My Willing Worker Award

Here is an image of the employee of the quarter award I received from Bill Scherkenbach. I have received other awards and I don’t think those awards were given with any more understanding of the contributions to results due to the management systems in those cases than was shown when giving me this award. Even […]
Also appeared on Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog https://management.curiouscatblog.net/2019/01/22/my-willing-worker-award/

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The Expansion of a Second Shift at ETM Manufacturing

ETM Manufacturing is proud to announce the expansion of manufacturing hours to include a second shift of employees.

 

With this expansion, ETM Manufacturing will be able to provide more timely turn-around, as well as improve our production capacity. We are actively seeking more ways to improve our production capabilities and expand beyond our current limits.

 

Please reach out to us if you have any projects we can support your team with, we’re actively working with new customers every day and would love to make you part of the ETM family!

 

-ETM Social Media Team

 

 
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Also appeared on ETM Manufacturing http://etmmfg.com/3958

20 Most Popular Posts on the Curious Cat Management Blog in 2018

These posts were the most popular posts on the Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog in 2018 (as measured by page views, as recorded by my analytics application). The Toyota Way – Two Pillars (2010) How to Manage What You Can’t Measure (2010) 94% Belongs to the System (2013) Stated Versus Revealed Preference (2013) Keys to […]
Also appeared on Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog https://management.curiouscatblog.net/2018/12/27/20-most-popular-posts-on-the-curious-cat-management-blog-in-2018/

What is the Most Effective Performance Management Approach?

In an evolving workplace, there is a growing trend suggesting end-of-year performance reviews are no longer effective. To remedy this, some companies have decided to utilize software to improve their process. Other companies have elected to eliminate reviews altogether. What is the most effective performance management approach?

Sarah Haynes

Performance reviews are often the subject of much scorn and mockery in the corporate world.  In my 15 years of consulting with dozens of clients, I’ve only encountered ONE that actually considered their performance management process to be integral to employee development, and truly valuable to their company.  For the rest, it was a forced exercise that did not appear to be linked to results, aside from bitterness and regret. According to a Deloitte Insights survey, 58% of the companies polled reported that they view their current performance management process as not being an effective use of time and only 8% reported that their process drives high levels of value. Why is this?

Performance reviews are almost always linked to compensation.

Reviewees are motivated to score themselves as highly as possible in order to secure the best possible raise for themselves.  Reviewers (the managers) are pushed by the company to average out the performance rating across all individuals in a given cost center. So, for every employee considered “exceptional”, there must be one considered “underperforming”.  It’s a terrible trade-off, and one that often pits managers against staff. I’ve actually had a boss ask me if I’d be OK with a sub-par rating, because he really needed to give a large raise to my co-worker in order to keep him from quitting.

In order to make performance reviews effective, the direct link between reviews and compensation must be broken.  This is the only way to create an environment for an honest conversation, where employees do not have to feel like they’re fighting for dollars and cents.  Secondly, managers should be coached on how to provide effective feedback to employees.  It’s not easy, and many managers will do anything to avoid an awkward conversation.  Lastly, performance feedback should be provided on a regular basis, at least once per quarter.  If you wait until the end of year to provide feedback on annual objectives, it’s way too late to correct course.

Only one of my bosses throughout my career actually cared enough to provide me with constructive feedback, during performance reviews, that I could use to improve my performance.  I truly valued the insightful feedback he provided. Of the others, some were not involved enough with my work to be able to provide feedback, and the rest – well, I guess they just didn’t want to get into it.  I know I would have appreciated it and felt more valued as an employee, if they had.

James Lawther

Fortunately, I am a deeply experienced manager with a track record of motivating and developing difficult employees.  I know exactly how to create a team of world-class employees with outstanding engagement scores. So learning from the workplace I have put in place an annual performance review at home.

I love my wife very much, she is funny, clever, tolerant and — if I say so myself — very pretty.  But when it comes down to domestic chores there are a few things she really could do better at, things that would dramatically improve her output and also increase her sense of work life balance.

It was important that I did this properly, I spent many hours researching my wife’s performance and crafting a review.  My relationship is important to me, so I have done it by the book, I:

  • Sought out 360 degree feedback, consulting neighbours and children
  • Made sure the evidence I used was specific and to the point
  • Catalogued her strengths (of which there are many) first
  • Captured a few clear weaknesses development areas for her to work on

Her review reads like this:

Annual Performance Appraisal 
Manager: James Lawther 
Employee: Christine Lawther 
Role: Wife

Key Skills and Competencies

1. Focus on Results: Below Average

Strength – Action focus: Proven capability to cook amazing meals during visits from your parents. B. this strength could be leveraged by cooking amazing meals when your parents are not visiting.

