So here's the scene. You're preparing for an annual review with one of your key admin people. You know the first thought in her mind will be "how much of a raise am I going to get this year?" Your thinking "She's been with me for another year, but I can't afford to keep giving raises just for anniversaries." So you lock yourself in your office and review the year in your mind. What did she do well and where did she fall short of your expectations. Since her main role is in admin support, you start there.
"Well, she tends to come in late. The other staff members complain about her and she had a run in with the inside sales manager. On the other hand, she does a great job tracking our inbound calls and really bailed us out when we had the supplier audit earlier this month." You've now spent an hour or more thinking this through and the issue isn't any clearer than before.
Now if you apply a Management by Statistics program to the scene, things would be much easier to handle. You'd be able to measure and manage production in all areas of the distribution organization and pinpoint the difference between success and failure as it's happening, not afterward. And since many employees believe they are exchanging their time for a paycheck, this simple practice would help you reward "up-stats" and penalize "down-stats" with objective data tied directly to production.
I know that may sound a bit revolutionary to some, yet the truth is everyone tends to be happier in an organziation or area that's producing. How's it work?
1. Determine measurements of production that lead to success
2. Convert production measures to stats
3. Capture and report stats weekly (applies to everyone in the company)
4. Graph the stats weekly
5. Review the stats weekly
When you do this week to week, you'll find the review process a much easier experience. And if you reward increased production, you set the stage for additional increases in the coming weeks and years. The best place to start is with the next employee up for a review. Work out the stats in their area and start tracking and improving each one. After a while you'll have the entire company driving up production as a team and you'll reap the rewards for years to come.
Indeed. Managers, supervisors and staff all gain from the practice because it puts each individual more "at cause" over his or her area. If for example, I see my activity is falling below target, I feel more pressure to get my ethics in and do whatever's necessary to get to that target or perhaps above it before the week is up.
It's also useful in keeping everyone in a forward thinking mindset. Some years ago a good friend of mine at Arrow's Capstone division said he looks at the clock at the end of the day and wonders how many of his competitors are kicking back on their calls for the day. Knowing that, he would rally up and make a wave of calls to generate the right kind of activity. Point being; if you follow the stat method, you won't be prone to back off from doing key actions for simply because it's after 5 p.m. or the holiday is here. You'll know these things are coming up, so you'll be self-motivated to plan ahead and act accordingly.
Tvotapka, How could anyone argue with such well-reasoned and well-articulated idea? I'll try, though. You have expressed the position of the supervisor/employer who is after all in a position to take the time to plan how to assess the employee but this carefully planned assessment program may run into the employee's own plan. How should an employee approach the annual review? What does the employer know about how the employee feels? You didn't raise this in your analysis but it is critical to managing -- not manipulating -- the relationship. Any thoughts?
Perhaps the best way is for supervisors to have more frequent talks/reviews with their employees, even if it is only for a couple minutes each time. The annual review could include looking at how the employee handled reacting to/improving the statistics during the year.
One point I should add on the stat tracking. It should be done weekly. Departments should have brief "week ending" meetings with staff at which point, each individual reports his stats (literally showing his graphs), states the condition he's applying and then submits to his senior a written battle plan for the week. Why weekly? It provides you with 52 opportunities to make course corrections as you're traveling down the road. If I'm cruising down an interstate and I suddenly realize I've missed an exit, I'd hate to drive on another 100 miles without making a necessary correction. And that's the risk you take with monthly or quarterly tracking.
This is good. What sweetens the deal even more is recognition and a bit of competition amongst team members. I know that I would try a little hard to get 'Tech of the Month' etc if it were made public. My guess is with enough of those under your belt, you'd start to stand out from the rest of the crowd. Who wouldn't enjoy that limelight?
Now you're tracking! Managers get the objective data they need, employees get a little boost in the pants and everything is visible. No secrets makes for better communication and agreement within the group. When we've implemented this in firms we deal with, there's usually a gamesmanship that comes out of the practice.
Good point, Kumar. Team work and co-operation between employees is always important. With posting statistics about each person's job function, this is especially important in order to avoid confrontations between co-workers based on themselves comparing the statistics of others.
