Leadership by Listening; Leadership & Management

When you see someone visiting your site, it is human nature to question their motive: are they a client or prospect? are they an auditor? is something important happening?

Our clients use site visits to check up on their programs, but our management team takes advantage of site visits to not only check up on our processes but to reconnect with all of you.

I recently hit the road to begin a whirlwind tour of all of our sites. Here’s why this tour is necessary and what I hope to accomplish:

In our business, the GCS contact centers are where the rubber meets the road. It is imperative for management to visit the centers periodically and spend time with our service delivery teams to accomplish a number of mission critical objectives. I thought now was a good time to hit the road and complete a contact center tour to get closer to our core business and find out what I could do better to support our teams in the centers.

I spent last week visiting Wheeling and Lancaster. This week, I am in Huntington and next week headed to Yuma. The following week I am going to Mt. Hope to complete my tour of all the domestic contact centers. I sent out an outline in advance of roughly fifty topics to cover to make the visits as productive as possible.

For me, the most important thing is listening. In fact, the theme of my trip is ‘Leadership by Listening.’ I want to hear about each center’s successes so I can share those and any best practices with the other centers. I also want to hear about their greatest challenges.

Let’s face it, if we don’t foster an environment where managers are comfortable speaking about what they feel is challenging or not working then we are not in a position to properly support them.


Challenges always look different from 10,000 feet than they do at ground zero. My goal is to understand firsthand how our processes are working from the centers’ point of view so we can work together to seek continuous improvement.

I also think it is important to communicate in person to all of our associates. They receive regular communication from the contact center managers but they always like hearing from someone on the executive team. Our company has gone through significant challenges over the last year and we need to help our associates understand what happened, where we are now and what our plan is for the coming months. Everyone needs to hear about the ‘light at the end of the tunnel.’

My principle here is: When left to speculate, it is human nature for people to assume the worst.

That’s why it is so important to over-communicate and be visible in the centers, especially when our business has been negatively impacted.

Another principle is: You can’t play dead in a western.

When times get tough we need to motivate the associates with our plans for improvements and growth. They really appreciate honest and candid feedback which includes what each and every one of them can do to help.

And there is a lot of good news to share. Next month, we will see our largest increase in client demand for our services in over a year.  Additionally, it is an election year so we are seeing significant activity growing in the political arena. We are working on many strategies to meet these demands. This work comes in spikes, so having the ability to bring in 50 or 100 people on short notice is a great win-win for our associates, our clients and GCS.

Our message is simple: If we continue to work hard and deliver the best product or service, we will be successful.

Upon completing my tour, I hope to make recommendations for improvements and work with each contact center manager to set goals for the coming months. I know I will be in a much better position to do so after my visits.


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