues.
  • Miguel: Nice, and are there types of issues you enjoy more than others? Inquiry
  • Scott: I guess I enjoy the challenge of the tough ones… even though they often take longer to solve.
  • Miguel: How often do you get tough ones? Inquiry
  • Scott: Probably about one or two a week. Depends on the development cycle and new releases.
  • Miguel: And the rest are pretty easy? Inquiry
  • Scott: Yeah
  • Miguel: Anything else you like about your job? Inquiry
  • Scott: Well …. ummm…I really like working in new product areas. You know, expanding my expertise.
  • Miguel: Would you like to work on more of the tough ones and fewer of the easy ones? Reflection, Inquiry
  • Scott: Sure, there is no challenge in the easy ones.
  • Miguel: Are the easy ones easy because you already know the answer or are they easy to figure out? Inquiry
  • Scott: Oh, mostly they are familiar, I already know the answers.  But it's good for my stats.
  • Miguel: Your stats?
  • Scott: You know … the stats on how many cases I close a month.
  • Miguel: Hmmm… I don’t think that is a key measure anymore. That was taken off the scorecard a few months ago. Advocacy
  • Scott: What?  I didn’t hear that.
  • Miguel: You should check with your manager about that.  But back to the work you get.  Would your job be more interesting if some of those easy cases went away? Inquiry
  • Scott: I guess so… if they have really changed the measures.
  • Miguel: Well the point of using the knowledge base is to solve an issue once and use it often. So if the easy, known issues are available through self-service the customer can find them and solve their issue without opening a case. Advocacy
  • Scott: Yeah? That sounds good theoretically. But it seems like less work means we need fewer people.
  • Miguel: Maybe… but we still need good problem solvers, like yourself to solve the new issues. Development isn’t going to stop doing new releases. Appreciation, Advocacy
  • Scott: Well…That’s true.
  • Miguel: The organization needs to keep people who create value, those who can solve the tough issues and have a broad skill set. Advocacy
  • Scott: Ok, I guess I can see that.
  • Miguel: If we are really successful with KCS, and that will take some time, the people we won’t need are those who are only solving the known issues. Advocacy
  • Scott: Oh you mean like Sam who only takes the easy cases from the queue?
  • Miguel: Well, I am not going to name any names but it does seem every team has a person or two who is known for that. Advocacy
  • Scott: So… you are saying: knowing the answer is not as important, or as valuable, as being able to figure out the answer?
  • Miguel: Right. Your value to the organization is not how many issues you know the answer to, it is your ability to solve new issues. And it sounds like you enjoy that. Advocacy, Reflection
  • Scott: Humph…
  • Miguel: But, to get rid of the known, easy issues, we have to capture them in the KB so we can promote them through self-service. Advocacy
  • Scott: Ah…so that’s what this “solve it once, use it often” means?!
  • Miguel: Yes! In fact, Barbara created an article about that common error message. It was published to self-service and has over 1000 hits just this month. AND… now development is looking at fixing the cause. Advocacy
  • Scott: Well… I guess I can see where that makes sense. But I need to talk to my manager about those case closure measures
  • Miguel: Yes. To your point earlier about outsourcing jobs. The business is growing and you have probably heard how hard it is to find the skills we need. Our goal is to improve our efficiency so that we don’t have to hire more people as the business grows. Reflection, Advocacy
  • Scott: So getting rid of the known, repetitive issues is how we improve our efficiency?
  • Miguel: That is one important piece of the puzzle. What do you think: would you be willing to try and use the knowledge base to capture the issues you solve so we won’t have to take that case again? Advocacy
  • Scott: Well… ok.  I might try it for a few of my cases.
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