Clint Maun, CSP
The needs of an organization often do
not match the needs of the human beings who work within the
organization. Leaders today are faced with how to appropriately blend
these seemingly opposite needs. We found that organizations produce
routine, rational, planned, logical, highly predictable and low-delayed
events. However, this is not true of why human beings work in an
organization. Human beings have different and very important personal
Individuals in the workforce can be emotional,
spontaneous, moody, sometimes illogical, and often become bored with
the concept and implementation of routines. What becomes challenging is
how to develop human beings to work in an inspired, motivated way
toward an organizational team effort.
We found that it becomes
critically important to establish a clear vision of what success looks
like for the organization, then develop a similarly clear vision of
what individual success looks like for each employee in the
organization. Tying these two visions together will produce a
championship season. Specifically, you must first define the targets
showing what the organization must achieve to be successful and then
tie individual performance to those success targets.
the specific targets or indicators of what a championship season for
the organization would be or may include goals such as revenue,
quality, cost, customer satisfaction and revenue enhancement. It also
may include other dimensions of success that are measurably specific to
the organization's purpose, vision and mission.
To have the
opportunity for achieving "Smooth Operations", the organizational need
and the human need must become more aligned toward a common purpose to
affect the necessary changes to guide the organization toward its
championship season. In effect, your are creating an artificial enemy
or outside concern for the organization to "rally" together to tackle.
This alignment helps keep us from having a number of inside enemies
getting in the way, i.e., blame, guilt, or the pointing of fingers.
every individual in the organization clearly understands not only the
vision, mission and purpose of the organization, but also what the
indicators or targets for success are, then there is purposeful and
focused activity. To maintain this purposeful and focused activity, it
is necessary to provide your people with ongoing feedback about how
they are doing as an organization in accomplishing the indicators or
targets. As you study the following four quadrants, you can see the
purpose of an organization is best achieved by moving activities to the
upper left quadrant which relates to highly predictable, low-delayed
Activities with high levels of predictability and
shorter delay times become the definition of "smooth" or "planned." The
three remaining quadrants represent "less smooth" operations.
Supporting individuals working on tasks in these other three quadrants
is important. One overall management goal should be to move issues;
concerns or events in the "less smooth" quadrants to the more
predictable, low-delayed area and/or to enhance current work efforts to
become more highly predictable, lower-delayed events. In our
terminology, accomplishing these efforts would be called, "Smoother
An organization that is effective in developing a
focused environment realizes human beings have needs, wants and desires
that need to be met. This is the area where Continuous Quality
Improvement (CQI) efforts often fail. They neglect to tie the overall
organizational purpose to specific, meaningful end measurements,
targets or indicators that employees can use to measure their
individual performance. This hampers efforts to develop empowered
action teams charged with producing a championship season.
define the indicators or targets that can bring about the championship
season. Then you will have a greater opportunity to empower, motivate
and develop employees. This is where reward ties to organizational
purpose. We specifically recommend that organizations should reward
individual performance only after organizational success has been
Implementation of this recommendation may have to
be phased-in due to the current organizational culture or specific
compensation/reward processes. But, we believe it is important to move
in that direction once you have sent a clear message that "we will be
successful as an organization first and then we will recognize
appropriate individual contributions".
This philosophy sends a
clear message about purpose and focus. This forces people to stop
"whose job is it", "whose fault it is", "who didn't do something", "who
did the wrong thing" and allows all to develop motivated and empowered
When people participate in action teams
understanding the purpose and focus of a championship season, you will
have people willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish success. This
process helps produce "self-initiated" behavior which in our opinion is
the true core of a CQI effort.
If you can't set this process in
motion, you become susceptible to the failures of teams that have
developed individual performance incentives or job descriptions for
specialized players where rewards are based upon "individual"
performance. These individual accomplishments by members of the team
might be tremendous, but usually will not lead to a championship season
for the organization.
You can often observe this sort of
dysfunctional behavior on sports teams where a "star" player's
individual performance is recognized and rewarded over and above the
rest of the team's success. Achieving a championship season is usually
impossible for a team that allows this sort of organizational
dysfunction to exist.
In summary, achieving "Smooth Operations"
occurs when everyone working in an organization understands the purpose
and mission of that organization. Once they understand the targets or
successes they can accomplish, coupled with management's efforts to
structure tasks into highly predictable, low-delayed work efforts, you
have an opportunity to communicate and direct the organization's
efforts toward the championship.
The wonderful by-product that
comes from meeting the individual's need to have purposeful, focused
work with clear goals, targets and objectives is that you can more
easily accomplish the overall goals of the organization.
If you would like more information on organization leadership, teaming and how to achieve Smooth Operations in your organization, please click here