organisational design:…the development process ( 5)
The design process focuses on the technical aspects of improving business processes, structures and systems, while the development process focuses on improving the organization’s human resources. Physical, technological, and financial resources depreciate quickly, but people are the only resource within an organization which appreciates over time. For example, an employee who has been on the job for a year is expected to contribute more to the organization than when he or she had only been on the job for three months.
Similarly, after three years of experience, development, and training, a person should be able to add even more value to the organization. The purpose of the development process is to leverage human capability, creating an organization which engages the intelligence, positive motivation, and commitment of every employee. In today’s fast changing business environment, companies that learn how to harness the collective genius of their people will race ahead of their competitors. The following steps provide a structured process to help leaders develop their human resources.
STEP #1: SENIOR LEADERSHIP TEAM DEVELOPMENT
There is a consistent need for the senior leadership of organizations to function as a cohesive team. As executive teams build experience and trust together, each member must learn to share responsibility for leading the entire enterprise, as well as managing his or her own specific area. For many leaders, the idea of sharing responsibility for managing the whole business requires a shift in thinking, from a functional to a holistic mindset. In addition, many senior leaders may also need to acquire a new set of interpersonal and team skills to help them collaborate more effectively. In short, executive groups, like teams at other levels of the organization, need to work at becoming an effective team. We believe that their becoming a cohesive team will not happen without some kind of directed development process.
The process of senior leadership development consists of a series of structured learning modules which the leadership team goes through together. These three-to-four-hour modules spaced over time, help the leaders learn to work together as a High Performing team. The content is drawn from team development, collaborative team skills, interpersonal, and personal development material, and can be tailored to the specific development needs of each senior leadership team. The following modules can be included in senior leadership team development:
- Developing the Team Charter;
- Clarifying the Team’s Core Work;
- Building Team Trust;
- Exercising Responsibility;
- Identifying Major Initiatives;
- Clarifying Roles and Responsibilities;
- Planning and Managing Joint Projects;
- Conducting Effective Meetings;
- Team Decision Making;
- Team Problem Solving;
- Giving and Receiving Feedback;
- Resolving Conflicts;
- Understanding Group Dynamics;
- Empowering Others; and
- Setting Performance Expectations
A series of eight to twelve modules delivered weekly or monthly can significantly improve the focus and teamwork ability of the senior team. Once the senior leadership team develops a high degree of trust and is effectively sharing management of the total enterprise together, individual managers can lead members of their own staff through a similar development process. When the leadership of the organization understands and practices constructive interpersonal and team principles, it is much easier for the rest of the organization to act like a team and become High Performing.
STEP #2: EMPLOYEE ORIENTATION: PRINCIPLES OF HIGH PERFORMANCE
At some point, after senior leadership understands the transformation process and is committed to improving the organization, employees will need to be introducing the High-Performance change process. Principles of High Performance are a dynamic orientation program designed to help participants understand High Performance and what it takes to achieve it within an organization. Employee groups of from twenty-five to fifty people participate in a factory simulation where they learn first-hand the pitfalls of the control model versus the flexibility and power of High Performance and High Commitment model. This dynamic simulation is guaranteed to be an unforgettable experience for everyone involved! Participants will experience the characteristics of traditional and High-Performance organizations, understand the leadership role shift required to move toward High Performance, and learn about the characteristics of High Performance teams.
Following the simulation, employees participate in a trust exercise to learn the importance of building trust in the organization. They are introduced to change models and tools which will help them begin their journey to High Performance. If senior leadership has clarified the strategy of the organization or created a charter for the change process, these may also be introduced and discussed with employees during the orientation to set the change process in motion. This orientation session will help employees understand the change process and commit them to being part of the solution, as they become involved and follow new leadership directions. It will begin to generate enthusiasm and commitment throughout the organization.
STEP #3: INFORMATION SHARING AND COMMUNICATION SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT
The information sharing and communication system is the life-blood of a High-Performance organization, so it is critical to establish it early in the transformation process. Leadership strategies, design decisions, and development plans all need to be communicated through an organization-wide information and communication system of some kind. Furthermore, with the growth of internet technologies, knowledge transfer and management has become critical for many companies to stay competitive.
One of the keys to empowerment is making people “contributing partners” in the business. When employees are given strategies, plans and information about the business in which they work, they become partners in helping build and improve the business. Within High Performance companies, every employee knows the strategy of the business and where it is headed. They understand the most important measures of business performance and how the business is doing against those measures. They know their customers and their key requirements.
They understand the industry in which they work and are knowledgeable about changes in the organization’s environment which impact them. They are informed about major company events and what is going on within other parts of the organization. Sharing such information is an ongoing process. It requires not only sharing of information, but time with people to make sure they understand the information and have the necessary training to interpret and use it correctly. Developing and managing this system pays huge dividends as people feel trusted and respected, and respond with greater commitment, personal initiative, and understanding to make better business decisions.
The concept for an organization-wide information and communication system can be developed fairly quickly at the beginning of the change process. A cross-functional task force is formed to assess the current information, communication, and knowledge management needs throughout the organization. They develop a simple recommendation to establish a basic system to channel key information, decisions, and plans during the change process. Later, during the macro design session, ideal versions of the information and communication system, with more focus on knowledge management, is developed and put in place during implementation.