(This is Part III of a three part series on the Performance Plus Planning System which focuses on the Four P’s – Plan, Platform, Process, People, to create synergistic accountable organizations.)

 

Each of the architectural elements plotted below warrant their own detailed explanations, however, in this article I am attempting to provide only the “framework” to build a prosperous integrated business operation capable of achieving Next Level Accountability.  

THE PROCESS

A Leader must insure his team distinguishes how to operate with competence and consistency in order to harvest a level of “competitive:” quality which outstrips the anticipations of

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clients.  The Team must appreciate “who does what when” and possess the competency to produce impregnable outcomes.  The formation of a rock-solid Plan and investment of a superior Platform is squandered without a proficient, smooth, trustworthy, Process to carry it out.

Process improvement is one of the most conversed necessities for any business attempting to advance performance.  A pure and present Plan and an organizationally supportive Platform momentously intensifies the likelihood that Process improvement will have an evocative and enduring impact.

Reengineering and Continuous Process Improvement programs employed by a fixated Leader require a company-wide effort to scrutinize all tasks and their relevancy in achieving Strategic Goals.  Team based approaches which gather information, seek out solutions and accumulate buy-in should be used as an imperative portion of Process Development.

Since most organizations lack resources to apply a complete re-engineering approach, Leaders must look at set systems and develop Processes generating more resourceful and operative results.

As a part of the planning process, measurements should be developed to determine progress to the plan.  A Leader must also fix metrics that can be effortlessly and habitually monitored for results of the Process Improvement Program.

The Process

Re-engineering

A Leaders commitment to the continuous advancement of Quality is indispensable to long-term Customer Value Proposition.  Involvement and solutions for these advancements should be pursued throughout all expanses of the company.  Process Leaders should acquire proficiency and usage in Kaizen based events to ascertain and implement these improvements.

A Street Smart Leader preserves an “external focus” on improvements which are driven by customer needs to pilot the organization to a leading industry position. The conveyance of a performance based organization must be cultured continuously to insure costs are driven down and the competitive position is enhanced.

Quality improvement programs should be examined to determine if customer satisfaction is the driving force behind any new processes and ideals.  An introverted quality program that focuses only on reducing costs without regard to customer impact will produce a company which profitably goes out of business. The effectual organization is able to conceive methods of accomplishing more with less.

The Re-Engineering

Systems

Deliberations of Systems tend to be framed in terms of information processed on computers and through the Platform Structure.  But often much of the information vital to the realization of an organization’s project or strategic plan is processed through a multiplicity of people and offline systems.  These offline systems can vary to a wide degree depending on the individual in control, possibly creating serious fissures in productivity and quality.

Often these online and offline systems are treated as separate entities resulting in a “disconnect” throughout the entire process.  Leaders must work with their teams to map both process types into one all-inclusive exploration.  Once this is completed all team members involved will now understand the entire picture.

Understanding where online systems and offline systems intertwine with each other is a Leaders first step setting the groundwork for process improvement.  Once understood, he can then begin to construct connections safeguarding check and balances are built-in to the systems to prevent the “ball from dropping” thus creating true widespread organizational productivity.

The Systems

Metrics

The establishment of a resilient Metrics program conveys accountability upon an organization.  Performance gains are based on knowing where one is starting from and where they desire to go.  Comprehensive Measurement is the best methodology to track and communicate headway.  A Leaders challenge is in determining what to measure, how to measure it, and what the results really conclude.

Developing a “root cause” mentality from the onset of Strategic Planning sets the stage for determining what to measure.  Your team will focus attention and effort in the areas the company measures.  Therefore, it is imperative to insure Measurements support goals directly without creating conflict within the organizational factions.

Leaders should concentrate Measurements in the areas of Quality (external measurements), Productivity (internal measurements), and Growth (financial measurements).