Development – Attention to Detail: On 3 separate occasions in the last week I have had to empty the washing machine and load the tumble dryer. This is a task for which I am not responsible as it is contained within your job description (wife).

Development – Completing and Finishing: Constantly distracted by fighting children whilst trying to complete simple jobs e.g. ironing. You need to develop your multitasking ability.

2. Influencing Ability: Good

Strength – Presentation: Very good at assuring me of the business case behind an investment in an expensive skiing holiday

Development – Influencing Junior Staff: Repeatedly have to shout at children in an effort to get them out of the house in time to get to school. This is a particular problem with the 15-year-old daughter.

3. Communication Skills: Below Average

Strength – Feedback: Ability to provide strong and timely feedback to me about my personal habits, specifically in relation to nocturnal activity and time keeping. N.B. there is a risk that this strength could become overplayed.

Development – Instruction: Your map reading ability is less than perfect. We have repeatedly found ourselves lost in large cities because of your inability to communicate clearly and concisely.  Unfortunately last year’s investment in satellite navigation technology this has not improved performance.

Overall Rating: Below Standard

The Performance Conversation

The meeting I arranged with my wife to discuss her performance didn’t go nearly as well as I had hoped.  My wife was withdrawn and I don’t believe she was really listening.  She was very focused on the overall rating and we didn’t have a value adding

conversation about the developmental feedback I had collated.   My “active listening techniques” fell on deaf ears.  Her demeanor was downright chilly until we discussed her annual pay rise.  Then she warmed up quite dramatically.

Pay for Performance

I’m a big believer in linking performance appraisals to performance pay, nothing focuses attention in quite the same way as money.  As I want my wife to be motivated to improve she needs to understand the consequences of poor performance.  As evidenced in her appraisal her performance was below standard, so I had little choice but to hold her house keeping money at a constant level.  If I had increased it I would have been accused of favoritism.

When I explained this to her, my wife had the audacity to suggest that many of the things I discussed were outside of her control.  She then become quite defensive and told me that I was equally accountable for household performance.

A Waste of Time

I won’t try another appraisal round next year.  My wife wasn’t remotely grateful for all the time and effort I put into it.  Instead I think we might just have a chat every now and then about the children.  It might be more productive.

A Simple Question

If performance appraisals go badly at home, why on earth do we think they will go well at work?

Ted Hessing

The Science of Encouraging High Performance

We humans are funny creatures. We don’t always act in our own best self-interest. And when we get into groups we don’t always make better decisions. Sometimes we build entire organizational practices that are nonsensical, counterproductiveanachronistic, and/or that we ourselves would not want to be subject to. Case in Point; Performance Management.

let’s take a user perspective rather than a managerial perspective. After all, they should be the same thing, right? It’s always a good idea to start with the client in mind and, under this perspective, the contributors we are seeking to encourage to high performance would be our clients. This perspective can be best understood by the concepts of Servant Leadership. Here’s an overview of servant leadership if this term is new to you.

What’s My Motivation?

Most performance management techniques revolve around 2 axis; rewards or penalties. On the rewards side we can call it salary, bonus, compensation, or whatever. But generally people are incentivized to high productivity via rewards. The flip side are penalties which could range from reduction or absence of rewards to reduced or eliminated security, status, and stability.

But is that carrot and stick approach the best system to use? Turns out the science says ‘no.’

Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose

In Daniel Pinks excellent book Drive: the Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us (and eponymous TED Talks), he reveals that the research say unequivocally no. Rather than re-state Pink’s message (see above 10 min video for a great overview); Rewards don’t work the way you’d expect them to.

It turns out that after a certain amount of compensation, rewards are actually counter-productive in terms of increasing performance in any endeavor requiring a modicum of cognitive skill. After that magic level of compensation, people require other attributes to be present in order to Got that?

In other words, if you want higher performance, you have to pay people enough where they aren’t worried about money but then you have to enable 3 other key attributes; autonomy, mastery, and purpose.

Thus,the overwhelmingly most popular way of incentivizing performance, reward vs penalty, is wrong. if you want to maximize performance, it turns out that you must optimize for motivation.