Writing up an Administrative Scale is probably the best way to get started as it covers three essential ingredients of a good organization - the things that define "the beingness" of the company, the "doingness" or things that require action, and the ultimate "havingness" or end products. Here's how it would look in full:
Valuable Final Products
The scale is worked up and down until each item is in full agreement with the other. And here is where you begin to discover things that weren't detected before, like counter-intentions, false data and misconceptions. A good, positive leader with a strong ethics presence gets this admin scale written up, posted and understood. It's really the best way to avoid the sensation of being on a teacup ride at Disney where your operation is concerned.
The goal and role of management should be to add value to the team’s effort. This can be done by defining a clear vision and goal, facilitate a working environment, set clear expectations and responsibilities, and provide the team enough autonomy where they can work and do their jobs with full commitment and confidence.
I agree with your post. You've got to make the expectations clear so that employees know what to do to reach the department's goal. I find it most productive when employees are happy at the environment.
One very successful action, and you'll see me refer to this many more times, relates back to the Organizing Board. If you put one of these together standardly, you'll have what are called Valuable Final Products at the bottom of each divisional column. A Valuable Final Product (as defined in the Hubbard Management System) is "something that can be exchanged with other activities in return for support. The support usually adds up to food, clothing, shelter, money, tolerance and cooperation." Every division of an organization should produce a VFP that may be exchangeable with other divisions. State it as briefly as you can. Have the staff understand it and be in agreement with it. Then later on down the line if there are struggles or bottlenecks or even morale issues, you'll be able to go back and review the activities being done against the VFPs. If you find there's been some new programs or projects introduced, and these don't align with your VFPs, you may have just debugged the problem right there!
By the way, the VFP concept trickles back up stream to individuals as well. Every terminal on your line has a series of VFPs to produce. A closed sale. Working computers and so on.
Before we even speak about driving up the production, I think that many service companies first need to re-assess their customer satisfaction. How many of you have problems with customer service being extremely ignorant. Say bill is messed up and you call customer service and most of the times you have to be passed to several other people, repeat yourself, and state that they have messed up your bill, then they say they will fix it and you have to check up on them later on. Wouldn't it be nice it we just make one phone call and they fix it immediately???
Why are customers so upset, they ask? It's service issue. The customer service representatives are mostly not trained well. They don't care about customer satisfaction. They just want to say "No" or transfer you to another department because it is the easy thing to do. That way they don't have to think or work. So how can you even increase productivity when you have got a bunch of pissed off customers?
Yes, yes and Yes! Surveying is so key. If you intend to deliver a product, or modify it to bring something new to market, you darn well better collect some intelligence as to what's needed or wanted. I know of many companies who managed to displace competitors simply because they probed deep enough to understand what was important to certain prospects. And to be frank, there's another benefit; each time you survey a prospect (or a customer) you've designed yourself deeper into that relationship. So think of it as a form of promotion as well.
Good point! In fact, that is one of the benefits of the system. It puts in ethics and objectivity. See when any employee comes into the scene as a new hire or promotion, the assumption is he or she shares the idea that production is good for the group. It certainly is the basis for good morale. And in the ideal scene, the supervisor - at the time of the appointment - review the individual's "hat pack," which is a write up of the post including its purposes, procedures and statistics. Every individual in the organization is responsible for his or her own stat and condition. So when the system is used standardly, you're putting your people in control over their own areas of influence. If I'm working for a distributor or manufacturer, I know how my stats are tracking week to week, month to month. If they're up, they're up, and the graphs will show that. Not just mine, but the areas I influence beyond my post.
If the stats are down, and down chronically, I'd be hard-pressed to justify a bump up in salary simply because I showed up for work. And in that case, I would want to use the review as an opportunity to identify what may be causing the condition, apply corrective measures based on each trend, and complete them in the right order. If not, then I'm simply assigning the responsibility for the survival of the group or department to someone else. And that's the first step toward a dwindling spiral.
