Strange as it may sound, sometimes all solutions are technically equal. (Click image to enlarge)
The Equal Solutions Guideline deals with gaining commitment, not with finding a superior solution. In some situations there are many equal solutions. For example, let’s say you work for a large city in the school system. It has come to your attention that the various districts buy their 1/2 pint containers of Grade AA milk for their cafeterias from several sources. They are all Grade AA milk in an “identical paper” carton. You have determined that your district could save considerable money if you “single sourced” the purchase of milk. The issue is not finding a quality product. Each of the dairies offers an “identical” product. The issue is to have the districts agree on the single source. Given that, here’s the Equal Solutions Guideline:
This Guideline says, in effect, to use GII. The only issue the Equal Solutions Guideline addresses is Commitment. And, to get the most commitment you need the most involvement. That means GII.
Tip of the day: Just because the solutions are all equal, it doesn’t mean that Commitment is automatic!
This time we’ll look at the Conflict within the Team about this Issue Guideline. (Click image to enlarge)
Today we’ll start by looking at the Guideline.
This guideline says, in fact, “Use CII or GII!” When we look at, “Who is Involved” we see that CII and GII are the leader and the entire team. (Click image to enlarge)
If there is going to be disagreement within the team won’t you have an awful fight on your hands if you open the discussion up to the entire team by choosing CII or GII? Isn’t this just like throwing a pack of cats in a bag?
If, however, we stand back and ask the question, “If there is going to be disagreement within the team about the course of action chosen, do you think it will eventually surface?” The answer is a resounding, “Yes!” When you ask the follow up question, “If there is going to be disagreement within the team about the course of action chosen when is the best time for it to surface? Is it before implementation or during implementation?” The only logical answer is, “Before implementation”.
Disagreement resolved before implementation often results in more commitment and a better course of action chosen. Conflict which surfaces during implementation usually results in failure, at some level or another.
Tip of the day: The only way to resolve a disagreement within your team is to get it to the surface!
Last time we looked at the two “Introspective” guidelines, those which relate directly to the team leader. This time we’ll start to look at the guidelines that directly relate to the team and its members. We’ll start with the Guideline highlighted below: (Click image to enlarge)
In the introduction to this series we said, “All other things being equal, people want to be involved in the choices which impact them.” This statement is undeniably true. However, there are times when people will commit to a course of action without being involved. Other times involvement is critical to commitment.
Because involving the team almost always takes more time, it is essential that the leader know if the team will commit to a course of action chosen by the leader without participation by the team. A good leader needs to be aware of the team’s need for participation.
The Commitment Without Participation Guideline requires the leader to have a good knowledge of his or her team. If, as the leader of a team, you do not know if the team will commit to the course of action your choose for a particular situation, assume that they will not! The risk of the team not being committed is too high to take any chances.
When we apply the Commitment without Participation Guideline we rule out AI and AII as effective Leadership Behaviors. This brings up two points. One, why does this guideline rule out just AI and AII? If we look at the level of involvement that kicks in at CI we see it is 5 on a 10 point scale. That is one half of the maximum amount of involvement possible. (Click image to enlarge)
In CI, the leader is only communicating with one person (at a time). How can this constitute team involvement? During their research Vroom and Yetton found that, for a cohesive team, if the leader talks to one team member, there is the implication that discussion is shared with the team as a whole, thus explaining the “5”.
Two, we just said, “If, as the leader of a team, you do not know if the team will commit to the course of action your choose for a particular situation, assume that they will not!” We stick by that statement. However, if you look at what gets you a “5” you will see that all you need to do is seek information and analysis from one or more team members by asking a few good questions. Asking the right questions will tell the leader if more involvement is required to gain the commitment of the team as a whole.
Tip of the day: Information is power. A little, asking one team member a few good questions can get you a real sense of where the team is, goes a long way!
As the Doctor of the Obvious would say, “Once you’ve found them doesn’t it make sense to stop looking?” I know you’re wondering what this has to do with Mastering Involvement. Today’s discussion focuses on the Guideline highlighted below: (Click image to enarge)
The second guideline deals with how quickly the leader can get the information necessary to choose a quality course of action. The first two criteria for the Speedy Analysis Guideline are the same as for the Information Guideline above.