So, how does one do that? What’s the right way to handle performance management? If rewards are wrong (or at least only part of the story), then it seems we’d best change our performance management process to the other key factors Pink identifies; Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose.

Let’s take each one step by step.

Purpose

Per Pink, Purpose is each team member being able to say  “I know why I am here and what I contribute with (as an individual or as a team)” How do we maximize a sense of purpose? So, as managers with a strong background in quality and strategic deployment techniques seeking to maximize performance, how do we maximize a sense of purpose?

I like Simon Sinek’s approach of ‘Start with the Why. Again, if you haven’t seen this Ted talk, you’re missing out.

To my mind, conveying Why is all about alignment. Alignment between the strategic direction of the company and the front-line personnel executing the vision. Some techniques quality leaders can use that we can use to achieve, communicate and measure that alignment are:

If we want to maximize performance management, it behooves us to make the alignment of why behind what people are being asked to do explicitly clear.

Often, when we make that alignment clear we find that much of the resources of time, talent, and energy that people are currently expending

are in pursuit of things that don’t matter or don’t matter as much as other goals they could be working towards. And that is clearly a waste.

Mastery

If the next attribute in results is Mastery, then it makes sense to incorporate this into our performance management techniques. How can we best help people pursue and achieve mastery of their professions?

Some tools we can use to monitor and maximize mastery are visual management principles and gauge R&R techniques. Perhaps the two that I like best are Skill Matrix boards – an excellent

visual management of team skill mastery and credibility as described by Ray Dalio in Principles. However, there are countless adaptations of each that we can apply to skill acquisition.

Also, it is helpful to recognize that every member of a company has a profession (what they do) and an industry they perform it in (where they do it.) It makes sense from a performance management standpoint to help contributors to develop a strong understanding of both the skills and context for their role and their industry at large. T shaped employee management is an excellent framework for this/

Autonomy

Now that we’ve addressed how to manage clear alignment and skill acquisition – the why’s and what’s of a role – let’s move on the how’s.

Again Pink helped us by illustrating how autonomy and empowerment are crucial pieces of the performance management puzzle. And we helped ourselves by showing the alignment of the highest strategic goals of the company

Now, autonomy is scary for many managers. To overcome this hurdle we could use a ‘trust but verify’ model of cascading dashboards and assigning responsible parties for work streams. And the autocratic manager will be happy with this. But autocratic leadership has it’s limits.

Sources: Business Case Studies and Cleverism

Perhaps the best way to encourage autonomy to meet our desired performance management goals is to favor the empowerment of a Team of Teams model such as the ones favored by General Stanley McChrystal (and others) in his book Team of Teams.

Autonomy is best served by employee empowerment. There is a link between employee desire to participate on autonomous teams and having a significant sense of ownership in team outcomes. Simply put, members of autonomous teams desire the ability to make decisions in an entrepreneurial climate without too much managerial interference. And arguably employee empowerment is best achieved through managers leading by illustrating a clear vision and then getting out of their way.

 Bringing it All Together

As leaders it is important for us to recognize that performance management is itself a process. It’s subject to an equation Y=f(x) where f(x) is often more complex than we think. But fortunately, like any other process, it can be measured, faults found, and hypotheses tried, tested, and improved upon.

Robert Mitchell

As a Baldrige Examiner, I like to begin my roundtable discussions with a review of the Baldrige Criteria. Category 5 of the Criteria focuses on the Workforce. The Workforce category asks how the organization assesses Workforce Capability and Capacity needs and builds a workforce environment conducive to Engagement and High Performance. The Baldrige Criteria defines High Performance as ever-higher levels of overall organizational and individual performance, including quality, productivity, innovation rate and cycle time.

High performance results in improved service and value for customers and other stakeholders. High performance stems from and enhances workforce engagement. Some characteristics about workforce high performance:

  • It involves cooperation between management and the workforce; cooperation among work groups and teams; empowerment of employees and building personal accountability.
  • It may involve learning to build individual and organizational skills; creating flexible job design; decentralized decision making and making decisions closest to the front line.

My career experience, and observations of applicants to state and national quality programs using the Baldrige Criteria has revealed six key processes necessary to effectively encourage high performance:

  1. A Formal on-boarding as part of the New Employee Orientation process
  2. Providing immediate, open and honest feedback
  3. Regular, periodic “pulse” surveys to measure employee satisfaction and engagement
  4. Frank, two-way skip-level meetings between management and its people
  5. A Career Pathing process to manage employee progression
  6. A Learning & Development System that supports organizational needs and employee development
  7. Systems & Structures supporting compensation, benefits and policies, rewards, recognition, as well as incentives to encourage continuous improvement, intelligent risk-taking, innovation and customer focus.

