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Part One: Introduction to Sparky
“How constantly quenching flash fires keeps managers from thinking ahead.”

Profile of Sparky
AKA: His Excellency of Urgency
Occupation: Firebug
Slogan: “Fire!”
Modus operandi: Starts early and works late so that machines break down, customer contacts peak unexpectedly, and flu epidemics keep employees from work.

Danielle’s Story
Her associate says, “You look frazzled,” and he is right. Danielle tries so hard, but never succeeds in finishing her work. She feels like the bear in the children’s song “The Bear Went over the Mountain.” When she makes it to the other side, all she sees is another mountain!

Jack’s Story
Jack is a manager of a 130-person call center who monitors breaks and lunches, even though the supervisors are theoretically in control of schedule adherence. He confronts late agents one at a time, making them uncomfortable. He really has nothing to say to them except that they should get their acts together. If he only knew why everyone except him cared so little about his or her job, then he could make things better.

Some days, he wishes he could begin anew, with a whole new set of employees. He would train supervisors and motivate employees better. Turning the center around may be too much to ask with this crew.

Indiana’s Story
Indiana Jones does not manage a call center. He is a respected college professor who, from time to time, sets off on adventures to achieve a goal, which is typically locating a valuable architectural artifact. As he begins his adventure, everything is nice and quiet… just like early morning in the call center. Not too far into his day, chaos ensues. Boulders break loose from the mountaintops and begin to fall on him. He ducks out of the way or finds shelter in a mountain cave. He is confronted with deadly snakes, evil bands of thieves, or runaway trains. If he is searching for something in an Egyptian bazaar, he will certainly run into unexpected trouble. He overcomes one disaster after another.

Luckily for Indiana, he has the ability to engage in the kind of thinking that allows him to ultimately reach his goals in about 2.5 hours.

But what about you? Can you spot the chaos of Sparky in your center and management style? In Part Two we’ll take a look at your nemesis Sparky to see how you can keep this villain from ruining your day.

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