No Image Available


Read more from TrainingZone

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1705321608055-0’); });

The Outcome: The Big Idea


JC hears what Trudy has to say about process improvement.

“So, tell me about these various ideas you have for improving things Trudy”.

Trudy explained three key ideas she had.

  • 1. Improving the communication between remote salespeople and the office. Trudy explained that she had been trying out different ways of inputting information into the main Act database via spreadsheets. She felt that with further development, the sales people could enter key information into a spreadsheet, which could be inputted simply to update the database. She explained that although the sales people could all have their own copies of the software and synchronise, that this approach would be much less expensive. She estimated that the internal staff spent on average one hour most days updating the database.

  • 2. Improving the quality of the reporting for the sales meetings. Similar to the previous idea by using spreadsheets to receive data, then combining them into one main spreadsheet. This would then output the reports by linking with the report word document. She felt that this would primarily save her time each month of roughly one day.

  • 3. Improving the ability to measure the quality of the sales forecasting. Again using spreadsheets for the sale people to enter data into, generating a monthly and quarterly main spreadsheet showing the closure of forecast sales. This process is currently calculated only for specific clients in discussion with the individual sales person, but is not available easily.

“How much impact do these processes have on your time at the moment?” I asked her.

“I estimated that to be around one to three days a month on average, and more on occasions,” she explained.

“How much time would you anticipate is required to create all of these spreadsheets and test them?” I asked.

“Well, I have got the basics of most of them as I have partially developed them, I was playing with the ideas at home. But I would imagine I would need a few days and a run of live tests to iron out the wrinkles,” she said.

“Do you feel that there is a particular priority within the three ideas?” I asked. “I have been thinking about that myself, and to be honest I think that they could all be introduced fairly easily for the users. That said, I think the database updating should be first, followed by the reporting and forecasting together in one spreadsheet on separate tabs for the users.”

“Do you feel you have the knowledge required to develop these yourself, or do you anticipate needing outside assistance?” I asked.

“Well”, she smiled. “My boyfriend is a spreadsheet guru in his job, and I am an enthusiastic amateur, but I have been developing and messing around with them for months now, it’s a bit of a secret passion, sad eh?” she laughed.

“So what do you feel the actual benefit in terms of savings v costs will be of introducing these into the system, and have you considered the training that would be required for everyone involved?”

“Ah, the training is not something I have considered fully, and I don’t actually have any actual figures for savings or costs, just estimates at the moment.”

“Well the ideas sound reasonable to me, what do you want to do with the ideas now?” I asked.

“From what you just asked about the costs, I think I should put together a full development and training cost, alongside a benefit outcome so that I can understand it better myself.

“How do you think you’ll feel when you have done that examination of the ideas?” I asked.

“A lot more certain that they are good ideas for the business, not just my good ideas,” she said thoughtfully.

“How long will you need to produce that information do you think?” I questioned.

Trudy thought for a while and suggested that she would need a couple of weeks at least to do a proper job of considering it from all angles.

“Shall we set the date for our next meeting just over two weeks from now, so that you can have this ready then?” I suggested.

Trudy was agreeable, and we scheduled the next meeting. “Just before we finish, let me make sure I understand where we are Trudy. You have three ideas for utilising spreadsheets to improve the speed and quality of communication by the external sales people, so that time can be saved at the office and the quality of reporting and forecasting is improved. Also, the forecasting will be able to be measured against actual results more readily than at present.

“You feel that there is a priority for implementing these, should this happen, and you feel that the updating of the main customer relationship manager database should be considered as priority one.

“Although you have some idea of the potential financial cost and benefits of these ideas becoming reality, you need to consider this in more detail and produce evidence and figures accordingly.

“You have suggested that you can produce this information within two weeks, and we have agreed to meet again for our second session in a little over that time, so that you can attend the meeting with the cost benefit analysis completed”.

“Yes, that’s right” she said positively.

“Excellent, well I personally think your ideas are very interesting, and I am looking forward to seeing the results of your further investigations and planning at the next session.”

“Thanks JC that has given me some serious food for thought.” Trudy starting gathering her papers together and pulled a face as she took a sip from her coffee, which she had allowed to go cold with her enthusiasm.

“Mine too”, I indicated looking at my half-full cup. “What are we like?” she smiled.

We closed the session and Trudy went back to her office, whilst I popped out to get a fresh coffee and prepare for my next session.

I had about 15 minutes before Bill was due to arrive, so I took a walk outside just to clear my head.

When I got back to the boardroom, I put Bill’s name at the top of the coaching sheet and got a drink of water, as I need to ration my coffee intake on days like these.

“Hi JC”, Bill said as he opened the boardroom door.

Key Points:

  • Make sure that you follow your model.

  • Avoid mentoring where possible.

  • Draw out consideration of realities that may not have been considered due to enthusiasm, but without de-motivating.

  • Utilise communication skills in a tone of voice and body language during sessions.

* Catch up with all instalments of The Outcome, including a profile of John Copeman at here.


Get the latest from TrainingZone.

Elevate your L&D expertise by subscribing to TrainingZone’s newsletter! Get curated insights, premium reports, and event updates from industry leaders.


Thank you!