For more information about these key business and workforce processes, I highly recommend learning about the Baldrige Excellence Framework and attending Baldrige Evaluator training.

The post What is the Most Effective Performance Management Approach? appeared first on Quality in Mind.

Also appeared on Quality in Mind http://asq.org/blog/2018/12/what-is-the-most-effective-performance-management-approach/

Options in Monitoring Environmental Management Systems

Environmental standards have taken a front-row seat in discussions around supply chain and manufacturing. Some would argue that environmental impact has a larger place than quality control at this point in the realm of public opinion. Clients and customers can be won and lost simply based on the reputation a company has regarding its production and the environment.

How do you go about monitoring such an impactful piece of your business? While it may be simple to oversee your manufacturing, it can be a bit more challenging to monitor your entire supply chain. Here are several options available to monitor environmental management systems throughout your supply chain.

Eco-Management and Audit Scheme

EMAS certifications were created by the European Commission. It focuses on improving the interactions a company has with its environment. As opposed to some other standards, it goes above and beyond by focusing on long-term solutions and development of environmental responsibility.

The European Commission reports that EMAS certification results in benefits like increased efficiency savings, improved client and customer relationships, and reduced incidents. With aspects like employee involvement, legal compliance, and long-term improvement, EMAS is a viable way to ensure high environmental standards.

ISO 14000

Akin to ISO 9001, the wildly popular standard that evaluates quality management systems (QMS), the ISO 14000 does the same for environmental management systems (EMS).  Suppliers holding certifications ISO 14001 or ISO 14006 represent standards of responsible production processes.

Suppliers having been audited to meet ISO 14001 tend to reap benefits such as reduction in waste and a positive marketing image. They are also far less likely to be shut down for pollution violations.

Many large-scale manufacturers use the ISO 14001 certification as their auditing tool for EMS amongst suppliers. They require the certification as a standard to ensure their suppliers are not in violation of pollution laws and are not contributing to harming the overall health of the environment.

Verification of Carbon Footprint

Regarding manufacturing, the carbon footprint is essentially the measurement of carbon dioxide (CO2) output during manufacturing, or in some cases during manufacturing and distribution. The carbon footprint verification has become important as we are now aware that CO2 is a major contributor to global warming.

A lower carbon footprint throughout the manufacturing process, including supply chain, ensures compliance with greenhouse gas reporting standards and compliance with the Kyoto Protocol.

A carbon footprint verification also goes a long way in convincing potential clients or customers of environmental responsibility and accountability.

Other Options in Monitoring EMS

Additionally, there are other certifications that can be used as a piece of an overall EMS monitoring standard. Recyclable content and biodegradability content certifications can add validity to an EMS. However, both standards can be difficult to verify and are subject to public perception.

Conclusion

Environmental Management Systems are a key cog in ensuring environmental health while maintaining manufacturing capabilities. Monitoring these systems throughout the supply chain is made possible through standards like EMAS, ISO 14000, and Carbon Footprint verification.

Also appeared on American Quality Management https://aqmauditing2014.tumblr.com/post/179796875340

One Thing We Can All Learn from the Auto Industry

By Chris Moustakas, DevonWay Inc.

GettyImages-599249608

 

We all have things that make our jobs challenging, at least some of the time. Personally, I feel like the industry I chose, enterprise software, is pretty hard, but it doesn’t hold a candle to how brutally hard the automotive industry is.

Consider:

They deal with a global, complex supply chain in which any interruption, whether political, natural, or self-inflicted, can have rippling effects with disastrous results. The number of pieces that go into a modern vehicle, and the degree to which their production has to be planned and coordinated, is nothing short of outstanding.

They are heavily regulated because when they mess up, people can die. All the airbags in the world won’t help a company that introduces a software flaw that, say, punches the accelerator when you turn on the wipers (make no mistake, that gas pedal is not connected to anything more than a digital sensor that can get its signals crossed just like anything else).

The product they build is an engineering marvel and therefore at least as complicated as it is impressive. But there’s no technological moat commanding fat margins – due to intense competition from all sides, they pour billions into capital projects and R&D, not to widen their lead, but to survive.

