Magnetic Hills and Frontline Staff

by | Mar 27, 2022 | Change, ICT4D, Learning |

magnetic hills

In Canada, there is a hill you can roll up, not down…it’s called the magnetic hill in New Brunswick, Canada. You drive your car to the bottom of the hill, put it in neutral, and then sit in awe as you ‘roll’ up the hill. It certainly messes with your mind.

Perhaps we need some of these types of hills in our organisations. Far too often we think about knowledge and projects being rolled out, by which we mean rolled down from the top. We still think hierarchical and so training is top down from global to national to district. We also tend to believe we need to start globally, at the ‘top’.

The strange thing is that when it comes to improving data management and quality, it can’t start at the ‘top’. We can have the most beautiful systems, processes, structures, and policies. And yet, they matter little if the data entered is incorrect, incomplete, or simply missed. Frontline staff might just be the most important aspect of data management and the most overlooked.

However, just like the car at the bottom of the magnetic hill, once we invest in the frontline staff improvement rolls magically ‘upward’. And yet, just like magnetic hills are a rare phenomenon, unfortunately organisations who invest in the frontline are just as rare.

And yet there is hope. I had always thought there was only one magnetic hill in Canada, but apparently there are at least 13 others in Canada. Perhaps more globally. Therefore, perhaps organisations investing in the frontline is not as rare as we think.

What can you do this week to invest in your frontline staff?

Photo by Kelsey K

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