We are in summer now, which means lots of swimming for me. I love to watch people enter the water, and I have noticed two types of approaches.

One is the ‘slow, cautious’ approach. People think and psych themselves up for ages before they walk in until the water is up to their thighs. They ‘get used to the temperature’ and eventually submerge the rest of their bodies, while they make all kinds of faces and squeal until their body adjusts.

Then there is the ‘dive right in and embrace the experience’ approach. They neither hesitate nor overthink it. They are fearless, and seem to get more swims in—fully embracing the experience.

I relate this approach of diving into the water the way Daniel Kahneman author of Thinking Fast and Slow describes the two different ways of thinking and making decisions. He notes the intuitive ‘gut reaction’ and the analytical ‘critical thinking’.

Last week, I facilitated a review meeting for one of my client’s executive teams. The team had received phenomenal results in the nine months prior and attributed part of its success to the fact that it didn’t get in the way and had allowed the frontline leaders to dive right in.

The team felt that if it had been involved early on in the design phase of their service transformation, too much logic and clever caution would have been applied, and the full potential may not have been achieved.

The team believed that by allowing the frontline leaders to dive right in, be empowered to fully submerge itself first, and make the service program its own is what led to the lasting results.

The impact on the company was newsworthy:

  • Its customer service ratings have gone from 2-star to consistent 4- and 5-stars in the past eight months.
  • Its employee online workplace portal has an increased traffic of 200% with people sharing and celebrating their wins.

… and it is unanimous that the overall culture of the organisation feels like it has lifted and is standing a little taller.

Maybe we should stand aside a little more, let the ones who want to dive right in experience it fully and show us what we are missing out on.

Jaquie Scammell

‘Love Being in Service’

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