Service management skills and culture for today’s organizations
Blog posted by: Jonathan Wafford, ITIL 4 Strategic Leader/Managing Professional, May 18, 2022.
What qualities, skills and organizational culture contribute to creating a successful service management team today?
This is important to know, as the Covid-19 pandemic has caused companies to change more rapidly: driving efficiencies and cutting costs that will help them avoid potential extinction next year or even next quarter.
Therefore, the skills and cultural behaviours required have become broader – not just either generalist or specialist – and people need to be willing to learn continuously and adapt.
ITIL 4 outlines three competency models:
- T-shaped – professionals with broad knowledge with expertise in one area.
- Pi-shaped – broad knowledge with deep expertise in two or more areas
- Comb-shaped – having multiple areas of expertise with broad knowledge
Organizations need a good balance of people with the skill sets and capabilities across all three competencies to enable effective service management and greater maturity.
What is service empathy?
Another vital element for the service management professional and team is service empathy: this is about considering the interests of others by placing yourself in their shoes.
This needs a certain amount of flexibility and emotional intelligence to empathize with others working in different business functions based on having sufficient understanding of their needs. Ultimately, it hinges on how a service manager can help their customer to have a better end result to their day or frustrating incident.
Getting this right is a so-called moment of truth – a key touch point that makes or breaks your service management success.
For traditional service managers originating from the IT function, this approach needs a different mindset: it’s less about fixing a server or application problem, closing the ticket and moving on but about the customer, their experience of service and the objectives they need to accomplish.
Overall, I believe company leadership teams are reconsidering strategy, direction and company culture because of the pandemic and this means people’s mindsets in service management are shifting to greater empathy.
Building a service management culture
The digital mindset necessary in today’s service management needs culture that is collaborative, creative, and continuously learning.
Taking an innovative approach to developing the ideas and skills of tomorrow needs to begin with the solid foundation of leadership empowering a change in culture.
To do this demands a clear picture of why and what’s in it for the people involved, as well as the organization. Presenting the rationale for change needs to be strategic, i.e. not like a hammer to the head but something like a distracting butterfly that people want to follow – reaching people on their level and showing them the value of change.
However, it’s also important to remember that the journey to changing culture is not perfect. You need to empower people to be part of the solution, offering practical ways to bring them into the conversation and gathering their ideas too.
Have we got there? Meaningful methods to measure improvement
How do you know if your organization has changed and improved its service management skills and culture?
In my view, it’s less about numbers. For example, if you survey people’s opinions and attitudes at the end of a culture change journey, are they more curious? Do they think the environment is a safe place to fail? How do they rate the focus on customers? How much does continual learning happen?
If leadership empowers and embraces this type of foundational change, these are the results they can expect – effectively changing the organization’s culture, approach to service management and employee experience.
Leaders who embrace this – and encourage empathy – will recognize why these elements of progress should be considered a success.
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