Total Company Resource Management

One of the challenges that businesses face is providing a consistent level of service to its customers. This is even more challenging for businesses with more than one location. In the quest to assure consistent service, many companies impose standardized policies on its employees. Unfortunately, standardization can lead to service that is consistent but appears insensitive and uncaring to the customer!In this brief treatise, I propose a method for overcoming that weakness.Many in the business world will recognize the acronym CRM as Customer Relationship Management. Like many acronyms, it has different meanings in different industries. In the aviation world, for example, CRM stands for Crew Resource Management. As a pilot, I was required to learn and use CRM principles every day. With my varied experiences in aviation and in business, I believe there is a need for Crew Resource Management in the business world.HistoryToday in aviation, CRM is the application of personal and team management concepts to enhance the safe operation of aircraft, both on the ground and in the air. In the early days of aviation, the Captain was the sole source of presumed expertise on the flight deck, even if there was an experienced and competent co-pilot in the right seat. In fact, jokes were made that co-pilots were “self-loading baggage.”After some high profile accidents, such as United Airlines Flight 173 in 1978, it was recognized that all members of the cockpit crew should be more assertive in ensuring the safety of flight. Thus was born Cockpit Resource Management.Shortly thereafter, it became clear that flight attendants had an important part in ensuring the safety of flight, and the same acronym now stood for Crew Resource Management to acknowledge their significant role. It was soon recognized that every company employee played a role in flight safety, and, for a short period, the acronym became Company Resource Management. It has reverted to Crew Resource Management, probably because it sounds more compelling.CRM includes not only the pilots, but the entire aircrew, ground crew, and all others inside and outside the company who work together to ensure the aircraft arrives safely.I propose a new acronym for the business world, TCRM, Total Company Resource Management, to suggest that employees at every level need to understand their role in fulfilling the company mission. To accomplish this, senior management must ensure that all levels of management understand the human factors involved in staffing a successful business. Since not all will naturally have this understanding, managers, and especially new managers, must participate in human factors training. This is the only way that TCRM principles can become company philosophy.Basic Concepts of TCRMManagement must understand that lasting changes in behavior take time. Company employees are not just a collection of competent individuals with a single task; they are people who interact with one another on a daily basis, a team, if you will, all working to accomplish the company mission.Everyone’s behavior should foster company effectiveness, with everyone contributing to success. To be successful, there must be opportunities for practice. For example, off site meetings could be utilized to train employees on how to make a contribution, other than their day-to-day job assignment, to company success. Who’s to say, for example, that the mail clerk who visits every department can’t observe a process and ask why it’s done that way, and offer a suggestion for improvement.This will only happen if there is an open environment of inclusion, with a standardized vehicle for making suggestions for improvement. In many companies, however, the physical suggestion box has become a joke, resulting in its removal. The successor to the suggestion box is a company email system with a place for employees (and customers, in the best companies) to provide feedback and suggestions.But more important than a virtual suggestion box, is the opportunity for managers to see the employee in action. A great management style, in my opinion, is that used by some companies in the early 1970′s and made popular by management consultant Tom Peters in 1982. This is called Management by Wandering Around (or sometimes, Management by Walking Around). Why wait for a monthly or quarterly report to spot a problem, when you can mingle with people and immediately observe or hear that a change is needed. Managers must recognize that companies are made up of people, not numbers!Furthermore, every manager must practice the principle that what is right is more important than who is right! Managers must also understand why people do what they do. There are always underlying reasons why we behave the way we do. Every manager should be required to read appropriate magazine articles and books on human behavior as part of his or her job. The wheel doesn’t have to be re-invented, but we do have to understand how it works. If we can control our behavior, we can predict our performance. This is true at every level.It is important that TCRM is recognized as a normal behavior, not just an emergency procedure when things don’t go well. TCRM should infuse the business!TCRM TrainingTCRM training includes some very specific and focused topics. Team building and self-assessment are important parts of this training. We must understand each other’s weaknesses as well as our strengths. However, I agree with the authors of a Gallup Poll study that says we should focus on our strengths, and not on our weaknesses.The concept of team building comes from the world of horses pulling wagons. Some horses just don’t work well together. When you find a pair that does, they pull together, turn together, and share the workload. That’s what a team in the workplace must do.TCRM training also includes understanding problem solving and conflict resolution principles, and the concept that decisions should be made at the lowest possible level, leaving only major decisions for senior management. Of course, clear written instructions that are not open to faulty interpretation can help employees at every level understand their authority.Awareness and CommunicationIn the aviation world, maintaining situational awareness refers to being aware not only of other aircraft in your space, but also of one’s environment, including weather. Time, speed, and distance are important factors to keep in mind when in command of an airplane. In the business world, situational awareness could include being aware of new and emerging technologies, competitive forces at play, and governmental interference.Internal communication is still a weakness in many companies. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “the left hand doesn’t know what the right is doing.” The method by which information, by which I mean information that is clear, concise, and correct, is transferred from the management suite to the production floor, or from the shipping department to the quality control department, can sometimes be frustrating. Instead of complaining to one another, every employee should feel comfortable bringing the problem to the attention of management.ConclusionIn an airplane, the use of automated systems (like an autopilot) ensures a stable and passenger-friendly flight. In the corporate world, standardized procedures try to accomplish this so that customers have a consistent experience. The challenge is to allow for the varying levels of expectations by customers. This is especially challenging for companies with brick and mortar stores across regional and national boundaries.An effective TCRM process can help alleviate the challenges of getting everyone in the company to pull together.Total Company Resource Management can meet the challenge of providing a consistent level of service to customers. This level of intelligent standardization can lead to service that is not only world-class but is sensitive and caring to customers!

