Excerpts for Building Engaged Team Performance : Align Your Processes and People to Achieve Game-Changing Business Results


Align Your Processes and People to Achieve Game-Changing Business Results


The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

Copyright © 2011 Implementation Partners LLC
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-07-174226-9


Prologue: The GPS Story
PART I Engaged Team Performance, What and Why
Chapter 1: Engaged Team Performance at a Glance
Chapter 2: "As the Pendulum Swings"—A Brief History of Adventures in
Business Improvement
Chapter 3: From the Outside In: Understanding the Customer Experience
Chapter 4: Individual Goals: What You Measure Is What You Get
Chapter 5: Is It Process or Performance? Both!
Chapter 6: Changing Process: The GPS Story and the Power of Lean Six
Chapter 7: Power to the People: Facilitation and the Cycle of Change
Chapter 8: The Right Performance Metrics: Effectiveness and Efficiency
Chapter 9: Team Goals
Chapter 10: The Fluid Organization of the Future: Making the
Transformation to ETP
Chapter 11: Expectations, Rewards, and the Motivation to Excel
Chapter 12: The New Age of Collaboration: New Paradigms in Organization
and Competition
PART II Deploying Engaged Team Performance within Your Organization
Chapter 13: Eight Steps to Deploying Engaged Team Performance in Your
PART III The Path Forward
Chapter 14: The Role of Senior Leadership in Enabling Engaged Team
Chapter 15: Breakthrough: The Future of Engaged Team Performance
Appendix: The GPS Case Study



Engaged Team Performance at a Glance

If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

It's important to use the right tool for the job. This chapter will describe the key concepts of Engaged Team Performance (ETP), but we'll start by admitting that this tool set may not be for everybody. If you're a professional golfer, you may need to spend your valuable time reading other books instead of this one.

While a bit trite, the saying about the hammer and the nail is right on: sometimes people try to fit every problem into one tool set, and that doesn't always work out so well. Luckily, ETP is not just a hammer. It's a full set of performance improvement tools, shamelessly borrowed from the best thinking of the last 200 years, with concepts that have to be flexibly applied in different situations to drive optimum performance for teams. Most organizations can find great value in that kind of approach, but it's not for everyone.

Engaged Team Performance is the right approach for optimizing "production" teams—groups of people that share responsibility for delivering some kind of item to some kind of customer, whether in a manufacturing or a transactional or service environment. Production teams can create tangible products—say, manufacture a checkbook from a printing line or produce a can of beer from a packaging operation—but they can also produce softer yet just as critical deliverables such as process a claim, serve food at a restaurant, design a marketing campaign, or score points in a basketball game. When you think about it, teams produce almost everything. With such a wide definition, most groups of people in most organizations fall within this description, but there are certainly some "individual contributor" roles that don't fit the approach as well as others. You'll have to decide how well the description fits for your particular business or organization.

So while a professional golfer may not be the best team example, perhaps you remember the U.S. Olympic men's basketball team of 2004? The team of young NBA All-Stars probably had the 5 most talented players out of the 10 men out on the floor for almost every minute of each game that the team played in the tournament. Every team it played against was hopelessly out-classed. And there were some fantastic dunks, blocks, and other individual performances as Team USA lost to Puerto Rico, Lithuania, and Argentina on its run to the bronze medal. Ouch.

Wikipedia's analysis:

Determined to put an end to these recent failures, USA Basketball has changed its philosophy and has looked to field complete teams instead of piecing together rosters of NBA All-Stars at the last minute ... USA won gold ... at the 2008 Summer Olympics with a dominant performance. (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_ men's_national_basketball_team)

Basketball teams may need ETP. Work teams at companies certainly need ETP, in manufacturing as well as service industries. Hey, maybe even a golfer and her caddy count as a team too? All teams can benefit from Engaged Team Performance!

Engaged Team Performance is all about:

* Capable processes with efficient flow

* Focus to deliver consistently on critical customer requirements

* Visual and available data for immediate decision making

* The right staffing and resources for sustainable capacity

* Deep personal skills and knowledge, supported by a long-term development plan

* Standards and accountabilities for both team and individual performance

* Team (not individual!) goals and incentives for team success

* Fluid Form organization with norms to support collaboration and flexibility

* Strong, yet engaging, leadership that lets the team own the execution

Integrated in a mutually supporting way, the above attributes help organizations to vastly improve their results, both in effectiveness of performance for customers and in efficiency in use of resources. The approach draws upon a core understanding of customers' needs and requires strong, proactive leadership.

Many readers may recognize core components of other methodologies in Figure 1-1; people who "grow up" under certain systems tend to put everything new that they learn into the context of the things that they already know, just like the saying about the hammer and the nail at the beginning of this chapter. So if you're looking at this and saying, "This is just [my favorite approach] done right," you're probably correct to some extent, but you'll see as we proceed that it's quite a bit more.

