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Bruce Holland

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How to Improve Your Corporate Services Team

Most Corporate Service Departments are a tiny fraction of the value they could be to the organisation.

This is a real waste because actually they are central to managing the organisation's intangible assets. Today about 90% of an organisation's market value is intangible (Knowledge assets, Relationship assets, Emotional assets and Time assets) and Corporate Services are right in the middle of it...but they just don't see it.

The program took two days. For more details...

It had nine parts:

1 Understanding ourselves and our customers

We started the workshop with Herrmann's Thinking Preferences. The wonderful thing about Herrmann is that people see (almost immediately) that people are different - it's like four quite different species living side by side. What's important to one type of person is far less important to other types. No amount of pushing or pulling or hoping will make them want the same thing. They also start to see that these differences are not a problem, they are a strength - even a necessity. Without these differences we'd only see those things that we value and relate to, it's only by bringing together different types that are we able to see the whole picture. Herrmann is a wonderful tool for helping people understand themselves, each other and their customers. For example, in this Department , we found there were a large number of Analytical types (quadrant A) and Structured types (quadrant B) but not many Humanitarians (quadrant C) or Innovators (quadrant D). The trouble was that their customers had a profile that was much more Humanitarian and Corporate Services suddenly realised that the way they had been reporting to the organisation was totally wrong, in that it reflected the way they thought much more than how their customers thought.

2 Identifying our genius factor

We also used Herrmann to start each person thinking about their genius factor. Every person is better at one thing than any other person in 10,000. Herrmann is the strongest tool I know of, to help people identify this thing . Herrmann shows them how they could become even more successful if they developed this strength and used it more often. Most people do the exact opposite, they try to overcome their weaknesses when they should be developing their strengths and teaming up with someone else who is strong where they are weak. For more details see the previous snippet: DoYouKnowYourGeniusFactor?

3 Understanding our Value Proposition

The senior managers had previously decided that the Ministry's Value Proposition was "Product Leadership". As a result, I was able to guide Corporate Services through a process to define the exact Culture, Leadership style and Service delivery required to support "Product Leadership". Before this alignment Corporate Services had been pushing in the wrong direction. I plan to write about alignment in a Strategic Snippet soon. So keep an eye out for it.

4 Clarifing the role

Many corporate service managers talk about being the 'oil in the machine' or the 'glue that holds the organisation together', however, they seldom talk about being the 'powerhouse', 'the centre' or 'the driver' of the organisation. At levels below management it's even worse. These people see themselves only as 'paying the bills' or 'working the pay'. They say: "I'm just a clerk/admin./office worker." Because they have not thought through the impact of their job they put themselves down and their effectiveness is reduced accordingly. Actually these people control the systems and processes of the organization and when they realise what Edward Deming said: "I should estimate that in my experience most troubles and most possibilities for improvement add up to proportions something like this: 94% belong to the system (responsibility of Corporate Services) and 6% special" they get a very different view about their importance.

5 Becoming more influential and confident

I asked people to think about somebody in whose presence they felt personally capable of achieving more than they thought they were capable of achieving. Each person was able to identify someone who had made them feel more powerful sometime in their life. I then ask them to think about the observable behaviors these people demonstrated (what they actually did) that made them feel stronger. The behaviours identified included such simple things as:

  • Seemed to care about me by spending lots of time with me
  • Listened without interruption or judgement
  • Showed honesty because I never heard them say anything bad about anyone else behind their backs
  • Expected more of me than I expected of myself
  • Believed in me by giving me a go
  • Challenged me in a difficult situation.

To find out about the other four parts of the program click on the link below.

So what was the outcome? What did the General Manager say at the end?

"Staff at all levels really enjoyed the practical and participative nature of the conference. They also got insights into themselves and others that will be hugely beneficial in both their working and private lives. They now value and understand their differences rather than trying to hide and conform to the expectations of others.

They also realised they are all individually leaders, and this really empowered them, particularly those in the lower paid positions. They are still talking about the experience 2 weeks later.

In a nutshell they had fun and at the same time boosted their confidence and self esteem which can only aid customer service and productivity.

I thoroughly recommend this leadership program developed by Bruce."

To find out about the other four parts...

Very best wishes.


Bruce Holland

Helps large organisations be focussed, fast and flexible. Places where people have more meaning, depth and connection.

Expert in Strategy, Structure, Culture and Leadership Development.

One of NZ's most experienced change agents.

Liberating the Human Spirit at Work
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