Health and Well Being for the Good Life

As we all know, our lifestyle choices can have a huge impact on our health and wellbeing. Fortunately, the keys to good health are available to all by simply paying close attention to nutrition and how we balance our daily lives.Nutrition: You are what you eat…A good diet is central to overall good health. But which are the best foods to include in your meals, and which ones are best avoided? It is important to make realistic, informed choices. As we all know the best way to eat is to follow a general guide that includes all the food groups. Fresh produce, when available, is simply the best for you. A simply rule is to fill your plate with food that is as varied and as colourful as possible. If half the plate is full of veggies then you know you are on the right track.Fitness: Time to get fit…Maintaining a ‘keep fit’ lifestyle doesn’t mean being confined to a sweaty gym or living at the aerobics studio. Choose an activity that you actually enjoy and you’re more likely to stick with it. A good daily walk is the best way to start and maintain fitness levels. Ask a buddy to share this activity with you and you both can enjoy a friendly chat as you go!Weight Control: Everyone is different…There’s no ideal weight that suits everybody. Each person has a different body and their healthy weight will be determined by different factors. Achieve and maintain your healthy weight by finding out what works best for you. Remember to eat a well balanced meal three times a day and include a few healthy snacks at mid-morning and mid-afternoon.Achieving Balance in Life…Work and family: Down with stress!
Have you achieved a healthy work-life balance? Sometimes we forget to address the emotional side of things – yet when we’re under stress at work, it can affect our performance and our confidence levels can suffer as a result. Take time each day to check in with yourself. Has the day being about meeting the needs of others? Where were your emotions on the scale of 1 to 10? Take time to unwind at the end of the day. Talk to a friend when you feel overwhelmed. Plan plenty of special time together with the important people in your life.Complementary therapy: What’s it all about?Complementary therapy is increasingly popular today. Research the essential facts, so that you can become more informed about the different therapies on offer – and find out how they can play a part in your own continued good health and wellness. The modern day spa can be a great environment to discover therapeutic massage, reiki healing, Indian head massage and other professional therapies that have become part of a modern lifestyle that can keep you healthy as you deal with the daily grind.

Mind, Body, and Spirit Taken Seriously at the Gym

When the Spirit told me to exercise and join a gym it was something never considered and it came out of the blue while I was otherwise engaged in writing articles. The phone book provided me with the name of one nearby and with a complimentary pass for 2 weeks it seemed to be what my body needed. It was not, however, what the Spirit intended as within a few days a stand in the local mall highlights a women’s only gym not far away.From the minute I walked into it the Spirit was at work. This was the place and not only has my body benefited from my now four weeks there but the power is drawing many as it has fallen over those who are seeking. On the back wall is a sign which reads Mind, Body, Spirit. The women here are so in search of the latter.The lady who owns the club was the first to fall under it and she is now an ambassador bringing many to me for the power to reach into their hearts, mind, and personal lives. Now my time there is spent giving counselling and spiritual connection.Others have also had similar experiences outside of this gym. It happens that around 4 or 5 months ago the Spirit led me to a man in a coffee shop. It turns out that he is a physical trainer for other gyms and now he too is leading people to me for a spiritual flood of power.While this is happening in Canberra there are millions receiving this wonderful gift around Australia and in the wider world. We are in the last days and this is one of the signs as the gathering of God’s people takes place.My reincarnation and strong link to the Spirit of the Universe, the only real God, has given me knowledge that we are in a time when the children of the spirit are being harvested.