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Maset News

Volume 44  November 17, 2004

Introduction
Message From Charles Loew
Comments From Our Readers
New On The Maset Web Site
Helpful Hints from fellow Practitioners
Tips from Our School for Managers
One Liners
Feature Of This Issue
Second Feature Of This Issue
Coming in the Next Few Issues
Housekeeping

INTRODUCTION:

Welcome to MASET News. A monthly publication dedicated to the communication between MASET and our many interested friends, customers and potential customers

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MESSAGE FROM CHARLES LOEW:

As the economy in the United States continues to improve, you might need some extra help in becoming more competitive. We offer assistance in many areas and welcome your calls. Any introductions you could make for us to some of your customers or suppliers would be greatly appreciated. The growth of the United States and the world economy will only occur if we all are trying to get better. You can reach me vie e-mail at Charles.Loew@masetllc.com or by calling at 1-480-775-1269

We are pleased to announce an alliance with HRWorkbench; a firm based in Australia that is very effective in utilizing the web as a tool for collecting information to assist organizations improve.

We have added six new Products and Services to our web page this month and have a number of additional ones in the works. We are always on the alert for new things to offer you, our readers. If there is any specific area in which you are interested, please contact us and we will try to add them to our offerings for you.

Our first article this month, by H. James Harrington, discusses an effective recognition program. A good recognition system is divided into three important components: Compensation, Reward and Recognition. James spends a considerable amount of time defining the attributes of a good system and identifies some ways for you to quickly determine how healthy your recognition system is serving your organization.

Our second article, by Joan Koerber-Walker, covers strategic planning and the issues most organizations have in effectively executing the strategy that is developed during a Strategic Planning Session. The development of the strategy is relatively easy and can be facilitated by an outsider quickly and effectively. The ongoing issue of execution on a month to month basis while fighting the hourly and daily battles is where most organizations fall down. This article will offer you some practical suggestions to overcome this issue.

This month we do not have a QBQ but have a third article titled "Stand Back and Help It Happen". This is a very insightful article concerning how we can help facilitate things happening much quicker, easier and more effectively if we become a facilitator instead of a leader. There are a very well defined set of skills that a good facilitator brings to the table that most leaders do not have. Read, learn and enjoy this article.

In October we began the annual Holiday Season. We at Maset wish our readers, friends and families a happy Holiday Season with Peace, Happiness and Prosperity to all. May this next year be the one to fulfill your dreams and may your dreams help us all to understand and accept each other and create a better world.

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COMMENTS FROM OUR READERS:

  • "It is great reading your news letter. Larry's story really points at something which most of us want to do but don't do. Can you please add little more stuff like tool kit in your newsletter?" - Indonesia (Any comments from our other readers on this suggestion?)
  • "I enjoyed the stories in this month's issue. It's surprising how little corporations know about customer service and what it can do for them. They fix on customer service as a cost not a benefit. Happy travels." - Arizona

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NEW ON THE MASET WEB SITE:

We have added six new Products and Services that utilize blended learning and face to face consulting. Each of these additional Products and Services utilize the web to collect information and some of them also use the web as a tool for individual learning.

  • Leadership Benchmark is used for the leader having a number of employees and peers, enabling the leader to receive excellent feedback of his/her performance as viewed by all individuals that interface with the leader.
  • Management Competency Assessment gives a management team a look at how they function and lead the organization towards the established vision, mission and specific strategies and goals of the organization.
  • CHECKpoint provides a quick and effective way to gauge the feeling and health of your organization. With a short 25 question survey done regularly, you can determine the overall attitude of the organization. The CHECKpoint does not replace the complete employee survey done annually but does allow frequent views of the progress that is being made to change the areas identified in the extensive employee surveys.
  • RxSales: An Expert Performance System is a methodology to train the sales organization in the area of Consultative Selling. As a result of the changes in the environment and the internet, Consultative Selling is the best way to add value to a purchaser's buying process. Through the use of assessment, blended learning and face-to-face sessions, the sales force can be trained in this new methodology.
  • Pro-Active Values helps each individual to understand their personal drives, motivators, and values. Each member of the team knows their personal values and can operate more effectively. Knowing your own values will help you operate more effectively. Sharing them with your team will significantly increase the effectiveness of the team.
  • Pro-Active Styles Understanding your unique behavioral style will assist you in the performance of your position and if shared with your team will greatly enhance the relationships between each team member.

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HELPFUL HINTS FROM FELLOW PRACTITIONERS:

Establish comfortable emotional environment to encourage people to participate and meet the objective. This may involve use of "toys" or other artifacts in a casual environment.

