A prospective client once asked, “Can you come and do teams to us?” Wrong question. Besides the fact that no one can—or should—“do teams to” any organization, the question misses the point: how (and even whether) to design and implement the right kinds of workplace teams to fit an organization.
It doesn’t help that there is a bewildering blizzard of information about teams in the workplace. How can something we consider so apple pie and American—teamwork—be all that difficult? If teamwork is so easy, why do so many at-tempts to bring it into the workplace fail? What are the roots of its failure in so many organizations? Continue reading
The classic analogy fits: union and management learning to cooperate is a lot like learning to dance with a bear—you don’t quit just because you get tired. And in most cases—in the US paper industry at least—neither party is quite sure which one’s the bear.
We set out to see what we could learn about the labor-management dance taking place within the U.S. paper industry–an industry that’s seen more than its share of turmoil. We set out to discover what unions and management have learned from the dance: How many started dancing together? Why did they start? What issues might have interrupted or stopped them? Has the dance been worth the time and effort invested? And, of course, have they kept dancing? We aimed to learn what we could from the real experience of labor and management in the U.S. paper industry. Continue reading
We have watched (and helped) organizations invest time, energy and money training employees to be internal “change agents,” “facilitators,” and “improvement resources,” only to see their efforts wasted on puny results. Here are Seven Deadly Sins you too can commit to follow suit. Or, take our suggestions for avoiding them. Continue reading
You can get lost in the quality swamp. An organization can slosh around forever in the muck of quality improvement programs, tools, processes, steps, guidelines, steering groups, and structures–and never find its way out.
A recent Wall Street Journal article described a growing number of companies which have invested years and millions in open ended quality improvement processes, with no results. Many never got beyond navel-gazing the possibilities. In the name of quality, they created bureaucracies instead of improvements. In these cases, executives lost direction, the organizations lost momentum, customers and suppliers lost faith, and employees just plain got lost in the swamp. Continue reading