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Chapter 3. Laying the Foundation for Tea... > The Four C's of Team Success - Pg. 31

Laying the Foundation for Team Success 31 When DBC, an industrial equipment manufacturer, formed its customer service team, it had high hopes the team would improve the company's relations with its customers. Here was the problem: Customers were complaining that orders were not being received when promised, and that often accessories that were supposed to be shipped with the equipment were not included. In addition, it often took several calls before the customer could arrange for shipment of the missing items. Investigation uncovered several problems: Sales reps would promise delivery without checking with the production department. Orders for accessories were processed separately from the order for the equipment. Shipping of orders was not coordinated. The solution: Form a task force consisting of sales reps, production schedulers, order processors, and shipping clerks for each region. Then, have them set up and implement a system to correct the problem. What happened? The team never really got off the ground. The team members couldn't see eye- to-eye on anything. Members representing each department cast aspersions on the capabilities of the other departments. I was retained to help work this out. It didn't take long to see that the members perceived their roles as defenders of their departments, and the other members as the enemy. My first move was to get them to agree on the team's purpose. I then asked them to spend 10 minutes with each of their fellow team members, as a start on getting to know each person as an individual. The immediate result: Once they accepted each other as colleagues working to solve a problem, not as competitors, or combatants defending themselves against the others, the air cleared and we were able to start working. Long-term result: A new system was developed to overcome the problems. Permanent teams were