Leadership Lesson 2: “I’m Glad You Asked”

Pam Kranhold’s Quality Department at Delta Dental Plan of California is revolutionizing the way they do business for government and their customers.

“Over the last two years,” she told me, “we have changed our leadership from a very bland ‘government’ approach to an innovative vision-mission-value focus! It took a number of months to get the leaders to put all their thoughts on the same page and circulate them to the employees.

“One way we are doing this is with meetings where leaders and employees could ask each other questions and share suggestions. We solicited ideas from employees and got more than a thousand in the first year, almost more than we knew what to do with. We organized the ideas and put them on a data base. The strongest incentive for employee feedback is always the willingness of management to listen. A secondary inducement is that everyone in our department gets a Quality Buck for each suggestion that they can spend on a showcase of items.

“This program totally revolutionized the company. Now, employees from other divisions are eager to work in our department.”