Like many of the methods such as Lean Six Sigma that came before it, Engaged Team Performance is not all new. The approach draws heavily from other theories, methods, and tools. But it drives breakthrough gains in results that none of those prior methods can claim to have consistently attained. The secret is that ETP is a combination of great work from W. Edwards Deming's Total Quality Management movement, Motorola's Six Sigma, and Taiichi Ohno's Toyota Production System (the precursor to Lean Enterprise), with key ideas added from pioneers in employee engagement like Peter Drucker in Managing in the Next Society, Jack Stack in The Great Game of Business, and James Belasco and Ralph Stayer in Flight of the Buffalo.

In many ways, Peter Drucker predicted the advent of the ETP approach, emphasizing the critical role that "knowledge workers" would play in the future economy. While he envisioned many of the important differences and future trends, Drucker was more effective in strategically presenting the challenges in managing the work of the future than he was in tactically identifying specific solutions. Nevertheless, his work was foundational and inspirational for the consulting industry that he developed, and many of us owe more to him than we know.

But there are also newer theories that are key to the ETP approach, such as Ord Elliott's theory of Fluid Form organizational design. In his book The Future Is Fluid Form, Ord says that Fluid Form is about flexing to have "the right people in the right place at the right time." The book describes the value of reducing hierarchy and engaging employees at all levels to make decisions and move themselves to the point of optimum impact at the right time.

We would like to strongly acknowledge the influence that Ord's Fluid Form approach has had on our development of Engaged Team Performance; in fact, you can probably already sense that our ETP approach is really a tactical, focused adaptation of a Fluid Form business operating system designed specifically for departmental work teams. We'd certainly encourage our readers to read Ord's book as well.

As we proceed, we will briefly discuss the history of process and performance improvement. Engaged Team Performance powerfully combines great process improvement methods with strong teamwork and performance management concepts. While we will demonstrate that the recent widespread adoption of process improvement approaches has resulted in some outstanding breakthroughs in efficiency, the point of this book is that current productivity gains are only the tip of the iceberg. When process and performance improvement are combined, the results are more than doubled.

After illustrating some of the challenges in typical organizations, we'll demonstrate the steps to achieving Engaged Team Performance using the Group Proposal Services (GPS) example that we introduced in the Prologue, as well as highlighting some other stories from companies that have implemented the approach too.

The eight-step ETP deployment process is:

1. Commit to change. Find a burning platform for change.

2. Measure and analyze the process. Investigate the current process and customer requirements, and measure outcomes and work standards.

3. Streamline the work. Improve the flow of the process to deliver value efficiently.

4. Make the work and data visible. Make the new work processes, collaborative norms, and control measures visually obvious in the workplace.

5. Organize the team. Reorganize and right-size the team for the work.

6. Set team goals. Assess team performance and establish team goals.

7. Lead the transition. Make a rational plan, and develop the skills, tools, systems, and knowledge to move the team to the envisioned future state.

8. Sustain Engaged Team Performance. Demonstrate performance over time!

We'll conclude with guidance for senior leaders in how to enable (and not unintentionally disable!) the efforts of the engaged teams that work in their divisions.

In sum, Engaged Team Performance is about combining the concepts of a Lean Six Sigma process with the strong team performance of a Fluid Form organization, applying those principles down to the most critical level of a departmental working team, and sustaining that team to work efficiently and effectively for the customer and the business.

Does that sound simple enough? It's really not so hard, but few teams have done it well and then proved their ability to sustain it. We'll introduce you to some of those pioneering organizations as we go, and hopefully you can send us some new examples in the next few years as you implement ETP!


"As the Pendulum Swings"—A Brief History of Adventures in Business Improvement

We'd like to take a quick look back at the more influential trends and programs that businesses have followed in the modern era. We're not going to go into a lot of detail; rather, we're hoping to give a sense of the key points of focus of each era, emphasizing the swings between production efficiency, quality, sociology, equipment, accounting, processes, and customer satisfaction. As shown in Figure 2-1, the pendulum of business improvement theory has swung widely and wildly, from precise management of dehumanizing small tasks to what some might call "touchie-feelie" attempts in social engineering; from efficiency to effectiveness; from process focus to customer centricity. Some eras built on what was learned in the previous years, while some apparently were simply reacting to the new conditions they encountered, but all conspired to deliver us here today.

Early Ideas

Many people think of Henry Ford as the inventor of the car. He wasn't. Ford's contribution was even more substantial: he figured out how to mass-produce cars cheaply and quickly, expanding the potential market by making them affordable and available for the vast majority of people. Ford was as much a philosopher as a businessman: his vision for the Model T wasn't just about making money; he wanted to introduce American families to the joy and the freedom of traveling.

So Ford revolutionized the landscape, both figuratively and literally, of the early twentieth century by taking a handcrafted car-manufacturing process and turning it into an assembly line. His original plant made 11 cars in its first month with the old process. A few years later, the same plant was making more than 1,000 cars each month. The new assembly process capitalized on the concept of the division of labor, breaking the car-making process into 84 areas that could be learned by different people. By dividing the work into manageable chunks, each worker could be an expert in making one part of the car. The assembly line was born.

