All other things being equal if there is an increase in involvement there tends to be an increase in commitment. We can, therefore, conclude that if you want more commitment all you need to do is increase involvement. But, there is a catch. As involvement increases, so does time. And, unfortunately, time is a very scarce resource in many organizations and to many people.
This puts the leader in some what of a bind. The secret is to get the most commitment in the least time. As a good rule of thumb, the bigger the issue, the more you should involve your team.
When choosing a Leadership Behavior there are other things for the leader to consider. One is the development of personnel. All good leaders invest time to develop their people. If, for example, your people have never been exposed to group decision making, an investment in learning GII in a situation where finding the one best course of action is not the issue (http://troubleshootinglogic.com/?p=5232) is a good idea.
Another consideration is moving the team up or down the involvement scale. Any time a leader joins an existing team he or she must determine the level of involvement to which the team is accustomed. Although it is possible to move a team in either direction on the involvement scale moving the team down the scale, that is less involvement, is generally more difficult. Although people like involvement, over the long haul too much involvement does not improve commitment, it just wastes time.
One final thing to consider is what we call the Involvement “Bank Account”. Every leader has an involvement bank account, whether he or she likes it or not. Every time the leader properly involves the team he or she gets a small deposit in his or her involvement bank account. Over time the involvement account builds up. Every time the leader violates proper involvement he or she has a huge withdrawal from the involvement bank account. Leaders tend to lose commitment in general if their involvement bank account goes below zero.
Properly involving a team maximizes the probability of Situational Success (http://troubleshootinglogic.com/?p=5305). Smart team leaders build up a very substantial reserve in their involvement bank account. When the leader has a substantial reserve he or she can violate the Involvement Guidelines, for a good reason, and not loose commitment. He or she has “earned the right” to violate the Involvement Guidelines but he or she will dramatically draw down the reserve in their involvement bank account. No leader can repeatedly violate the Involvement Guidelines and retain long term commitment.
Send us an e-mail DAPALoyer@gmail.com or give us a call 518/480-4906 and we’ll be glad to tell you more about Mastering Involvement,
Tip of this series: Want results? Properly involve your team.
This wraps up our series on Mastering Involvement.
Over the past few weeks we’ve looked at the guidelines which will help a team leader select an appropriate Leadership Behavior. In Vroom and Yetton’s research (see Leadership and Decision Making, Victor H. Vroom & Phillip W. Yetton, University of Pittsburgh Press, ISBN 0-8229-5265-3) they looked at both Situational Success and Situational Failure from the point of view of following the Guidelines and not following the Guidelines. Their research showed Situational Success about 80% of the time if the Guidelines are followed and Situational Success of about 30% if the guidelines are not followed. That means there is a 20% chance of failure even if the Guidelines are followed. But, there is a 70% chance of failure if they are not followed.
On the surface this doesn’t look like that good of a deal. Why look at some Guidelines that are only 80% accurate and can still lead to failure about 20% of the time. Part of the answer lies in how Vroom and Yetton define Situational Success. To Vroom and Yetton Situational Success means that all the objectives of the course of action chosen were either met or exceeded. It means that the course of action chosen was highly successful in every way. It didn’t “just squeak by”. It was a highly successful in every way. Vroom and Yetton classify a failure not only as a course of action that outright failed but also as a course of action that eventually succeeded but only after lots of extra effort and re-work. With this as our definition of “success”, 80% looks great.
Tip of the day: Use the Mastering Involvement Guidelines wisely and you’ll up your Situational Success.
Although GII is a very effective way of maximizing involvement and commitment, it doesn’t just happen. Let’s take another look at the GII Guidelines I introduced last week.
- Make sure there is goal agreement between the team and the organization (if the course of action chosen for this issue does make a difference).
- ALWAYS announce in advance that it is a GII situation.
- Make sure the team has the skills and knowledge to do the job.
- State any constraints in advance.
- Establish time frame guidelines in advance.
- State the “fall back” position in advance.
- Be prepared to “live with” ANY solution the team selects (which does not conflict with the goals of the organization)
- ALWAYS announce in advance that it is a GII situation.
