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A new edition of the book that lead the self-directed work teams revolution. Leading Self-Directed Work Teams is one of the best-selling books on teams ever published. Now, the perfect guide for any team leader has been revised and expanded to reflect the new realities of team-based organizations. By explaining how team leaders differ from conventional supervisors, this informative volume which is based on the author's successful seminars and workshops is especially useful for those managers who move from ...
A new edition of the book that lead the self-directed work teams revolution. Leading Self-Directed Work Teams is one of the best-selling books on teams ever published. Now, the perfect guide for any team leader has been revised and expanded to reflect the new realities of team-based organizations. By explaining how team leaders differ from conventional supervisors, this informative volume which is based on the author's successful seminars and workshops is especially useful for those managers who move from hierarchical to participatory structures.
This edition feature more practical examples and techniques than in the previous edition, new research, dozens of tips and checklists, case studies, and valuable training exercises. It has been used and praised by experts at Motorola, M.I.T., AT&T and many other organizations.
"The teams at Goodyear are now telling the boss how to run things. And I must say, I'm not doing a half-bad job because of it. "Empowerment has clearly become the latest in a long litany of vogue practices that have ebbed and flowed over corporations like the changing of the tide. Today it is estimated that virtually all major corporations in North America and Western Europe are using various forms of empowerment somewhere in their organizations. Many even utilize an advanced form of empowerment called self-directed work teams (SDWTs) - now more commonly termed high-performance work systems.
—Stanley Gault, chairman of Goodyear
The companies that take this seriously are convinced that employee empowerment is more than just another management fad. Why? Because real empowerment upends traditional organizational structures, policies, and practices and forces operations to question the traditional methods of management that have dominated corporations for the last hundred years. Many experts believe it is potentially as profound a change in contemporary organizations as the first industrial revolution was in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
Support for the empowerment transformation has come from a wide cross section of managers, employees, union executives, and professionals in a number of organizations ranging from steel mills to hospitals, from government offices to coal mines. It is not, of course, universally supported. But even managers like John Welch, chairman of General Electric, preach empowerment. Although highly respected for his ability to get results, Welch was once known as "Neutron Jack" for his autocratic style, manifested in dictates like the one that laid off 100,000 GE employees in the 1980s. Like a corporate neutron bomb, the action left all the buildings intact but eliminated the people. This isn't the profile of someone you might expect to tout the benefits of worker participation. But Jack Welch is now talking about a very different way to wage business warfare. "The idea of liberation and empowerment for our work force," he says, "is not enlightenment-it's a competitive necessity."
It soon became clear to me that management did, in fact, have a crucial role to play in the SDWTs. But it was not the role I was used to playing. Before I went to P&G, a brief stint as a manager with another organization had convinced me that traditional practices were the best way to manage. I soon found out, however, that many of the classic management practices I bad mastered in my previous job were entirely inconsistent with SDWT requirements. Many of the supervisory responsibilities I had had in the other organization, for example, were handled here by the team members themselves. And, despite my early skepticism about "turning the prison over to the inmates," it seemed to be producing extraordinary results.
The P&G Downy Fabric Softener team averaged 99.9 percent within quality limits, held numerous safety records, and could make, pack, and ship cases of product to our California Downy factory less expensively than what it cost the California factory to get it out to their own loading dock. Perhaps even more remarkable than the types of results the Lima plant was getting was the fact that, by the time I had arrived, this SDWT "experiment" had already been operating very successfully for over a dozen years. This clearly was not a momentary flash in the pan. It was turning out sustainable improvements then and has continued to do so for nearly four decades. And my experience convinced me that high-performance work systems required a nontraditional approach to management. What happens when traditional managers don't change? Consider the following:
Jack had honestly tried. His intentions had been good, his concern for results was unquestionable, and he had taken what he thought were the necessary actions to create the work culture change that his superiors wanted. Within a short period of time, however, he was moved out of his position. To add insult to injury, his new replacement succeeded in getting the self-directed work teams to function properly in a short period of time. The replacement rebuilt employee trust by listening to team members' concerns and making some modifications to the work design process to accommodate them.
Thousands of managers and supervisors like Jack hove seen their worlds suddenly turned upside down. Tens of thousands of others will face the same situation in the years to come. Once at the power pinnacle of the work floor or office, these newly named team leaders are now required to support rather than direct employees. They bear a variety of tides such as resource, facilitator, or advisor. Their new job descriptions use words like lead, coach, and train to replace the traditional hierarchical standbys like plan, organize, direct, and control. But for the majority of management this new role brings a host of new and sometimes uncomfortable demands. This is especially true in the organizations using self directed work teams. As their name implies, self-directed work teams require a fundamentally different and seemingly contradictory kind of leadership: bosses who don't boss....