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Evaluating Front Line Leadership At the 407 ETR. Winston Siegel, Partner, SwitchGear Consulting 416-566-7573 winston@switchgear.ca. Beth Carver Customer Service Executive 1-905-632-0000 bcarver@cogeco.ca. Learning Objectives. Learn about:

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Evaluating front line leadership at the 407 etr


Front Line Leadership

At the 407 ETR

Winston Siegel, Partner,

SwitchGear Consulting



Beth Carver

Customer Service Executive



Learning objectives
Learning Objectives

Learn about:

  • Success factors – an intro to the process of evaluating young leaders

  • SwitchGear Leadership criteria

  • Using leadership evaluation to get better results!

Front line leader issues
Front Line Leader Issues

  • Inconsistent accountability for results!

  • A need to elevate their thinking, project management!

  • Persistent team conflict, low rep satisfaction!

  • Poor Customer experience!

  • 1-2 years ago they were answering phones, now they have “keys to the car”

Do you know first line leaders fll like
Do You Know First Line Leaders (FLL) Like...?

  • Samika is bright, innovative. She finds new ways to improve processes. Can be defensive at times. Her team loves her but their results are typically 5-10% below target. A solid but infrequent skills coach. Often late for meetings / huddles.

  • George is good at the details, usually hits his numbers, well organized, but can be condescending to some weaker reps and peers. Quiet in weekly management meetings. Works extra hours.

  • Maria is mature, a good project manager, and does more coaching than her peers. Has several problem reps, has taken no corrective action in 3 months. Sometimes confrontational with you. Her results are up and down around monthly target.

Assessing their leadership
Assessing Their Leadership

  • Who of the 3 is your best performer?

  • Based on which criteria?

  • Should anyone be put on corrective development?

  • Who is most coachable and likely to develop the most over the next 2 years?

  • What is the leadership development plan for each?

    We will answer these questions by the end!

The missing link performance scorecard for fll
The Missing Link…Performance Scorecard for FLL

  • Already in place

    • Annual corporate review process, generic competencies

    • Some random leadership training and coaching

    • Subjective annual bonus

  • FLL Leadership development was lacking, no clear context for performance

    • Difficult to distinguish high achievers from average & low

    • No significant improvement over time

    • Hungry to learn

  • No management time or skill to tackle this.

Selected the switchgear solution
Selected the SwitchGear Solution

  • SwitchgearLeadership Performance Program

    • Leadership clearly defined, customized to contact centres

    • Equal balance between leadership and business outcomes

    • A well-defined implementation process and support

  • The program measures:

    • Business Metrics

      • Customer Satisfaction, FCR, Sales, AHT

    • Leadership

      • 5 categories of Leadership Attributes

  • Today’s presentation is about only the “Leadership” component of the program.

Defining leadership in call centres
Defining “Leadership” in Call Centres

  • We believe the right approach properly balances:

    • Management ability:control, admin, process

    • Leadership ability:motivation, change leadership, vision

    • Coaching ability:skill development, rep consistency

    • Personal EQ:empathy, maturity, work ethic

  • Defined for the role of a FLL

Two things are certain
Two Things are Certain…

  • To be able to develop your team’s collective leadership you must be able to

    • Articulate Leadership (and stick to it)

    • Set expectations for “leadership growth”

    • Gain their agreement to the process

    • Reward success.

  • Your FLL team all crave leadership knowledge and mentoring

Elements of a strong leadership evaluation program
Elements of a Strong Leadership Evaluation Program…

  • “Leadership” criteria is well articulated.

  • FLLs are held accountable for developing their skills.

  • Improvement expected each quarter.

  • Leadership performance is scored and connected to bonus.

  • Clear expectations in personal plans.

Elements of a strong leadership evaluation program1
Elements of a Strong LeadershipEvaluation Program…

  • A senior manager priority – they deliver the system and the coaching. Leadership vs. Process!

  • Delivered evaluations are clear, honest, have nuance.

  • Result: Agreement on Top, Average, Weak FLL and on next steps.

Elements of a strong leadership evaluation program2
Elements of a Strong LeadershipEvaluation Program…

…closely links leadership (and results!) to compensation.

  • $$ involved =

    • Visible Senior management commitment

    • The evaluations must happen

    • Puts teeth into FLL performance – real consequence for success and failure.

  • A FLL in a risk/reward model can earn above industry average – in return, the company gets stronger results, more accountable team.

Philosophy moving towards at risk compensation
Philosophy: Moving Towards “At Risk” Compensation

An example:



Switchgear leadership criteria
SwitchGear Leadership Criteria

  • The Broad Categories

    • Getting Things Done

    • Work Ethic, Integrity, Emotional Maturity

    • Change Leadership/Personal Standards

    • Ideas and Solutions

    • Development/Coaching Staff

  • 4-6 criteria per category - let’s focus on a few…

  • Below the 4-6 criteria are the “evidence factors” – these are the details that create quality reviews

How we developed the switchgear criteria
How we developed the SwitchGear criteria …

“In all the companies we worked, and with all the clients, we just couldn’t find leadership criteria that could help drive self-awareness and personal growth.