Again, it is not a mistake that “always announce in advance that it is a GII situation” shows up twice. It is that important.
There is a good reason why it is that important. People often ask, “What can you do to guarantee that GII will be successful?” The answer is there is no guarantee of success with any leadership behavior. If you structure GII properly you have an extremely high probability it will be successful.
Yet, if you were to ask me, “How can I guarantee that GII will fail?” I can give you a sure-fire way. Do not announce GII in advance. This prompts the obvious, “Why?” So, here goes, if you announce GII after the team has started to work on the issue you have just invalidated everything each and every team member both thought and said up to that point. The reason? People present their case differently if they think they do not own the conclusion. In GII they do own the conclusion. The way they present their position for GII is different from the way they present it in a non-GII mode. Up to the instant the leader announces GII the team has been presenting their position assuming the leader owns the conclusion. By announcing GII after the discussion has started the leader has totally changed the ground rules. This, in effect, invalidates everything that has happened up to that point. It is a totally new ball game.
If we look back to last week’s post (http://troubleshootinglogic.com/?p=5266) we recall the issue of fires and explosions in a chemical plant. If the leader chooses to use GII the advanced announcement to the team should be something like this, “I’ve called you together to choose a course of action. This will be a GII choice. The topic of the GII will be, Select Best Way to Eliminate Fires and Explosions.” Notice the team knows it is a GII before they know the topic.
This is what “Always announce in advance that it is a GII situation means.” Why you ask? Because the team hears the assignment differently when they know in advance that they own the solution. The team is primed for a GII.
Now back to the issue of the leader announcing GII after the discussion has started. Conceptually, most leaders understand the value of GII. Yet, for those situations where they are on the line for that important team course of action, they are reluctant to leave the choice up to the team. So, they start as a CII. Things go well and it looks like the team will choose a course of action with which make both the leader and the team are happy. So, the leader jumps to GII. Bad choice!
Tip of the day: If you are going to use GII ANNOUNCE IT IN ADVANCE!
Next time we’ll look at what Vroom & Yetton call “Situational Success.”
As a leader there is a set of guidelines you must follow in order to successfully use GII. So, here they are:
Yes, one Guideline is mentioned twice, I’ll get to that a little later. But, first, if the issue is “important” you need to confirm that there is Goal Agreement between the team and the organization relative to this issue before using GII.
In addition, the leader needs to confirm that the team has the skill and knowledge to do GII. If the team has not successfully done GII’s in the past, having them start using GII on a “really important” issue is asking for trouble. Teams can and do learn to be successful with GII quickly. The leader is responsible for developing his or her team in the use of GII.
A key to the successful use of GII is for the leader to announce in advance that it is a GII situation. By “in advance” we mean that the team must know it is a GII situation before they know what the issue is. There is a “not so obvious” reason for this. The team hears the situation differently when they know they own the outcome. That’s why the “Always announce in advance that it is a GII situation” is listed twice, it is that important!
Here’s the temptation to avoid. You are dealing with a very important issue. Your butt is on the line. You feel you can’t afford to risk a GII on this one, so you start off in CII. (Click troubleshootinglogic.com/?p=5270 to review the various Leadership Behaviors) Things are going smoothly and it looks like your team will select a superior course of action. Knowing that GII gets more Commitment than CII, and knowing commitment is really important for this issue, you tell the team that this will now be a GII.
But, if you announce GII after the team has started to work on the issue you have just invalidated everything each and every team member has said up to that point. The reason? People argue their position differently if they think they do not own the conclusion. In GII they own the conclusion. The way they argue their position for GII is different from the way they argue it in a non-GII mode. Up to the instant the leader announces GII the team has been presenting their argument assuming the leader owns the conclusion. By announcing GII after the discussion has started the leader has totally changed the ground rules. This, in effect, invalidates everything that has happened up to that point.” Again, that’s why the “Always announce in advance that it is a GII situation” is listed twice. It is beyond any doubt that important!
We’ll continue to look at the GII Guidelines next time.
Tip of the day: Always announce in advance if it is a GII situation!
