Missional Leadership: Coaching Internal Service

By Michael Neill, CSE

Missional leaders have a commitment to both internal and external service. The service we provide to the member is never better than the service we provide to each other. An organization cannot out-serve itself. Gallup Group research found that as much as 20 percent of an organization’s lost productivity is tied to poor communication and cooperation between departments.

I don’t think I have to go into too much more detail to validate the importance of internal service to missional leaders. So let me give you some suggestions on what to do this week to be a missional leader who is committed to both internal and external service.

  1. Remove the term, “back-office employees” from the credit union’s terminology. The term that should be used is “support employees.” If you work at the credit union, you are either directly serving the member or serving someone who is serving the member. People’s actions follow how they are defined. “Back-office employee” conjures up images of those who don’t have to look, speak or behave as professionally as those who are on the “front line.” Everyone is in the service business. Use missional language as a missional leader.
  2. Measure internal service. Set a standard for internal service. Place internal service survey scores in your employees’ evaluations with a weight of 15 percent or more because what gets inspected gets respected. What gets measured gets done. I recommend you use the Internal Service Survey, which I offer in conjunction with CUES, to measure internal service. After a period of time, set benchmark objectives for internal service survey scores and program the results into each employee’s evaluation with an appropriate weight. Get your managers coaching to the employees’ internal service survey results. Employees develop internal service action plans based on the results of their survey. We have seen hundreds of credit unions improve their scores significantly–and quickly–following this plan. Not surprisingly, the credit unions’ external service measurements rise as well. This only validates our conclusion: The service you provide to the member will never be better than the service you provide to each other. The Internal Service Survey provides training for measuring, debriefing the results, coaching, developing Internal Service Action Plans, and is very inexpensive.
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