For the Speedy Analysis guideline we also ask if the leader knows exactly what information is missing and how to get it. When this guideline applies it rules out AI, AII and CI as effective Leadership Behaviors.
For this guideline not to apply the leader must not only know exactly what information is missing but also exactly how to get it. This leads us to why the Speedy Analysis Guideline rules out AI, AII and CI. AI is ruled our for the same reasons it was ruled out in the Information Available to the Leader Guideline. When you look at the matrix in a previous post http://troubleshootinglogic.com/?p=5165 you see that the communication for both AII and CI is between the leader and one team member. If the leader does not know exactly what information is missing and exactly how to get, then it is very ineffective and time consuming (aka looking like a jerk) to attempt to get it working with one team member at a time. Hence, we call this the Speedy Analysis Guideline. The leader gets the team together to quickly assess the information requirements, thus avoiding finding the information in the last place he or she looks for it.
The Information Available to the Leader and the Speedy Analysis Guidelines are “introspective” guidelines. They deal with what the leader knows and does not know. To apply the first two guidelines the leader looks inward.
Tip of the day: You can learn a lot by asking!
Let’s be honest, no one can possibly know it all. Remember Stanley? When he went to “write me up,” he did so without proper and adequate information. Remember in the introduction to today’s News Letter I said, “but…he knew it all, and he proved it!” Well, he did prove something. He proved that acting without proper and adequate information will make anyone, even the infallible Stanley, look like a jerk.
One sure-fire way for a team leader to get off on the wrong foot with his or her team is to miss-manage involvement. There are 7 guidelines a team leader can use to help select an appropriate Leadership Behavior, and thus avoid miss-managing involvement. The guidelines work by ruling out Leadership Behaviors that are ineffective given the situation. The 7 Guidelines are: (Click image to enlarge)
Today, we’ll look at the first Guideline which is called the Information Guideline. It deals with information and finding the one best course of action. But, what does finding the one best course of action mean? It means logic tells you that there is more than one course of action available given the Task Statement. In addition, logic tells you that one of the available courses of action is probably significantly better than any other. It means that it is worth your time and energy to find that one best course of action. Finding the one best course of action, a quality course of action, will improve your chances for success. If this guideline applies, it tells you to avoid the AI behavior. It would be foolhardy for a leader to choose a course of action for an important issue which impacts the entire team knowing in advance that he or she does not have enough information to successfully choose the best course of action alone. As a matter of fact, doing so will make the leader look like a jerk.
Tip of the day: Without good information it is virtually impossible to choose a superior course of action.
Before we look at the guidelines which will help us select an appropriate Leadership Behavior we need to focus on the specific task at hand. For example, when you are truly lost, you need to drive around until you find some place you can cross-reference to your map before you can plan a route to your destination. In other words, you can not plan a route to your destination, the Desired Outcome, until you know where you are and have a plan that will get you there.
For example, let’s say your department has been plagued with missed orders, billing errors and excessive rework. What’s the probability one action by you will fix everything? The answer is, “Zero!” Likewise, what’s the probability that they will all go away if you issue the following directive to your people, “From now on you will not miss any orders, you will eliminate all rework and as of this moment on there will be no more billing errors!” Again, the answer is, “Zero!”
In each of the scenarios above logic tells me two things: One, for any one of them to be successfully resolved, you will need some level of involvement on the part of your people. Two, your people will need to know what the desired Outcome for each issue is.
So, the first thing to do is develop a Task Statement for each issue. A typical list for the issues above is:
- Select Best Method to Eliminate Missed Orders
- Develop Best System to Eliminate Billing Errors
- Develop Rework Elimination Plan
These Task Statements provide focus and a common starting place. Selecting a Leadership Behavior without knowing exactly what you want to accomplish is clearly putting the cart before the horse! The Task Statement is a brief statement of the task at hand. It broadly defines the Desired Outcome, provides focus, provides a common starting place and helps keep the team on track.