And they’re expected to innovate every year, like clockwork. If Fall comes around and they’re not introducing a new model, something is wrong. That pace of incremental evolution would be brutal enough, but on top of it they’re also dealing with potentially existential threats that could turn their whole business inside out – self-driving cars, electric vehicles, share vs. buy business models… Japan’s now even trying to introduce IRL flying cars!

(As an aside, if the pace of innovation for cars seems natural, compare a car now vs. one in the 90s to an airplane now vs. one in the 90s. Not only does the plane look and feel the same – it probably is the same plane.)

When we look at all these challenges, what is one clear and pervasive lesson we can draw from the auto industry? That in spite of all these obstacles, or probably because of them, they’re still able to maintain an insane focus on quality.

My wife and I bought a new car about a year and a half ago, our first in almost twenty years. Six months into our ownership we realized we were probably overdue for an oil change. We called the dealer to ask if we should bring it in and they practically laughed at us – it turns out that new cars’ engines are such tightly closed-loop systems that they only need their oil changed at most once a year – and you don’t have to remember because the car will let you know on its own.

Pretty much any model you buy that was designed after 2000 will be such a high-quality piece of manufacturing that it’ll last for as long as it takes you to get bored of it.

How do they do it? Although most automotive OEM’s have a lot of built-in inefficiencies, one area in which they excel is through well communicated, industry-wide standards. IATF 16949 (the auto industry’s version of ISO 9001) went into effect this month, September 2018, and it’s a perfect embodiment of that quality-centric spirit.

There’s no magic sauce in the standard – exhibit good leadership, communicate, find and resolve defects, and continually improve. It’s not magic, but it’s exact, explicit, and expected.

Write down what’s important to you and execute on it. Something we could all stand to do more of.

 

Chris Moustakas

President & CEO, DevonWay, Inc.

The post One Thing We Can All Learn from the Auto Industry appeared first on Quality in Mind.

Also appeared on Quality in Mind http://asq.org/blog/2018/11/one-thing-we-can-all-learn-from-the-auto-industry/

Change Management

How Can Successful Change Management be Achieved?

Prem Ranganath

Last year I was interviewed for a podcast where I was asked what about the biggest challenges I have observed with digital transformation. Some of the options presented to me were choosing the right methodology, talent, picking the right toolset, training and metrics. I acknowledged that those were certainly action items to keep on our radar, but to me the biggest challenge was our ability to shift the organizational mindset to embrace change by understanding the ‘what is changing’ and ‘why does it matter’. I have seen many organizations pursue transformation programs by chasing the actions that are more visible such as methodology and tools while a conversation on culture and change management is rarely even a line item on the plan.

Change management is typically not an area that organically invites many volunteers on transformation programs and therefore it should be a higher priority for leaders. In some organizations, I have seen change management being entirely outsourced because there is a belief that outsiders have a higher chance of influencing change. While it is helpful to have change management consultants mentor and coach leaders and managers, it is critical for the staff to see their leaders and managers lead the change. According to a McKinsey & Co. study, 70 percent of change programs fail to achieve their goals, largely due to employee resistance and lack of management support. The study further adds that when people are truly invested in change it is 30 percent more likely to stick. As the old adage goes, “be the change” is the simplest yet the most effective principle of change management.

In recent years, we have seen stories from early adopters of digital transformation and agile ways of working that they learned the hard way that seeing lasting outcomes from the changes and to sustain the initial interest and enthusiasm is no easy task. This is where change management comes in as real transformative change is about people, value systems and mindsets. While it might be tempting to associate transformation with apps, automation and tools sustainable transformation whose outcomes have an impact on hard and soft metrics, is really about people. If people believe in the change by seeing incremental and ongoing value realized then the probability of success jumps exponentially.

The only change framework that I have used for many years is Kotter’s 8-Step change model. I was introduced to this process by Dr. John Kotter’s groundbreaking work (and book) on ‘Leading Change’. As shown in the visual below, Kotter’s eight steps are anchored on the ‘Big Opportunity’ that is driving the changes. In many organizations, leaders and managers don’t invest enough time to frame their initiative within the context of a big opportunity. As a result, their teams are overwhelmed when the focus of change conversations is mostly centered on the volume of tasks that should be accomplished within a pre-determined timeframe. Imagine this situation to telling your family that they have to be ready for relocating to a new city in the next 2 weeks and the only context you provide is that “its going to be just great”. I don’t have to explain the imminent reaction!

