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

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

by Dodd Starbird

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Harness the Power of Your Most Valuable Resource—Your Workforce!

Process improvement approaches like Six Sigma and Lean Enterprise have worked wonders for countless organizations, but in the drive for true excellence, these approaches are only one important part of the formula.

Building Engaged Team Performance explains


Harness the Power of Your Most Valuable Resource—Your Workforce!

Process improvement approaches like Six Sigma and Lean Enterprise have worked wonders for countless organizations, but in the drive for true excellence, these approaches are only one important part of the formula.

Building Engaged Team Performance explains the next wave of business improvement: driving breakthrough gains by integrating process improvement with “the people side” of performance.

Breaking new ground in the world of organizational improvement, performance management expert Dodd Starbird teams up with Roland Cavanagh, coauthor of the bestselling The Six Sigma Way, to present a system for aligning and optimizing processes and the efforts of any organization’s most valuable asset: people.

Combining the principles from Total Quality Management (TQM), Six Sigma, Lean, and Socio-Technical Systems, Engaged Team Performance helps you harness the massive potential of human performance that is not captured by process improvements alone. Illustrated through real-life stories, Building Engaged Team Performance offers a stepby- step program that shows you how you can more than double the productivity of your business. The authors’ client examples are a diverse group of transactional and manufacturing organizations that have used Engaged Team Performance to:

  • Increase employee efficiency by 50% and save millions of dollars
  • Consistently deliver on critical customer requirements
  • Provide visual data for instant decision making• Create realistic staffing models for sustainable capacity
  • Establish standards for both team and individual performance
  • Develop leadership that facilitates team ownership of execution

Building Engaged Team Performance provides the tools for building a superior system that optimizes effectiveness of outcomes for customers and efficiency of resource usage. Never before have human performance and process improvement been so closely linked in a single, sustainable method. Catch the next wave of business improvement with Engaged Team Performance.

Praise for Building Engaged Team Performance

“The Engaged Team Performance effort that we undertook has allowed us to reshape our process from start to finish and improve both productivity and the communication among multiple departments.”
Art Bacci, President & CEO, Principal Bank

“This book provides practical insights on building competencies of change leaders throughout the organization.”
Dr. William D. Trotter, Managing Director, Association of Internal Management Consultants (AIMC)

“By embedding these concepts into organizational culture, systems, and processes, a group of individuals may become a winning team.”
Dan Bell, President, Canon Information Technology Services

“When I led a division at GE during the heyday of Six Sigma, process excellence and team performance were both critical; yet they were considered different disciplines, supported by separate infrastructure. Engaged Team Performance combines and aligns the best of both, and it delivers even better results.”
C. Lewis Fain, President, Mortgage Payment Protection, Inc.

“If your strategic vision includes words like growth, customer loyalty, value creation, responsiveness, quality, expertise, partnership, accountability, efficiency, or best in class, then Building Engaged Team Performance has to be part of the foundation. Without it you’re just creating a house of cards.”
Rick Larson, CEO, VFD Technologies

Product Details

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


The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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



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:

Excerpted from BUILDING ENGAGED TEAM PERFORMANCE by DODD STARBIRD. Copyright © 2011 by Implementation Partners LLC. Excerpted by permission of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Dodd Starbird (Atlanta, GA) has 20 years of global business leadership expe¬rience in consulting, strategy, sales, finance, manufacturing, systems, quality, operations, human resources, and distribution management.

Dodd began his career in 1990 with the U.S. Army, achieving the rank of captain, and in 1996 he joined Coors Brewing Company to lead two production teams and facilitate Lean process improve¬ment efforts for its manufacturing operations. In his last role at Coors, Dodd led the warehouse and delivery operation for the company’s flagship Denver distribution center. He spearheaded a number of high-profile Lean Six Sigma projects for Cordis, a Johnson & Johnson Company, and then in 2001 he began his career as a consultant, becoming a coowner of Implementation Partners in 2004.

In his current role as a managing partner, Dodd leads change efforts that consistently achieve exceptional results for clients by integrating best-in-class process redesign, team performance, and change management tools together with broad business management, engaging leadership, and deep strategy deployment experience.

Dodd has a bachelor of science in Mechanical Engineering from the United States Military Academy at West Point and an MBA from the University of Denver. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with his wife, Celeste, and their four children, James, Aspen, Autumn, and Jade.

Roland R. Cavanagh, PE, (Jamestown, RI) is the author of What Is Design for Six Sigma? and coauthor of the popular business books The Six Sigma Way: How GE, Motorola and Other Top Companies Are Honing Their Performance and The Six Sigma Way Team Fieldbook: An Implementation Guide for Process Improvement Teams, published by McGraw-Hill.

Roland brings 34 years of leadership experience in consulting, product design, manufacturing, systems, quality, and operations to clients in industries ranging from energy, utilities, consumer products, retail, software and hardware to financial services, dis¬tribution, and medical devices, worldwide.

He has a proven ability to get results for clients by leading break¬through change efforts using world-class tools and his expertise in planning, designing, leading, and coaching the implementation of strategic business improvement deployments.

Roland has a bachelor of science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Davis, and is a Registered Professional Engineer (Mechanical). Roland and Jan Cavanagh live in Jamestown, Rhode Island, when they’re not on their boat somewhere on the Eastern Seaboard or pestering their son, Barrett, who is pursuing degrees in mechanical engineering and engineer¬ing management at the University of Vermont in Burlington.

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