Each Task Statement contains an action (Select Best Method) and an outcome (to Eliminate Missed Orders).
Tip of the day: You can’t get there from here is true, unless you have a good Task Statement, that is you know where there is!
In order to understand involvement, we must first understand the various Leadership Behaviors available to the leader. Mastering Involvement is based upon the Leadership Behaviors matrix as defined in Leadership and Decision Making, Victor H. Vroom & Philip W. Yetton, University of Pittsburg Press, ISBN 0-8229-5265-3.
In the matrix below AI is Autocratic One, AII is Autocratic Two, CI is Consultive One, CII is Consultive Two and GII is Group Oriented Two. In order to understand each Leadership Behavior we look at who is involved, how the team is involved and who makes the final choice. (Click image to enlarge)
In the matrix above it is important to point out there is no “good” Leadership Behavior and no “bad” Leadership Behavior. They are all situational. Using an appropriate Leadership Behavior supports team building, communication, promotes morale in the workplace, gets team members to quickly learn how to work as a team and promotes accountability in the workplace.
With the AI behavior the leader acts without getting any input from the group. As stated above there are no “good” Leadership Behaviors and no “bad” Leadership Behaviors. The AI Behavior, like the other behaviors, is sometimes appropriate and sometimes not.
With AII and CI, the leader plus one team member describes the manner in which communication takes place. The leader and the one team member may be alone or they may be physically with other members of the team. The communication between the leader and the one team member is one-on-one. The leader may choose to communicate with one, two or all team members using an AII or CI behavior.
When using the AII Behavior, the leader asks one team member a specific question, expecting information with no discussion. The leader is interested in obtaining information only. When using the CI Behavior, the leader asks one team member a question, expecting discussion. The leader is interested in what that one team member thinks.
In both CII and GII the leader interacts with the group as a whole. In AI, AII and CI all communication is “filtered” through the leader. In CII and GII communication is open to all. In both CII and GII the team members participate in the analysis.
In all behaviors except GII the leader makes the final choice. In GII the team makes the final choice.
In future posts we’ll look at guidelines that will help us choose an appropriate Leadership Behavior from the options above.
Tip of the day: Properly involving the members of your team not only improves morale in the work place, but it also improves accountability in the workplace.
“We have met the enemy, and he is us,” is one of my favorite Walt Kelly quotes. Performance System Analysis (PSA) helps ensure that, when we look in the mirror, we don’t see the enemy! Click on our post entitled, “Safety is #1 – Unless – (Wink, Wink)” above John’s Corner for a great example of looking into the mirror and seeing the enemy.
So, in addition to Consequences to the individual, PSA looks at Consequences to the Organization for each Performer’s action. Each time a Performer performs, there are Consequences to the Organization for that behavior. PSA looks at Consequences from the point-of-view of Organizational Sustaining and Organizational Defeating Goals.
In a well-designed Performance System the Desired Accomplishment always supports Organizational Goals. That should be intuitively obvious.
Yet, we must be ever vigilant to make sure that the Undesired Accomplishment on the part of the Performer never Supports Organizational Goals! If it does, we have created the enemy, and he is us!
A complete performance system looks at the following:
It is only when the entire Performance System and each of its components are working in harmony that the Organization and the Performers will consistently achieve all Desired Accomplishments. This same condition also provides a positive work environment for the Performers. PSA is the essential tool required to create this type of positive work environment.
Contact us at DAPALoyer@gmail.com so we can help your organization better achieve its Goals.
Next time we’ll start a new topic. Remember, our next issue of the News Letter will be published on 8 June 2016.
In addition to Consequences to the individual, Performance System Analysis (PSA) looks at Consequences to the Organization for each Performer’s action. Each time a Performer performs, there are Consequences to the Organization for that behavior. Performance System Analysis looks at Consequences to see if the Performer’s Accomplishment Supports Organizational Goals or Defeats them.
Click image to enlarge.