Ford didn't invent the concept of division of labor either. He applied ideas that had been around for decades, including thoughts from Adam Smith, a Scottish economist who had lived a century earlier. Smith saw both positive and negative potential impacts from the predecessors of the assembly line. From Wikipedia's entry on Adam Smith:

Smith believed that division of labor would cause a great increase in production. One example he used was the making of pins: One worker could probably make only twenty pins per day. However, if ten people divided up the eighteen steps required to make a pin, they could make a combined amount of 48,000 pins in one day. However, Smith's views on division of labor are not unambiguously positive, and are typically mischaracterized. Smith says of the division of labor:

"In the progress of the division of labour, the employment of the far greater part of those who live by labour, that is, of the great body of the people, comes to be confined to a few very simple operations, frequently only one or two ... The man whose whole life is spent in performing a few simple operations, of which the effects too are, perhaps, always the same, or very nearly the same, has no occasion to exert his understanding, or to exercise his invention in finding out expedients for removing difficulties which never occur. He naturally loses, therefore, the habit of such exertion, and generally becomes as stupid and ignorant as it is possible for a human creature to become ... this is the state into which the labouring poor, that is, the great body of the people, must necessarily fall, unless government takes some pains to prevent it."

Like Ford, Smith was a philosopher as well as an economist. Smith was worried that taking the division of labor too far would result in boring, mindless jobs that relegated the poor worker to remain downtrodden forever. Smith wasn't able to envision the vast technological advances that have shifted some of those repetitive roles to machines, so his fears did not fully come to fruition; but the disparity between rich and poor has continued to increase over time, and jobs have in fact become much more specialized as he foresaw.

As a philosophical aside, consider how that specialization of knowledge has driven our society to become more fragile now compared with Smith's time two centuries ago. Back then, families knew how to do most of the basic things to survive: grow food, make cloth, build a home, etc. Compare that to our more specialized skills now, and it's obvious that we're more productive as a whole but not as self-sufficient as individuals. The "Hurricane Katrina effect" of societal breakdown after a global natural disaster such as a devastating earthquake or another massive hurricane would actually be worse today than it would have been back then, since most people today would be forced to depend on others for help that might never come. The people of two centuries ago would have just picked up the pieces, rebuilt, and moved on. Unfortunately, as a planet we probably have that challenge coming someday, and it's just a matter of time.

While Henry Ford was designing his first production line, Frederick Winslow Taylor was pioneering the management consulting industry. As described in his book The Principles of Scientific Management, Taylor created four principles of Scientific Management for the study and control of human work:

1. Replace anecdotal work methods with processes based on a scientific study of the tasks.

2. Proactively select, train, and develop each employee rather than passively leaving the employees to train themselves.

3. Provide detailed instruction for and supervision of each worker in the performance of that worker's specific task.

4. Divide work between managers and workers, so that the managers apply Scientific Management principles to planning the work and the workers actually perform the tasks.

With the methods and driving influence of people like Taylor, people like Ford applied the concepts of Scientific Management to enable substantial breakthrough performance improvements from the division of labor. Today almost every process, from applying for a mortgage to going through the buffet line, is somehow modeled after Ford's Model T production line. As we'll see later, some organizations eventually took the assembly-line concept too far, though perhaps without all the evil consequences that Smith feared.

The Early and Mid-Twentieth Century

While Taylor was the father of the management consulting industry in the nineteenth century, Peter Drucker became its twentieth-century godfather. Drucker identified some of the key trends in the evolving economy, including the shift toward transactional processes. Today manufacturing is only about 30 percent of the gross domestic product in the United States, and the other 70 percent comes from the service sector. And regardless of whether manufacturing or service, the majority of job roles have transformed to become what Drucker called "knowledge workers" and are the opposite of the mindless roles that Adam Smith feared. The new worker has indispensable skills and knowledge.

Peter Drucker realized that the methods and approaches Taylor created to measure and manage manufacturing work had been thoughtlessly copied and misapplied to knowledge work, and in his book Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices, he lamented the lack of follow-through on Taylor's principles:

Frederick W. Taylor was the first man in recorded history who deemed work deserving of systematic observation and study. On Taylor's "scientific management" rests, above all, the tremendous surge of affluence in the last seventy-five years which has lifted the working masses in the developed countries well above any level recorded before, even for the well-to-do. Taylor, though the Isaac Newton (or perhaps the Archimedes) of the science of work, laid only first foundations, however. Not much has been added to them since—even though he has been dead all of sixty years.



Excerpted from BUILDING ENGAGED TEAM PERFORMANCE by DODD STARBIRD. Copyright © 2011 by Implementation Partners LLC. Excerpted by permission of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc..
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