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Tips from Our School for Managers
- by Andrew E. Schwartz

SETTING GOALS:

The goal-setting process enables an organization to check on the attainment of both its short-term and long-term objectives. When properly done, this process provides an array of valuable benefits and is a link to coaching, motivation, and performance management. Working without goals is much like trying to bowl without pins at the end of the alley. There is nothing to aim for, no way to determine how many pins you have knocked down. Human beings, by their very nature, are scorekeepers; we love to know how close we come to the target. If there is no way for us to tell how well we are doing, we will probably drop out of the game. Goals provide the necessary measuring sticks to tailor work into actual productivity. And contrary to what many people believe, goal setting is not an elusive or complicated process. It merely requires communication between management and employees and a desire to clearly state where you want to go, how you will get there, and how you will know you have arrived.

Copyright A.E. Schwartz & Associates, all rights reserved
For more information: Charles.Loew@masetllc.com

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ONE LINERS - "To make you think and/or smile"

  • I always try to go the extra mile at work, but my boss always finds me and brings me back.
  • There are three sides to every argument: your side, my side and the right side.

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FEATURE OF THIS ISSUE:


THANKED YOUR EMPLOYEES TODAY?
No organization can afford to ignore a recognition system.

By H. James Harrington

Today's competitive society wouldn't exist without people seeking recognition-something everyone needs, values and strives to obtain. This often means simply having someone acknowledge your work.

Rewards are just one part of an effective recognition system, which is the most important tool we have to maximize the effectiveness and efficiency of our human resources. Unfortunately, it's often neglected. We train our managers to handle unsatisfactory employees but neglect to demonstrate the value of recognizing outstanding performance. In fact, few organizations have well-documented recognition procedures, and fewer still have an item on their managers' appraisal form indicating how well they're used.

Using a recognition system will effectively improve quality and productivity by at least 10 percent. It will also significantly improve morale and customer satisfaction, and reduce absenteeism and turnover rates.

We all agree that individuals are different and have varying interests and needs. Accordingly, an organization must develop a multifaceted recognition system that provides managers with a meaningful way to say "thank you" to every employee. This can be complicated because each employee hears "thank you" in a different way. Some like their thanks in cash because they're saving for a car; others would appreciate a trip to the annual American Society for Quality's Annual Quality Congress. Still others would be pleased by a promotion, whereas some simply want an office with a window.

A company must have almost as many ways to express thanks as it has people in its employ. Moreover, the type of thanks must vary based upon the activity's importance to the organization. A lapel pin might be appropriate to recognize an employee's 10 years of service, although a $10,000 check and a plaque are more appropriate to give someone for developing a patent that's important to the organization's future growth.

Throughout our lives we're rewarded for acting out desired behaviors that are defined by someone else. Our mothers rewarded us by saying, "Eat your spinach, and you'll get dessert." Yes, recognition makes us eat spinach, study harder, be more productive and produce better quality work. Lack of recognition causes us to become lazier, give up easier, do sloppier work or search elsewhere for a job that recognizes us for our individual contributions.

Consider a recognition system as subdivided into the following categories:

  • Compensation-to be financially reimbursed for services provided
  • Rewards-to receive a gift for above-average performance or quality
  • Recognition-to show appreciation for behaving in a desired way

The Public Agenda Foundation conducted a study on recognition and discovered that more than 70 percent of the employees feel that recent work efforts have deteriorated because there's no correlation between pay and performance.

Use the following questions to evaluate your present recognition system:

  • Does it recognize individuals who make unusual contributions and encourage their continuing effort?
  • Does it reinforce the organization's continuous commitment to superior performance and organizational excellence?
  • Does it make maximum use of the rewards given to highlight outstanding performance?
  • Does it provide numerous ways to say "thank you" to every employee?
  • Has it been documented and adequately explained to managers?
  • Are rewarded individuals recognized by employees as people who perform at exceptionally high levels?
  • Does it reinforce the desired behavioral changes that the organization must bring about to continuously excel?
  • Does it boost morale?
  • Does it allow a manager to recognize an employee soon after he or she has demonstrated the desired behavioral pattern?

I recommend the following procedure for implementing a recognition system:

  1. Establish a recognition task team.
  2. Analyze the present recognition system.
  3. Define desired behaviors.
  4. Present the results of the recognition system and desired behavior analyses to management.
  5. Prepare the recognition system's operating procedures.
  6. Obtain management approval of the system.
  7. Establish recognition funding.
  8. Train management to use the recognition system.
  9. Measure the system's effectiveness and update it as needed.

I'm looking for outstanding examples of recognition systems. If you have one that you're proud of and would like to share with other Quality Digest readers, please send me a description of it.

About the author
    H. James Harrington is CEO of the Harrington Institute Inc. and chairman of the board of Harrington Group.



    Reprinted with permission of the author. Originally appeared in Quality Digest, April 2004, p. 16.

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SECOND FEATURE OF THIS ISSUE:


Executive Summary - The Power and Perils of Strategic Planning
By Joan Koerber-Walker

The future of any organization is tied directly to the strategic decisions made today AND the ability to effectively execute on that strategy!