Effective change management requires leaders and managers to invest time in framing the big opportunity and to build a coalition of change agents who can be pragmatic partners in enabling adoption throughout the organization. It is also important to secure buy-in from teams by planning for and demonstrating small wins so that there is improved visibility on ‘why do these changes matter’. I have to emphasize that change management cannot be done through PowerPoint or by publishing big updates to intranet locations. While internal social tools such as Slack can be very handy to push periodic updates on the program, stories on quick wins, testimonials from teams etc., the most effective tool is storytelling through conversations. Change management needs to be a social initiative and is also an exercise in building trust. Therefore, it important to humanize the what, why and who associated with the change initiative so that teams are excited about being part of the change and are willing to inspire their peers.

In a recent Forbes article focused on must-have CIO skills, the authors say that “CIOs have to learn to move from ‘trusted operators’ focusing on efficiency and cost to ‘change instigators’ and ‘business co-creators.”. This is consistent with several recent surveys and studies regarding adoption of agile technology delivery to large digital transformation initiatives. There is clearly a realization in most organizations that investment and commitment to soft initiatives such as change management is critical to energize the people for driving sustained growth, scale and competitive advantage.

After so many years of being dubbed as a topic for MBAs and management journals, I am excited to see organizations and teams look at change management as a core organizational capability. Change management is no longer tagged to a couple of roles. Impactful change can happen only when everyone in the organization is a change agent and commits to being the change. Now that change management is cool again, I have to recognize this achievement by giving it the #SOCOOL hashtag!

Babette Haken

Change management is about creating a culture which is comfortable with change. Which translates into a culture of becoming comfortable being uncomfortable. The pace and cadence of Industry 4.0 technology advances often means that software interfaces, and hence machine capabilities, are continuously changing. However, their human co-worker counterparts are not so versatile. Why? Because being comfortable and complacent with the way things are is a human attribute, not a software or equipment one.

Achieving successful change management starts with hiring practices and human capital strategy. Instead of an HR department using a procurement model (I need one more data scientist or CNC operator), what happens when employees also are hired based on their receptivity to change? When that happens, the workforce persona is more proactive, anticipatory, strategic and innovative. Rather than remaining ready to react to a tactical issue which might have been prevented.

Successful change management continues with retooling and recalibrating current employees, who initially were hired as reactive order-takers to, instead, become innovators. Making it “OK” to question processes, practices and decision making and, in turn, offering their own ideas, processes and insights. Create an inclusive and collaborative workforce culture. Rather than continuing to exclude or marginalize employees due to differences in education, pay scale, employment tier, you name it.

Taking small steps forward, and capturing and quantifying their impact on productivity and profitability, reinforces the impact that people make on the processes, software interfaces and machinery side of Industry40 transformation.

Change is inevitable. People resist when they perceive their roles as inconsequential in often profit-driven corporate cultures. When Change itself becomes a valued human attribute, then the culture moves from an age of mass production cultural model towards an Industry40, proactive and change-based one. Taking the first step requires brave leadership decision making, to drive change-driven cultural transformation. Are your leaders ready to take that first step forward, one millimeter beyond their current comfort level?

John Hunter

Change Management: Create a Culture Seeking Continual Improvement or Use Band-Aids?

You can try to push change in an ad hoc basis by adopting some strategies to create a similar feeling about the individual change effort. But that isn’t as effective as establishing them in the culture are. Strategies such as: going the gemba, pdsa, build trust via respect for people…

These tools and concepts build trust within the organization. The do that by showing people are respected and that the change effort isn’t just another in the long line of wasted effort for ineffectual change. The first part can be addressed, normally the second part can’t be addressed effectively. Often that is at the core of the issue with why the change effort isn’t working

How To Create a Continual Improvement Culture

Very few organizations take the nearly enough time to train and educate employees. If you want to create a culture of continual learning and improvement you almost certainly need to focus much more on education and learning than you are. Education can be formal but also focusing on learning as you apply quality tools is extremely useful and very overlooked. Coaching is a big part of doing this well, but coaching is another thing that is massively under-appreciated. Most supervisors and managers should be spending much more time coaching than they are.

Building the capacity of the organization to successfully adopt improvements will directly aid change efforts and also will build confidence that efforts to change are worthwhile and not, as with so many organizations, just busy work. People will be skeptical if they have a good reason to be so, and poor management practices found in many organizations give people plenty of reason to be skeptical that their efforts to improve will be successful.

Why Do People Fail to Adopt Better Management Methods?