There is one last guideline at which to look. (Click image to enlarge)
Assume you’re the Plant Manager of a large solvent manufacturing plant. Some of the solvents you produce contain dangerous chemicals and highly flammable liquids. Recently, there have been several fires and minor explosions. One explosion caused personal injury to an employee and ignited a fire that resulted in the total loss of a small production building. As Plant Manager, you are ultimately responsible for plant safety. You know that a real disaster will occur if the root cause of these fires and explosions is not found.
Informal conversations with your key personnel about the fires and explosions have convinced you that the situation is complicated and does not have a simple solution. All your key people share your concern about plant safety, but all have different ideas about what the real problem is and what to do about it.
This morning there was another fire. Fortunately, there was no explosion this time. You are willing to invest time and money to find a workable solution to the fire and explosion problem. You are determined that action to address this situation needs to begin immediately. You know that no solution will work unless your key people are totally committed to it.
Face it Bunkie, your butt is on the line. You’re the one who’ll fry if someone really gets hurt or if there is major loss of property. Now, answer this question. Would you use a GII? Remember you’re the one in the cross hairs if something really bad happens!
STOP!! Before you answer, let’s look at the Commitment as THE Most Significant Priority Guideline:
The Commitment as the Most Significant Priority Guideline rules out all Leadership Behaviors except GII. Many team leaders, however, are reluctant to apply this guideline for those “really important” issues. Why is this the case?
Part of the answer lies in the fact that the issue is “really important”. Like fires and explosions, for example. Another part of the answer relates to the leader’s accountability. Team leaders are frequently held accountable for the actions of the team. This accountability can be either overtly part of the leaders “job description” or it can be “implied”. For safety and for fires and explosions I’ll bet it’s overt. Because the leader knows their butt is on the line he or she will not relinquish control of the “really important” issues to the team. It is a CYA thing.
However, stand back and look at the facts. Point one. What is the best way for the team leader to look good? To have the team be successful. Point two. There is a direct correlation to the success of any endeavor and the team’s commitment to action. Increase the team’s commitment to the course of action chosen and you improve the probability of success. Point three. As a team leader the best CYA strategy is to use GII for the “really important” issues when the Commitment as the Most Significant Priority guideline applies!
Tip of the day: When there is Goal Agreement, GII = CYA!
If you ran a business, would you ask the troops to determine their own salary? I would if, and only if, I knew in my heart that there was total Goal Agreement between the troops (my team of the whole organization) and my company relative to compensation. (Click image to enlarge)
GII is a powerful Leadership Behavior when it is important to maximize the team’s commitment to the course of action chosen. So, exactly what is GII? As you can see in the matrix below in the GII mode the team makes the final choice. This means that they “own” the course of action chosen, thus the maximum of both Involvement and Commitment. (Click image to enlarge)
There is, however, one huge “watch-out” with GII. That is Goal Agreement. If there is lack of goal agreement between the team and the organization for the pending course of action, there is a high probability that team will choose a course of action that the organization either can not or will not implement if GII is attempted. So, if GII is attempted when there is lack of Goal Agreement the leader is inviting disaster. If there is any question about Goal Agreement assume it is not there.
So, let’s go back to what we asked earlier, “If you ran a business, would you ask the troops to determine their own salary?” Well, most people have an intuitive reaction to people setting their own salary. That reaction is, no, it can’t work, no Goal Agreement.
Change of gears: Ben & Jerry’s, in my opinion, should be Ben, Jerry and Chico’s. Why? The guy who really put Ben & Jerry’s on the map was Fred (Chico) Lager. I had the pleasure of meeting with Chico shortly before he retired. Legend has it that, under his guidance, there was a yearly meeting during which everyone in the company got together and developed the next year’s compensation package for every one in the organization including Ben, Jerry and Chico.
How did they pull that off? When the company was small everyone who worked there had a common goal, grow the company. So in order to grow the company resources, including salaries, needed to be prudently allocated. In this rare instance there was Goal Agreement between the team and the organization around compensation! But, I’ll say it again, if there is any question about Goal Agreement, assume it is not there!
Here’s the Goal Agreement (Relative to this Issue) Guideline:
Tip of the day (for the third and final time): If there is any question about Goal Agreement, assume it is not there!
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!