“We saw generic competencies, performance measures, and development plans but none that made young leaders go ‘Oh, I get it now!’ or added to their growth.

“We spent a few years asking our clients this question: what front line leaders performance issues do you grapple with – where would you like to see them improve?? Our list was born!”

1 getting things done
1.Getting Things Done

  • Clear about accountabilities, strong ownership for results.

  • Knows how to delegate & communicates clearly to increase productivity.

Work ethic integrity emotional maturity
Work Ethic, Integrity, Emotional Maturity

  • Handles tough issues with maturity, professionalism.

  • Trusted for honesty, keeping promises

Change leadership personal standards
Change Leadership / Personal Standards

  • Leads team through organizational change in a positive manner, reducing anxiety, earning buy-in.

  • Role models a respectful, positive attitude towards customers.

4 ideas and solutions
4. Ideas and Solutions

  • Quality of contribution in management meetings.

  • Open-minded to try new things.

5 development coaching of staff
5. Development/Coaching of Staff

  • Visible, constant improvement of staff skills and results.

  • Immediate, effective management of conflict on team.

There is a process to do this well
There is a process to do this well…

  • By discussing criteria = subjectivity

  • Get FLLs engaged in discussion – part of the learning. How will we collect evidence? How to make this fair?

  • Our experience? They accept the criteria but question the fairness of the process. You need a well-structured process for implementation.

  • Established trust and rapport advantageous!

Time to assess
Time to Assess

  • So How did George, Samika, Maria Do??

  • Let’s first start at the High Level

The full payout at quarter end
The Full Payout at Quarter End

George will earn $8,000 /year more than Samika and

$4,000 more than Maria – a reflection of his performance on Leadership and Results.

Samika s evaluation language of leadership is key
Samika’s Evaluation: Language of Leadership is key!

Samika – Your overall score of 74 is just at the “minimum acceptable level” and propped up by your “ideas and solutions” score which was very strong -- the best on the team. All your other categories are at or below the acceptable level. I have high expectations for your future but we need to get started:

Here is your Q2 action plan for leadership improvement:

  • 1st Priority: It is critical for you to get more organized. This should be next quarter’s primary focus. Your lack of a time management system has you falling behind, late for meetings, and stressed. Let’s discuss methods and discipline. Get this right and success will follow! I will coach you.

  • 2nd Priority: Get your team focused on hitting their sales targets. They are often distracted, off line, too chatty. If you get them focused you will see consistent success. Take advantage of your skill at coaching -- you have some of the best reps around but now let’s get them disciplined to do their jobs consistently. This is a leadership issue. You know how, choose to do it.

  • 3rd and 4th priority…

    If you follow this plan I know you will raise up your scores in 3 months and move towards your leadership bonus. I will be there to help you achieve this. Good luck!!

Giving a leadership evaluation but it s subjective
Giving a Leadership Evaluation “But it’s subjective!...”

  • Key success factors:

    • Avoid “right/ wrong” or “good/ bad” – about success, personal growth, the future

    • 2-way dialogue – ask questions, lead them to awareness

      but don’t let them off the hook

    • Collect evidence throughout the quarter

    • No surprises – feedback along the way

    • FLL “blind spots” are the coaching opportunities – look for scoring gaps between your score and his

How can we do more leadership development in call centres
How Can We Do More Leadership Development in Call Centres?

  • Elevate Leadership = Results-driven metrics focus.

  • Agreed set of leadership attributes.

  • Develop the skill to deliver tough, honest evaluations that make a difference.

  • Create upside, positive consequences for young leaders

  • Fight the inherent time constraints in Call Centres -- develop a strong, long term vision for the benefits of more leadership.

What are those benefits
What are those Benefits?

Better Results!

Stronger performance – results & culture

Lower attrition – FLL and Reps

A better customer and rep experience

Engaged leaders, personal growth, customized development

Your personal satisfaction in developing your team

So what happened at
So, what happened at ?

In the first 6 months…

  • Three FLL stepped up immediately

  • Time management

  • Ideas and improved processes

  • Side by side coaching

  • Team conflict

  • Missed deadlines

  • Delays in dealing with weak performers (FLL & Reps)


  • It takes commitment and vision to create strong leaders for the future of your business.

  • It also takes patience!

  • They (and you!) will become better leaders for your efforts

  • Good luck!

Evaluating front line leadership at the 407 etr

"The task of the leader is

to get his/her people

from where they are

to where they have not been."

Evaluating front line leadership at the 407 etr

Thank you – it has been

our pleasure!

Beth and Winston