The Metrics

THE PEOPLE

A Leader’s greatest Plans, Platforms, and Processes will spiral into a tailspin without an A-Team in place.  And probabilities are, his customers will notice it before he does.  Becoming a performance based organization is reliant on people strength at every position within the organization.

Team members must unmistakably apprehend the big picture strategy and their roles within it to realize triumph.  The quality of their character, drive and skills must consistently meet the highest standards.  And the Leader must generate and sustain a workplace in which team members surpassing these criteria excel to heightened levels of personal and professional culmination.

A-Players are the “competitive advantage” of the future.  The ability of a Leader to attract the “best” and provide them with ongoing inspiration is reliant on a Vision and Plan which is stimulating, a Platform that does not get in the way and a Process which allow the A-Team to deliver superior results of which they can be proud.

People focused Leaders must evaluate the capability, drive and character of their team.  Leaders also need to assess the future probability of success each team member is likely to attain in the organizations “next level’ and determine if they are adept to “step up and grow”.  The cultural elements that positively and negatively affect performance must also be evaluated and acted upon by the Leader.

The People

Roles

The performance based organization desires to recognize the needs of customers more piercingly than customers themselves. They not only strive to comprehend what is imperative today but also what will be compulsory tomorrow, and the day after.  Leaders must work with their teams to see they become ultra-sensitive to the essentials of the customer.  As management, sales, and marketing uncover customer desires a system must be in place to disseminate this information throughout the team so that all team members accept responsibility for satiating these requirements.

Every team member must become personally engaged in customer fulfillment.  Each team and function must apprehend the customer’s needs and be devoted to delivering only the best they have to offer; not only understanding their role but also the role of others who they are responsible for functioning with and supporting.

Leaders must instill in their team that performance based service must be recognized as an imperative consequence everyone partakes in.  It is not just the job of some other department. Politics, the Blame Game, shifting and other disastrous behaviors must be sought out and eradicated.  The “common goal” of delivering Customer Value Proposition must be the focus and stand as the pinnacle for company integration.

The Roles

People Quality

A performance based organization must be strenuously unyielding in communicating the Customer Value Proposition to each team member.  Education and training must be carefully planned to insure all team members are capable of conveying customer value.  This training and education must go beyond job function and include elements that teach team members about the needs and requirements of the customer from their perspective.  Teams should then be given an understanding on the company as a whole and how each area’s goals contribute to the Customer Value Proposition.

There are many ways in which to communicate, train, and educate employees, from formal classes and seminars to on the job activities.  The strongest bond in developing team involvement is to have a strongly oriented performance based culture that creates a tidal wave of positive attitude towards the company’s Mission and wins.  A Leader must lay the foundation for this cultural strength.

World Class Organizations demand the best from each team member.  For this phenomenon to perpetually renew Leaders must be committed to the personal and professional development of each team member.  A learning environment must be created in which team members feel free to grow their careers without risk.  At the same time it must be understood that performance problems will not be tolerated and will be dealt with swiftly and professionally.

People Quality

Morale

The most effective plan will not flourish without stout Team Morale.  Perhaps nothing is more telling of the climate of the company’s culture than to perform an employee audit.  Leaders should look for outside assistance to perform a credible audit as a part of the internal analysis.  Leadership should address problems creating low morale before long-term performance improvements are affected.  In areas where Leadership cannot enact changes due to external forces (such as challenging economic times), strong internal communications and support should be provided to fortify the understanding and acceptance of the team.  No organization can move towards “being the best” without a exceedingly motivated work force.

The culture should be one that strives to deliver the Customer Value Proposition.  It should strive for internal effectiveness and constantly search for areas of improvement.  Since quality of work becomes a reflection of the quality of working conditions, a Leadership must commit himself to providing top working conditions for his A-Team.  Everywhere quality becomes the top priority for delivering value.  Team members should have a fundamental understanding of the importance of the customer and the direct correlation of the customer’s fulfillment on their personal career and future prosperity.

