eNewsletters Articles

August 2010

Bill's Top Ten Melodies - for Leaders When Engaging your Workforce"

1. Try a Little Tenderness - With the economy tanking, companies pressing for more and people opting for worklife balance try using some empathy (both in positive and negative situations).
2. Celebration - Don't wait until the end of the project, catch people doing things right along the way.
3. Don't Rain on My Parade - Keep things on the positive. The last thing workers need today is a complaining and whining manager.
4. Listen, Do you Want to Know a Secret? - Take the time to communicate and share information with your staff. The most important tool in managing change is a communication plan about outlining what, when and how to communicate a change.
5. Satisfaction - Try to tailor you approaches with your employees based on their individual style, motivation and personality preferences so they "Can Get Some Satisfaction."
6. Walk Right In, Sit Right Down - Devote some time for one-on-ones with your staff. Even your more experienced and committed employees often have a need for a sounding board.
7. I'm a Believer - Don't expect the staff members to embrace a change when all they hear from you is, "here comes another one".
8. We Can Work it Out - Be flexible in supporting your employees with resources, sponsoring projects and with other personal needs to secure long term commitment. There is a big difference between compliance and commitment in terms of productivity impact.
9. Let the Sunshine In - Don't suppress the team spirit. Allow for some lighter moments and perhaps some team building activities so that the team (as well as individuals) can reflect on their positive aspects and accomplishments.
10. On the Sunny Side of the Street - Try to facilitate an upbeat, positive image on the team. Push back on the complainers on your team until they become problem solvers. Engage all team members so they feel they are active participants in work initiatives.

The Deadly Dozen Causes Cited For Project Team Failures

1.  Lack of sponsorship for critical projects
2.  Lack of cooperation among organizational leadership supporting projects
3.  The team leader not taking the time to assemble to "right team" for the project work required
4.  Lack of clear and consistent processes and tools
5.  Inability of leaders to "leave their egos" at the door in a project meeting setting
6.  Not spending adequate time during the initiating phase of the project to clearly define tasks, roles, norms and resources
7.  Not identifying stakeholders (and appropriate influence strategies) during the beginning and at various phases of the project
8.  Inability of the team and its leader to monitor the appropriate balance between time, schedule and quality
9.  Insufficient attention to team process vs. task
10. Not thinking systemically when making changes
11. Not paying attention to the implementation and transfer of the project team's work into the organization so that it is institutionalized
12. Ignoring the time associated with behavior change and training involved with the product being implemented by the team into the larger organization.

The Beat of Continuous Improvement and Change-Thinking Systemically

Any good change starts with direction. Top leaders focus on tools and processes that promote direction. Having a mission statement, goals and objectives along with guiding principles helps provide the direction to your organization and teams which helps in making people feel comfortable with change initiatives and support.

Once leadership provides this direction, it is important to get key people involved in gathering data so you can make intelligent choices about where changes are needed.

You can use internal design teams (composed of your most talented high potential employees) to solicit external information from customers and stakeholders, internal information about workflows and data concerning social needs that will help in identifying current and future opportunities (including gaps) regarding your organization systems.

Review this data for implications and systemic changes that will help you ensure a change "sticks" and is implemented for long term success in your organization.

Paying attention to a myriad of organizational components including your policies, procedures, facilities, decision making and information systems, human resource elements in addition to the structural systems will help produce systemic and lasting changes. In this manner the "left hand" will know what the "right hand" is doing to deliver effective products and services to your customers while maintaining a positive and engaged working environment that retains winning talent.

The easy way to remember the organizational components to developing a winning system is by remembering the word S-C-O-R-E.

The S stands for the SOCIAL SYSTEM. There will be definite implications from your strategy, change goals as well as data gathering activities that deal with the people side of operating and sustaining a newly designed business. By concentrating on this area, you are forced to look at and modify (at times) new competencies required, how you recruit and select personnel, performance contracting activities and other human resource processes associated with career planning.

The C stands for the COMMUNICATION SYSTEM. In managing change, you also need to think about how decisions are made and how information is stored, retrieved and accessed by the organization. If we only make modifications to our structure (which is so often the case) without paying attention to how communication within and outside the organization occurs, problems are likely to surface.

The O stands for the ORGANIZATIONAL ARRANGEMENT. Sometimes the attention to the structure of the organization is the only area some companies address when making change. This system addresses how you are going to organize to get the work done.

One organization I supported in the past removed several layers in their organization and titles as well. Once they reviewed their strategic direction and data, they established three systems for the organizational arrangement. You were either a member of the strategic system, coordinating system or operating system. The strategic system represented the top executives in the organization. Their jobs changed from day-to-day operational activities to being responsible for more external activities including gathering external information and bringing it back into the organization in order to be strategically innovative and competitive. The coordinating system was comprised of people that represented the only other layer of management (or mid-management). Their role was to take the information from the strategic system and " pass it on" to the operational units that were the organizational units responsible for producing the organizational outputs, whether they be products or services. They operational system was comprised of many self-directed work teams that were facilitated and coached by a member of the coordinating system.

The R stands for REWARD and RENEWAL SYSTEMS. If we are implementing change with improvements, we are often requiring changes in behavior, attitudes and/or skills. Adjustments in our reward systems will help reinforce changes in these areas. Otherwise, we may only encounter resistance or delayed commitment.

Renewal has much to do with how we will continually improve. By addressing renewal, we put into place a way to evaluate and monitor our changes to ensure success. Organizations that fail to do this, often find their implementation efforts fail in the long term. Renewal helps ensure long term and sustained success.

The E stands for EFFORT SYSTEMS (sometimes referred to as task, work or technical systems). Paying attention to issues such as policies, procedures, measurements and facilities are key areas that require a systemic view of work with any change or improvement effort.

There you have it. The way to compose, arrange and sustain to SCORE big!

For additional information concerning large scale improvement or change processes along with coaching, training and consulting to improve your organization contact Bill Stieber, Ph.D. at bill.s@stieber.com or 215-860-6098.

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