The first time I looked at the chart above, I thought to myself, “Something’s wrong here. How on earth could the Undesired Accomplishment on the part of the Performer Support Organizational goals?” Well, all you have to do to answer that question is to look at last weeks’ post. http://troubleshootinglogic.com/?p=5127
When you look at last weeks’ post, you see that, if a key client’s delivery date is in jeopardy of being missed because a line is down the Undesired Accomplishment of not locking out Supports Organizational Goals in that the key customer gets an on time delivery. Is this right? Absolutely not! When the Undesired Accomplishment on the part of the Performer Supports Organizational Goals it sets up an Imbalance of Consequences…and…as I said last week, an Imbalance of Consequences is a very bad thing! Again refer to http://troubleshootinglogic.com/?p=5127
In a well-designed Performance System the Desired Accomplishment(s) always Supports Organizational Goals and the Undesired Accomplishment(s) never does so!
Next time we’ll to look at Consequences to the Organization.
Organizations openly promote safety. Safety is droned (the right thing to do!) at people all the time. The message is, “You will be safe, you will be safe, you will be safe…” There are often messages at the door promoting safety. Many restrooms have a decal on the mirror with the note below, “You are looking at the person who is responsible for your safety today”. And on and on and on. Promoting safety is a very good thing!
Yet, in many organizations if a key client’s delivery date is in jeopardy of being missed because a line is down, the message shifts from, “You will be safe, you will be safe” to “You will get that line up and running, you will get that line up and running and (I’ve never heard it said out loud…but…I have heard it heavily implied) by the way, wink, wink if you’re not safe that’s OK!” So, a technician saves time by not locking out, gets the line up and the key customer gets an on time delivery. Everyone is happy.
Immediately the message goes back to, “You will be safe, you will be safe, you will be safe…” After a few whiles that key client’s delivery date is in jeopardy of being missed again because that same line is down. Now, the message shifts from, “You will be safe, you will be safe” to “You will get that line up and running.” That same technician saves time by not locking out, gets that line up and the key customer gets an on time delivery. Everyone is happy.
Immediately the message goes back to, “You will be safe, you will be safe, you will be safe…” After a few whiles that same line is down. This time no orders are in jeopardy of being late. That same technician saves time by not locking out, starts to work on the line, gets caught and written-up for a safety infraction, no proper lock out, and is sent home for 3 days without pay. Think that doesn’t happen? Well, it does. And that is what we call an Imbalance of Consequences.
Click image to enlarge
An Imbalance of Consequences is a complex phenomenon. The quick definition of an Imbalance of Consequences is, “Before the behavior the Performer does not know for sure whether he or she will be rewarded or punished for the behavior.” In the example above, the performer (that technician) got rewarded for not locking out when the key customer’s order was in jeopardy and got punished, for the exact same behavior, when no order was in jeopardy.
An Imbalance of Consequences is a very bad thing! Here’s why. Most people work in 2 to 6 or so different Performance Systems. Think of your own job. How many significant Performance Systems do you work in on a daily basis? Now, to the cold, hard truth. An Imbalance of Consequences in any Performance System impacts all Performance Systems in which the Performer works, not just the one with the Imbalance of Consequences. The reason, once stated, is obvious, although not intuitively obvious until stated. It is a trust issue. If the Performer can’t trust the organization in one Performance System (remember the lock out) why should he or she trust the organization in any Performance System? The Performer, usually subconsciously, concludes, “If I can not trust my organization in the Performance System where the Imbalance of Consequences exists, how can I trust it in any Performance System?” And, sadly, the answer is, “I can not!”
Where a strong Imbalance of Consequences exists in any Performance System in which the performer works, we need to find and eliminate it before we can effectively manage any other Performance System in which that Performer works. A strong Imbalance of Consequences often appears to be a Deficiency of the Individual. (See the Deficiencies related to the Performer section of this series of posts troubleshootinglogic.com/?p=5110) Be sure that no strong Imbalance of Consequences exists before concluding the Performer has a DI.
If your organization has any Imbalance of Consequences going on get rid of them! It is better to miss a ship date to your key client than to create mistrust between your organization and its Performers.
Tip of the day: You can’t “fix” what’s wrong with performance if your people don’t trust you!
Next time we’ll to look at Consequences to the Organization.