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BUILDING ENGAGED TEAM PERFORMANCE
Align Your Processes and People to Achieve Game-Changing Business Results
By DODD STARBIRD, ROLAND CAVANAGH
The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.Copyright © 2011Implementation Partners LLC
All rights reserved.
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.
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:
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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