By the way, when this system is put in, I've seen morale and production increase very quickly no matter what size the organization is. People get motivated to "keep their stats up" and end up coming up with creative ways and ideas to reach or exceed individual targets and goals. And that's the kind of self-determinism you want from your group.
I know I am coming into this conversation late and I apologize. I do love the Administrative Stats and scales you posted and I do agree that having clear measurable goals is critical to ensure a positive working atmosphere as well as achieving the desired production. I am torn however about posting the stats or establishing competition between employees. I say this with the caviot that it all depends on the type of business you are in since competition may be just what is needed to motivate the troops.
My concern however, that posting stats or establishing some kind of competition between employees could result in animosity towards the high performers which could ultimately result in a negative work environment - a result opposite to the original goal. Done properly though, competition is a wonderful motivator and can help departments raise production levels.
The right process and environment is essential towards achieving high productivity. For example, for software products, the use of agile process proves to be effective in most cases. Has any one heard about Lean ?
Your concerns are totally understandable! Yet here's the thing; everyone on the organizing board has something to gain when stats are up, particularly production stats. Someone who feels some disgruntlement over a chronically "up-stat" individual can be handled early in the process when the system is introduced. Management needs to be positive about this and confident enough to endorse this as a means to raise the "havingness" of everyone on board based on objective data, not corporate politics or popularity.
Growth of a company can be achieved only when it has an well established management process and good managers to lead the team. according to Mr doughlas theory X and theory Y are two different theories of addressing motivation. this should be the key component to drive production in the team theory X and Y are entirely different the manager should follow a mixture of theory X & Y for example leadership should contain hard management with a few according to scenarios and soft management he should be able to act accordingly and spread enthusiasm not only to the team also to different teams in the organisation
The Software Engineering Institute at Carneige Melon University has provided us with a good tool called CMM ( Capability Maturity Model ) which aims to improve the productivity of the whole organization by some simple process improvements. With this model an organization or a group can improve itself from a Chaotic to a managed to a well defined to a measured and finally an optimised organization or group. In this methodolgy the focus is on three things 1) define 2) measure 3) optimise. To be able to evaluate one's performance in a group the roles of each team member should be clearly defined. Then we should have identifiable parameters ( KPI - key performance indices) to measure one's perfromance. Once measured we can aim for improving on them in a quantitative manner. I think this model applies to all prfessionally managed activities. Why reinvent the wheel?
Sounds good. We've found success in having much of the production data up and in the open. In other words, "post the statistics" of each division or invididual so a manager can at any time determine the operating condition of any terminal in the organization at a glance. And, it's important to have the data updated weekly which will allow your staff to repair any trailing or lagging areas 52x annually vs. 12 times.
EBN Dialogue enables and encourages you to participate in live chats with notable leaders and luminaries. Not only editors and journalists, but the entire EBN community is able to comment and ask questions. Listed below are upcoming and archived chats.
Thailand Stages a Comeback Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Microsoft Surface: Potential Winners & Losers What are the implications for the electronics industry supply chain of Microsoft Corp.'s decision to launch its own tablet PC? Join industry veteran and EE Times' systems and OEM expert Rick Merritt on Tuesday, July 3, at 12:00 pm EDT for a Live Chat on this subject.
Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Peter Drucker famously said "Trying to predict the future is like trying to drive down a country road at night with no lights while looking out the back window." Yet in the razor's-edge world of electronics—with a lean supply chain and just-in-time demands—the need to know the future is vital.
While no one really can accurately predict the future, we can take guidance from another Drucker saying which is the best way to predict the future is to create it.
You've heard the saying "the No. 1 supply chain risk is your people." That hasn't always been the case. But today's complex global supply chain requires a new type of multitalented employee. It's one who understands, finance, marketing, economics, is savvy with technology, graceful with relationships and can think analytically.
Where are these people? Are universities properly preparing the next generation supply chain professionals? How do train your existing workforce for these new, demanding positions?
Brian Fuller, editor-in-chief of EBN, will lead a 60-minute Avnet Velocity panel discussion that will ask and answer these and other questions swirling around today's supply-chain talent challenges.