Wednesday, February 27, 2008

22) Oh, what a tattered web we weave...

As I have written before, my discovery of "The CRM Dilemma" did not come from CRM. I was simply seeking answers on why my fellow sales people had lied to me, when they said they would use CRM. Because I am an INTJ, I knew the answer must be outside the boundaries of what I was being told.

As I said in my research, I began to discover the secret hidden within the aversion to activity controls (Knowing the steps someone takes to achieve a known outcome). I looked at sports stars, chess players, taxi drivers, doctors, and many other groups, to determine the lengths that people will go, in order to have their activities not be controlled.

Because I also ultimately want CRM to work because I believe in it, I looked at possible ways to force CRM users, to get past "The CRM Dilemma" and use it, despite their fears. Once again, to find the answer we look outside the realm of CRM itself.

As I considered my last post, I began to think about the amount of time and energy it would have taken, for my contractor friend to hide his activities and mistakes from our reporting capabilities. I would also like to consider methods that could be used to ensure accurate reporting by our contractor. Remember, although we know the true reason for the resistance to this reporting, it will never be stated by him. I would also like you to consider the amount of time, energy, and money, spent on each step.

Remember: The goal of the system deployed to this contractor is to increase efficiency and profits for both him and us. No where is it stated in our goal, that we wish to bring punitive actions against him, for inefficiency, or using too much lumber.

What the contractor would do:
First line of defense - Excuses
  • "It takes too long to record each cut"
  • "The laptop is impossible to keep clean in a construction environment"
  • "The software is too complicated"
  • "The software is too slow"
Our response:
Address the concerns and provide solutions
  • Move to a weatherproof, handheld device
  • "Always on" software
  • Provide additional training and job site support
Contractor step 2: Promise to try the new tools and provide feedback.

Contractor step 3: Let the gaming begin!
The contractor has convinced himself, that despite our assurances of the system being to his benefit, what we are really looking for are ways to measure HIM. He has arranged with another contractor friend on the same system, that they will share lumber when required, in order to improve "Their numbers." They have also figured out that if they buy a few boards with their own money, they can improve their odds of winning the yearly prize for the "Most efficient contractor." The award will more than compensate them for any lumber purchased. They have also agreed to split the prize money.
They are now maintaining a spread sheet to keep track of the lumber, but it is becoming more difficult to keep it all straight.

The reports aren't making any sense
We are finding discrepancies in the amount of cuts reported, versus the amount of lumber being used. Because we require accurate information in order to achieve or efficiency goals, we look for additional tools to ensure more accurate reporting of lumber and cuts.

New tools are required
We discover that a company has produced a new saw that will automatically records cuts made, and upload the information each day to our database . By adding RFID chips to all the lumber, we can get an accurate picture and decrease the effort by our contractors in providing the information. The new saws are purchased, our suppliers have agreed to add RFID chips to lumber, and our contractors are trained on the new system. The contractors say they like the fact that less effort is required to record the information.

The contractors have to step up their gaming efforts
The contractors continue their lumber swapping and side purchasing of lumber. Several of the contractors have been reporting problems with the new saws and have said they have to keep their old saws around, because they are reliable and trusted. One saw per job simply isn't enough anyways. With the new saws reporting cuts and the old ones not, reporting is now becoming even more eratic. The contractors have demanded they receive additional and better quality saws that they can rely on.

It isn't difficult to determine what is going to be the end result in this hypothetical situation. The bottom line it seems, is there is not a snowball's chance in hell that the contractors are going to provide the information we are looking for. Each move by us will receive an effective counter-move by the contractors.
  • We will receive no pay back or benefit
  • The contractors will receive no benefit from the tools
  • From day one, the contractors had decided the new system was never designed to benefit them and it had to be defeated
  • Distrust on both sides will increase
  • An incredible amount of energy will be spent instead of focusing on building houses and making money
  • A huge amount of money will be spent by us, to address objections that were not really at the heart of the problem

In my last post, my contractor friend had said that if we could provide him with an effective Planning and Communication Tool, (PACT) it would be of true benefit to him. Since our original goal of efficiency and profits could be achieved, without monitoring lumber cuts, why would we not take activity controls out altogether?

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