One of the most costly mistakes in management is neglecting methods that have been known for a long time due to the mistake belief that if it was better everyone would already be doing it. Plenty of better management practices exist. All you have to do to gain an advantage is start using them.

Communicating Change

I believe the best way to communicate such changes are to explain how they tie into the long term vision of the organization. This requires that such a vision actually exists (which is often not the case). Then all strategies are communicated based on how they support and integrate with that vision. In addition that communication strategy incorporates an understanding about what weaknesses with past practices are addressed by this new strategy.

Build Your Circle of Influence to Grow Your Ability to Lead Change

On some current issue, I may have a very low chance of success for getting the organization to adopt an improvement I think is best. But certain actions can build the understanding that will allow me later to have more influence. This can even be completely separate from how people normally think of circle of influence. By building an organization that moves toward data based decision making and therefore reduces HiPPO (Highest Paid Person’s Opinion) decision making I increase my ability to influence decision making in the future.

Long term thinking is a very powerful, and much under-practiced, strategy. Your influence within an organization is limited today but has great potential to expand, if you act wisely.

Sarah Hayes

There are many approaches to Change Management – the Prosci “ADKAR” method and the “Bridges” method are quite popular right now.  My favorite, tried and true method is John Kotter’s 8 steps to change.  There’s a simple truth behind it:  people change what they do, not because they are given an analysis that changes their thinking, but because they are shown a truth that influences their feelings (Kotter, 2002).

1.create urgency – the proverbial “burning platform”.  So many executives want to downplay problems, to avoid panicking staff – they should be doing the opposite.  Create a shared understanding of the problem, and why it needs to be solved using different methods than those used in the past.

2.create a guiding coalition – those who really understand and feel the pain of the problem, and are best situated or prepared to lead the organization through change.

3.create a vision of where you want to obtain or achieve.  Not some vague statement like “become a world-class organization” (yawn), but something elegant, specific and motivating.  For example, when Steve Jobs was leading the development of the ipod, he referred to it as “a million songs in your pocket”.

4.communicate to get buy-in.  The goal with communication should be to catalyze people to action, not just keep them informed.  Acknowledge what people may be feeling, like anxiety, excitement, confusion, pride or anger.   One thing I’ve found to be very effective is to share examples of employees successfully “living the change”.  Keep communications simple, heartfelt, and frequent.

5.empower change agents.  Change agents are leaders (with a formal title or not) within the organization who have the ability and inclination to move the organization towards its vision from step 3.   Remember that you can’t hand out power in a gift bag – empowerment means providing an environment where people realize they are empowered.  For control freaks like me, this is VERY uncomfortable.  But if you have good change agents, the results can be amazing.

6.celebrate short-term wins.  These wins will build credibility and momentum for the longer-term effort.  Without them, the cynics and nay-sayers can sink any effort.

7.keep going.  It’s easy, after a few short-term wins, to declare victory and become complacent.  Or, you may reach a point in your change journey where you feel as if you’ve been doing this forever and you wonder if your organization is really any better off than when you started.  This is what Gartner refers to as the “trough of disillusionment”.  Use the momentum from step six to start tackling the tougher, more deep-rooted problems in your organization.  Don’t let up.

8.sustain the gains.  Re-inforce the changes you’ve made through promotions, new employee on-boarding, and employee incentives.  Don’t let old habits rise up and swallow your work.  While you can’t silence the cynics and pessimists, you can drown them out with messages and activities designed to support the changes you’ve made.

Change management is about shifting people’s behavior.  And the key to this shift is to engage people emotionally.  It’s messy, but it’s the only way to bring about meaningful, long-term change.  Wishing you the best of luck with your change management projects!

 Chris Moustakas

For a big organizational change to be successful, you really need to get everyone committed to the process. People tend to resist for many reasons, whether the implementation is a new policy, procedure, system, or some other form of restructure. There are some steps you can take to help get everyone on board and ensure a smooth process:

  1. Be open about the magnitude – Make sure individuals understand the magnitude of the change and how their roles will be affected.
  2. Communicate the long-term benefits – It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the possible short-term increase in work, so try to stay focused on how the change will benefit the team in the long-run.
  3. Handpick your champions – People will naturally follow those they respect, so encourage the ones who are already on board to spread the positivity (note: they won’t, and probably shouldn’t, be executives).
  4. Give everyone a way to participate – This one is crucial to getting everyone’s contribution. Give them a way to participate in improving on the change. Not only is this valuable feedback for management, but change should feel like a journey everyone is taking together, not a destination you handed them. You can gather suggestions, feedback, and improvement ideas with the use of surveys, meetings, forums, or software designed to facilitate change management.
  5. Celebrate wins, even if they’re small – Change doesn’t stop at implementation. Show your team the results of the change as they happen and how their participation makes a difference.
Lucina Paulise

Changes are more common now than ever, companies are going through changes all the time. It’s a new product, a new leadership team, a new safety program in place, new clients or new suppliers. The only constant is change. Understanding how to be agile to achieve successful change management has become a key skill to run a successful company, is not only for a big one-time project only.

