The Human Factor

Have you ever reviewed a decision made by a large company and thought the decision seems crazy?  How often do you have to follow a process at work that seems inefficient and a waste of valuable resources?  I suspect it is all too often!  These inefficiencies are usually directly related to poor infrastructure purchasing decisions which are so critical to a company’s survival in today’s markets.

So what is the cause of poor business decisions?  Is it money? Not really, in today’s economy most companies only purchase solutions because the return on investment is just a few months.  Is it the lack of a suitable solution? Not at all!  Technology is moving at a faster rate than ever before.  For example, it is a common fact that by the time an electronic device reaches your local Best Buy store, there is another faster & cheaper device developed and ready to ship.  So what is it that can cause widespread damage in companies and inflict such devastation in the world’s economies?  It is what I have mordantly come to call “The Human Factor”.

I grew up in a family that owned a small business of 27 employees making components for Jaguar Cars in England and after 30 adult years of experience in the communications industry, I have seen many companies make decisions influenced by the human factor.  I now have at my disposal a team of business and technology experts that are very aware of the human factor and we regularly consult with companies to discuss business processes and technologies to help improve collaboration and ultimately profitability.

The definition of collaboration is “a process where two or more people or organizations work together to realize shared goals.  The key word here is “shared goals” because rarely are individuals actually driven by shared goals and it is here that the human factor plays havoc!

To explain, I need to introduce some “not so” fictional characters that you will recognize in your work environment.

Michael is 62 years old, and will retire in a few years. After 39 years with the company, he has got to a director level and commands lots of power.  His work environment is established and the last thing he wants is change!  It will make his job harder and all he wants to do is get to his company pension as soon as possible before the company collapses because of poor business practices and technology.  If the company spends money now he fears it could affect his pension.

Greg is 22 and just out of college but a really gifted technician with a bright future who manages the company’s technology infrastructure.  He loves gadgets and has the latest devices for just a couple of months before changing to the next newer, faster device, which is accordingly to Greg, “much better than the last one”.

Sarah is a single 38 year old office manager who is lonely and looking for a husband after a bad divorce 6 years ago.  She manages a team of 150 agents in a contact center. She is a good, but tough manager and won’t hesitate to fire a person if she doesn’t like them.  She has a crush on David, a good looking, 42 year old salesperson who sold them their original communication solution.  He visits every month with flowers and spends hours in Sarah’s office getting all the latest knowledge about what else he can sell to the company regardless of the companies actual need, after all, if he can make one more sale this month  he will get his bonus.

So here I am, with my consultation team around the boardroom table.  I have the best solution which will provide ground-breaking business efficiencies but if I don’t solve the influence of the Human Factor, the company will make another bad decision.  My challenge is – Michael doesn’t want change, Greg wants change every couple of months and Sarah………..She wants David!    This is the Human Factor.


Avatel Guest Blogger – Colin Jeffs, Avatel Enterprise Sales Director


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