The Morale

Developing proficient Processes and building a fantastic A-Team of People allows a Leader to catapult off of the prodigious Plan and Platform they have developed and achieve previously undiscovered summits as a Performance Organization.  Leaders capable of building an organizational architecture on the principles of the 4Ps will establish an enduring, prosperous, and mounting organizational model.  The Performance Plus process is a comprehensive hands-on approach into your organization’s depths to gather information, solve problems, create new ideas, and discover breakthrough possibilities while directly leading your people “into the fold”.  A Street Smart Leader knows the Performance Plus Process is about realizing results.  In striving to create Next Level Accountability, he moves past the conference room “feel-good” banter and materializes real Deliverables to propel his Performance’s progress and Teams success.

4P Deliverables

THE PERFORMANCE PLUS SYSTEM

NEXT LEVEL ACCOUNTABILITY

The Performance Plus System

All Leaders encounter a disheartening reality when they have built an A-Team of veracious proficient people, and then discover success continues to circumvent their preeminent efforts.  They have distinguished precise strategies, the “smartest” goals, and elaborate action plans, but their A-Team continues to spiral downward into an exasperating abyss.  Despite superlative attitudes, immense dedication, and soaring urgency, results plummet on a downward trend.  Such a perplexing Cycle of Un-Quality is sufficient to thrust any manager to the brink of anxiety and anger.

The resulting resolution is to stereotypically require more obligatory meetings, pursue and discover blame, pressure team members for perfection, and retire from the chamber, hopeful that the theatrics of the day will now make a difference.  Instead, the manager classically ends up with an awfully frustrated collection of individuals who, while committed to performing at their highest levels, are failing on a personal level.  An A-Team will receive this blow hard and conceive it as a “set-up”.  A-Team players who feel they are performing but failing can easily turn against the team and their manager as the reason for failure, instigating an implosion which essentially stops the team dead in the water.

Cycle of Un- Quality

An experienced Leader discovering his A-Team in this “drowning” condition will detect the manifestation of “root cause” issues which are holding down the team’s proficiency.  And before he runs off to find fault with the “Corporate” initiatives and directives, he will recognize there is one area which must be scrutinized first.  It is time to analyze if the right people are doing the right things, but in the wrong way.  A comprehensive examination of the current “Process” is essential.  The most adept A-Team will not reach their goals if they are not correctly synchronized.  And if they are out of sync over and over again, they are set-up for a frustrating failure which will become absolutely unacceptable to their personal sensibilities and Values.  A Leader must diagnose this condition and implement process analysis measures if he is to effectively guide his team back to striving for and attaining their goals.

Process Development and Improvement, once thought only to reside in the domain of Operations, has become a necessity for every function within an organization.  Whether it is Sales, Marketing, Customer Service, or Strategic Implementation an effectual process is a minimum requirement.  A Leader who can develop an exemplary process will not only create enhanced and faster deliverables, but he will gain a competitive advantage with which to win over the competition!

There are many disciplines to assist a Leader in Process Improvement.  They range from intricate and meticulous programs such as ISO Standards to “hands-on” team involved Kaizen events led by Six Sigma experts.  All of these programs work with the proper intelligence, discipline, feedback systems, and follow through.  But a Leader’s principal responsibility is to possess the skills and insights necessary to ascertain fundamental process pitfalls within their dominion.  Sitting in the back seat and turning one’s team over to a facilitator, who knows little about the objectives of their business unit, will result in a Leadership void guaranteed to negatively impact the implementation of any newly developed plans.   Even the best facilitator, will work a team towards consensus through collaboration running the risk of a watered-down plan lacking committed buy–in.  A Leader must retain charge of the Process Improvement analysis and initiative.  Leaders carry the definitive responsibility for their team’s turnaround and therefore, must look at an external facilitator only as a resource to their Leadership.