Agile companies embrace constant change by disaggregating every project into small batches performed by small autonomous teams, developing leaders that are more facilitators of success than almighty heroes and providing support to the employees in the way of training, monitoring tools, verification, and communication.

The big problem with change is usually that people try to avoid it. People fear what they don’t know. So the greater challenge for companies is to work on how to make them feel safe about the change. And what is exactly that? You need to build a culture that provides them support. You need to care about the employees, how they feel and how they think. I call it the CARES culture. That helps employees getting ownership on the job, autonomy and therefore, more engagement to change.

Bruce Waltuck

A topic that has been central to my work and teaching for many years.  The shortest valuable resource I know for informing change, is the award-winning HBR article by Snowden and Boone, entitled “A Leader’s Framework For Decision-Making.”  This builds on the understanding that not all systems and challenges are the same.  There are problems whose solution is obvious and known to all.  There are problems for which experts have highly-reliable solutions.  But there are many kinds of problems and systems whose nature is uncertain, ambiguous, and complex.  Each type of system and situation have a different optimal pattern of response.  Today’s leaders sadly continue to avoid learning this, and too many change efforts fail (the Wall Street Journal once reported the failure rate at 75%). Leaders must overcome fear in its many forms, in order to explore the uncharted space of possibility in the face of truly complex situations I’d also urge leaders to revisit the fundamental teachings of W. Edwards Deming.  Far more than the statistician who tweaked the Shewhart cycle and brought TQM to the fore, Deming’s emphasis on “profound knowledge” and his “14 Points” for managers and leaders, reflect a deep understanding of the dynamical nature of organizations.  Mary Walton’s book “The Deming Management Method” is an excellent place to start.

To “cultivate readiness” requires the added skills of crafting and sharing a powerfully resonant, coherent narrative.  What is the story of the leader’s and organization’s intentions?  Of their vision and strategy?  Of the methods of dialogue and coordinated action that will include all, and adapt to emergent patterns of the situation?  Readiness comes from developing and practicing the ways of flexibility and adaptability.  These come from the capacities for curiosity, courage, inquiry, reflection, and learning.  All of which are predicated on the capacity for rational cognition.  We don’t “manage change” so much as we remove the fear of failure associated with trying multiple options.  We encourage all to think, ask, listen, learn, and try together.  “Continuously improving” not just the quality of the organization’s output, but the quality of its people’s capacity to change and improve.

In 2006 I gave a presentation at the ASQ conference to a standing-room audience on “a new definition of quality and the changing role of leadership.” The slides are on my slideshare page.

In 2010, the HD&L Division of ASQ published my Primer on Complexity and Quality Improvement.

Luigi Sille

When the management team identifies a need for change, it’s important to also manage that change. Just remember this: CHANGE MANAGEMENT is DIFFICULT, but VERY IMPORTANT, and without full support (commitment) of managers and employees it will FAIL.

All companies have to deal with change. You can’t hide or run from it. Change has to do with competitiveness, so you have to constantly keep changing if you want to survive. In other words, change is inevitable.

Another aspect that is almost inevitable is, resistance to change. Change is NOT easy for people (It’s human nature), so getting everyone on board is challenging. The success of change depends upon the people.

Strategies to help achieve successful change management.

  1. Start with an Objective: Where do you want to be?

Remember your objective must be aligned with your company mission and future vision.

  1. Communicate to your employees: Why the need for Change?

Getting everyone on board is very important. Remember to listen (listen to as many people as possible) to your employees concerns; ask for their input. Be open, honest, and keep an open communication channel.

  1. Support your people through the change: Is there a need for additional training?Do your employees have the right tools for the Job? Do we need new systems, new methods?
  1. Learn as you GO

When you lead your organization through change, new and unexpected challenges will definitely arise. So you need to change /adapt to those challenges. Review, and continuously improve your change management process.

 

 

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