Chelsea Tractors, Rapport and Process Improvement


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Process improvement should be easy

You just stop doing the things a customer wouldn’t be happy to pay for.

Spend a day with some brown paper and post it notes and you will find a whole host of ways to improve your processes.

So why is it so hard?

Because people don’t believe that their processes are broken.  People optimise their processes around themselves, not their customers.  Why would they want to change that?

So if you are hell-bent on improving performance you should understand what they are optimising around

It all comes down to communication.

The levels of communication

If you don’t get people’s desires and motivations and they don’t trust your intentions, then you are wasting your time.  Lane 4 consulting have an interesting model that helps frame the way we communicate .

Level 1. Ritual

A series of actions performed according to a prescribed order.

How are you? Fine thank you, how are you?

Level 2. Fact

A thing that is known or proved to be true

It was a slow drive to work

Level 3. Opinion

A view or judgement, not necessarily based on knowledge.

I think the traffic on the school run this morning was dreadful

Level 4. Belief

An acceptance that something is true, especially one without proof.

It’s because of those people in their Chelsea tractors parking where they like

Level 5. Emotion

An instinctive intuitive feeling as distinguished from reasoning or knowledge.

They are so selfish, why can’t they walk their children from the car park like everybody else

Level 6. Rapport

A close and harmonious relationship

Ok, you are right, I shouldn’t park on the kerb, but the car park has been shut for a month, and besides, how jealous is everyone else of my shiny big car?

The higher up the model you communicate, the more likely you are to improve performance.

If you want to change the world understand motivation

We all optimise around ourselves, secretly we all want to drive a Chelsea Tractor — I want a black one — it is just we aren’t always that transparent about it.

Unless you understand my motivation, and I yours, it is unlikely that we will ever change.

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Image by Brian Fuller

Republished with author's permission from original post.

James Lawther
James Lawther is a middle-aged middle manager. To reach this highly elevated position he has worked for many organisations, from supermarkets to tax collectors and has had multiple roles from running a night shift to doing operational research. He gets upset by operations that don't work and mildly apoplectic about poor customer service.


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