Podcast: Simon Wiliams, TfL

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This week, Seth Adler talks to Simon Williams about his time at TfL as he leaves to begin a new role at Cambridge Assessment.  

Simon talks about implementing changes including getting staff out of a ticket office and into the public areas of stations, using technology to track issues with the network, and how to find solutions that can be implemented while keeping an integral part of London's infrastructure running. 

We started with a concept we called reachback. We can't take five and a half thousand people off the front line, because we've got to run a 24-7 operation. Instead we took a couple of people from each station, took them out of the business for a day, and run four or five different topics. We'd just say, 'What are your ideas about new technology or about the future of ticketing?' Or, 'How can we improve customer service?' Get those ideas down, and then we said, 'Go back to your station and just talk to your colleagues. Talk about what you heard when you were down here at our offsite center, get any further ideas from your colleagues, and then come back for another day and feed those extra ideas in.'

By doing that, we made connections with a much larger group of people, but that then formed the basis for a group of 250 change champions that we formed across stations, who became a conduit for briefing on changes that were coming out, on feeding in real, on-the-ground information. And by doing that, we were able to have a much better spread of the message than we can do through just a traditional management cascade and much better counterbalance to some of the other messaging that was coming from some of the external parties.