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.

GII Guidelines

  • 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!

 

 

 

 

 


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!

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

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