Many organizations are not gaining the potential benefits of teams in the workplace due to misunderstandings about team autonomy and self-control. This is a critical issue in organization design and leadership today. Let’s clarify both the benefits and the determinants of team autonomy.
I suggest that both Bezos and those interviewed for the Times article are honestly and accurately portraying the culture as seen through their eyes and their experience. Amazon is straddling the Barbarian and Builder/Explorer stage of my life cycle model. This is a good place to be in an external environment that is filled with rapidly emerging competitors and changing technologies. If you aren’t conquering you are probably about to be conquered!
Imagine your CEO, each time he or she was challenged, turning on the person asking the question and proclaiming “you’re loser” or, “that’s because you’re stupid!” My mother, and probably your own, taught me not to call others names. Someone said “turn the other cheek.” Why in politics is this kind of response apparently acceptable to so many people when it should immediately be recognized as uncivil behavior and a disqualification for any public office?
The purpose of presidential campaigns is to put on display the qualities of leadership of each candidate so we may choose among them. But what are those qualities we seek, why, and do they match the needs of the age in which we live? If we were a corporate search committee we would want to align the strategic challenges of the firm with the competencies of the candidates.
Coaching is becoming widespread in our organizations with many people claiming to be coaches, but with very different interests and skills. To those implementing lean management it is important to recognize that every manager at Toyota has a coach or mentor. The goals of the coach and the client should be in alignment. There are a number of ways to describe the continuum of relationships between coach and client: from short-term to long-term, from focused on today’s problems to developing strategic systems and culture, from low to high intimacy. For the sake of simplicity I will divide this continuum into three zones: the Blue, Green and Red Zones of Caring.
If you go through my Team Leadership (Team Kata) course you will quickly be confronted with the strong suggestion that every manager and every team have a coach to lead them through the steps of lean implementation and to provide feedback to the leader and team. But, you ask, where are we going to get all these coaches? Here is a clear answer.
The world of corporate training and development has yet to fully embrace the new reality of technology, online resources, and the need to integrate learning into the daily habits of all managers and team members. This requires a deliberate map of the learning process, eliminating waste, and breaking down silos.
I hope you all had a great Christmas, or any Holiday you celebrate. And, I hope you are ready for a wonderful New Year. Not a “happy” New Year, but a New Year filled with great challenges. More about that in a minute. I have been very quiet on this blog for the last several months because my attention has been very focused on the challenge of creating great online learning courses. I first published my Team Kata course this […]
Implementing lean management, or any other change in the culture of organizations, requires a zoom lens to see the different levels of complexity required. Toyota Kata, lean tools, and other methods operate at some focal lengths and not at others. The well informed manager will have the ability to understand complexity and to use simple methods when appropriate. If you are photographer with only a 300mm lens you will miss a lot of great photos.
Neuroscience now confirms why both learning and motivation on the part of employees is optimized when the ratio of positive to negative interactions with managers lean toward four positives to one negative. Higher rates of negative interactions reduce learning, increase fear, increase avoidance behavior, rather than problem-solving and experimentation.
I developed my Team Kata Udemy.com training course to provide a solution to training a large number of people, self-paced and over an extended period of time. But, coaching is essential to the learning process. Here are examples of the coaching kata that follow well proven methods of behavior based training.
The problem for most organizations developing lean management is two fold: first, how to change the culture in a significant way, in a reasonable period of time; and second, how to provide the needed training to a large number of people in a consistent and quality manner. Team Kata is an effort to solve both of those problems.
One aspect of lean that has not been given enough attention, in my opinion, is how lean is an organization wide system of motivation that creates a high performance culture. Too many lean implementations suffer from a focus on problem solving skills, but a failure to attend to the system or culture of motivation. Too many rely on the “they oughtta wanna” assumption which usually results in disappointment.
A highly motivated work force is not an accident. It is not the result of being in one part of the country or another, have having a union or non-union. It is the result of systematic efforts on the part of management to design and improve a system of motivation. The most effective systems optimize both an ennobling purpose, the social bonds of strong teamwork, and the availability of individual incentives. They all contribute unique elements to a holistic system of motivation.
In this post I would like to discuss the cultural root of obedience in the great church of our organizations and how we need to rethink the assumptions of loyal followership. Or to put it another way, a bit more disloyalty may be advantageous to the leader’s reputation and bank account.
Every CEO or leader owns the behavior of his senior team. The challenge for every leader is to gain understanding of how one’s own behavior influences subordinates, and how their behavior in turn, may result in the unforeseen knife flying through the air to land in one’s own back.