Darryl Stewart
By Darryl Stewart
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Depth

Developing depth takes strength of conviction and focus.  What do I mean by depth?  I am talking about the difference between WestJet and the long line of air operators who tried and failed in Canada.  Jetsgo, Canada 3000, Zoom and most recently Skyservice.  What is the difference?  For starters a focus on people.  People first, customers second – a mantra of most of the best customer service organizations in the world.  WestJet also has a simple business plan and they stick to it with focus and conviction.  These things give WestJet a depth that the others lacked, a whole new dimension.

I am talking about people and groups of people operating as if they really care about what they do.  Not “waiting for management” or “passing the buck”.  An organization with depth is far more adaptable and just plain more fun to work at.  Did you ever hear of  any of the “failures” mentioned above being distinguished for their focus on their people?  For the most part they were all distinguished by their focus on competing on low prices and fancy advertising.

IBEX has had a strong focus on people for a long time, the last few years have seen our focus go much deeper.  We have continued to stay true to our people focus while also developing a simple buisness plan and sticking to it.  The results of this – we see more clearly what we need to do each day and who needs to be in what place to get the job done and keep everyone growing.

The change in IBEX over the last few years was brought home to me the other day as I walked around the office.    As I moved about the office that day, I overheard three different meetings.  The first was a Pasture Development meeting (Marketing and Sales) where I overheard the question “how will our customers  feel about this?” asked in a very passionate manner and I heard some equally passionate replies and lively discussion.  Later I walked past the Mountain Do team meeting (system development) and I overheard a passionate discussion related to the T4 process in our new payroll system and how much different it should or should not be from our existing process.  Yet later, I overheard Alpine Crew (customer service) discussing a mistake we made (yes we make  mistakes) how we would make it right and how we would not repeat it – an open analysis of how we failed and what to do about it, without the slightest hint of blame and with passion from all on how we would turn this failure in an opportunity.  Three independent teams operating at a high level and making their own decisions based on principles we all know to be ours.

As I reflected on what I had overheard that day, I was impressed with the passion of everyone involved and the obvious determination of each group to find solutions, but honestly that is what I have come to expect from the Herd.  What I was most impressed with was the empowerment each group obviously felt AND the deep internal skills and capabilities each group had at their disposal to carry out their mandates.   This is the new depth that our focus has brought to us.

  1. The simplest and most enduring customer axiom I’ve ever come across is: “No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.” Customers can tell in an instant if the person on the other end of the phone or across the counter, etc. are engaged and ‘in it’ to contribute to the customer’s success or not.