As a Leader, it is your responsibility to understand the basics of Process Improvement.  There is a great amount of information available regarding Six Sigma tools and the effectiveness of properly run Kaizen Events.  Gaining a strong personal foundation in these skills, allows you to identify process problems early on with your team.  Swift action with the proper tools can change a problematic course before your team’s failure and frustration sets-in.  A Leader should be able to provide the “first line of defense” for his A-Team before it becomes necessary to call in the lifeboats and await their arrival.

You will discover many accessible tools: fishbone charts, brainstorming methodologies, from/to diagraming exercises, and the like.  But when I sense a process may be off-track and requires evaluation I seize a modest tool called a Deployment Chart created by quality guru Dr. W. Edwards Deming.  The Deployment Chart is a flowcharting mechanism which allows you to inspect a process and apprehend the numerous relationships different people in the process have to the tasks and to each other.  It originates with a comprehensive understanding of the basic roles and responsibilities of each team player, but focuses deliberation on the separation of tasks due to an ineffective workflow.

The Deployment Chart moves past the typical linear examination of task sequence and examines a multi-dimensional formatting process from a “people perspective”.  Upon embarking on any new management assignment, I ask for a copy of the written processes.  Then I take them home and at night and plot the processes on a Deployment Chart to determine early on where my new team may be struggling.  Just because the process has defined the correct steps in the correct order, it does not qualify for effectiveness on the “people level”.  I once walked into a consulting assignment where the company had implemented a new company-wide process, just weeks before.  Although they spent six months creating the new process, they were frustrated with the lack of progress and were already conducting Un-Quality Meetings.  I took the procedures, locked myself in a conference room for one hour, and then headed to the owner’s office (Deployment Chart in hand) to graphically show him why their new process was doomed to failure.  We identified and resolved the systemic problems the next day and rolled out a new process which continued working for years.

Preparing a Deployment Chart is actually rather simple.  On the left side of the paper, proceeding down a vertical column, you list all of the tasks involved in a process in their current sequence.  Across the top of the paper you list each of the roles for people who are involved in the process.  With the tasks on the left side and the roles across the top of the paper a matrix has been formed which will help us identify the efficiency of the process flow.  For each task on the left side of this page, identify the role on the top of the page that is responsible for actually performing and completing the task and then make a mark in that box on the matrix.  Only one role or person can be truly responsible for any given task.  If a task is somehow shared by two or more people, you should attempt to break it out into two separate tasks.

Poor Process Flow - Doesn't Have a Chance

An examination of our completed Deployment Chart will show us whether we have a smooth flowing process that makes sense.  Often times the Deployment Chart will display a process containing multiple hand-offs back and forth between people, or worse, between departments.  The matrix will highlight where “the ball will be dropped” and where departmental walls have the potential to block and delay the process.  You will also be able to identify unfortunate scenarios where two people who are required to be associated and connected with a particular part of the process are entirely detached and removed from each other in the process structure.

Good Process Flow - Smooth Team Interaction

Accurate examination of your Deployment Chart combined with constructive A-Team meetings should result in revamping your process into a smooth flowing platform.  A new process which addresses and flows toward a people-centric solution will intensify productivity, advance communication, diminish stress and frustration, and create innovative benchmarks for higher results.

All Leaders must understand the importance of Process Improvement and the potential gains they can achieve regardless of their organizational function.  But a Street Smart Leader does not wait until his team is drowning in the Un-Quality Cycle before he takes action.  He arms himself with the fundamental tools to take early and swift action as soon as bottlenecks, dropped balls, and team frustration materializes.  Waiting for the Six Sigma Team to show up only delays improved results and sets you in the back seat waiting for rescue.  Read the books and attend the seminars necessary to become a Process Improvement expert in your own right.  It is a major component of any Leader’s Accountability.  When the Kaizen lifeboat finally surfaces to pull your team out of the water, they will find you have already accomplished your process work and are soaring towards new horizons of success!