While we all understand the importance of thinking and acting strategically, often the demands of running the day to day business get in the way. A good strategic process focuses on what we must do to execute on the key actions for today and also provides a road map for long term actions that enhance and ensure our companies future.

As we develop our business strategy, we often focus our attention on the "fires" burning in our business. But our focus on the fire often inhibits our ability to objectively view the world around us and quickly react to it.

To complicate the process, the world around us is constantly changing...

  • Changing Competition
  • Competing Products
  • Customer Needs
  • Customer Wants
  • New Business Models
  • New Business Theory

Research has shown that most organizations have some form of strategic plan. These plans normally consist of:

  • Vision
  • Mission
  • Strategic Objectives or Goals
  • Projects
  • Tasks
  • Anticipated Results

Unfortunately, for many organizations, the most important components - the Anticipated Results - do not materialize. While those closest to the plan would fall back to excuses based on outside environmental or economic factors - things outside of their control - the reality is that often a plan fails through lack of foresight or execution.

For many organizations, strategic planning is a once a year event. The resulting plan is then fixed and reviewed at the end for successes and failures. This is the great peril of strategic planning - the false security created by having a plan. Having a plan is only the fist step - it is the execution of that plan over time that will determine the organizations success or failure to achieve anticipated results.

Strategic planning must always be a dynamic process. To be effective, the strategic plan must be a living document. It provides a roadmap for day to day activities that are designed to build towards the organization's long term and short term goals

An effective strategic execution process requires ongoing activity, effective delegation of key responsibilities, and monitoring of results at short and regular intervals. For greatest effectiveness, this process must be embedded into the culture of the organization so that each plan participant understands how their actions can affect the organizations strategic results.

Successful organizations have learned that strategy must be embedded in the culture across the organization and include strategic thinking, strategic planning AND strategic execution. When this is adopted within all levels of the organization - anything is possible!

About the author
    Joan Koerber-Walker is Executive Director and Founder of CorePurpose, an Arizona based distributor of consulting, software and outsourced solutions. CorePurpose provides Services and Solutions that build Businesses, in the areas of strategy, sales and marketing, IT, finance, operations and HR/OD.


Copyright CorePurpose, Inc. September 2003

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THIRD FEATURE OF THIS ISSUE:


Stand Back and Help It Happen
Sometimes you can accomplish more by doing less.
By A. Blanton Godfrey, Ph.D.

Once in a while you meet a person or read something that totally changes your thoughts about a subject. A year ago both those things happened to me. At an emerging issues forum at our university, Ernesto Sirolli gave a short presentation based on his experience and his book, Ripples from the Zambezi (New Society Publishers, 1999). In it, he summarizes what he has learned about facilitating projects in Africa, Australia and the United States. The lessons are so simple, I asked myself the inevitable, "Why didn't I know this already?"

Years ago, Sirolli and a group of young colleagues traveled from Italy to Africa to help grow tomatoes. "We knew we wouldn't fail because if there's one thing Italians know, it's tomatoes," he described. However, they did fail. The people they were trying to help quietly did what they were told and collected their wages. But the entire time, they knew far more about growing tomatoes in their country than the five volunteers from Italy; the African natives just didn't say it.

Other examples of misplaced altruism in this region abound. The French sent a team of professors to the Ivory Coast to test students for a high school certificate. They were later shocked at the students' poor results on a test designed in Paris.

Shaken by the well-meaning but clearly ill-conceived venture, Sirolli went back to Italy and started reading everything he could about how projects like his should have been run. One of the seminal books he discovered was Fritz Schumacher's Small is Beautiful (Perennial, 1989). He has subsequently learned in the past 20 years that these lessons should be required study for every quality manager, facilitator, team leader, and Green and Black Belt. Shumacher's first two lessons in the book are:

  • If people don't ask for help, leave them alone.
  • There's no good or bad technology to carry out a task, only an appropriate or an inappropriate one. Something big, modern and expensive isn't necessarily best; it all depends on the circumstances.

We all have painful memories of trying to force help on someone in our organizations. We know our way is better, and if they'd just change, we could improve throughput, reduce costs and improve quality. We want to help them change so much; why do they resist?

We've all worked on projects in which the goal seemed to be justifying new and expensive technology. There's a certain amount of cynical truth to the old joke that a problem can be solved in only three ways: more people, more money or a bigger computer. What Schumacher stressed was that we shouldn't take for granted our ability to identify other people's problems or offer solutions that are appropriate to the situation. Based on his work in economic development in Australia and the United States, Sirolli states that the facilitator's first task is to find the passion. You can only help someone who truly has a passion for that particular project or business.

The second task is to put it together. The facilitator best serves not by improving the work done by the passionate person-the true expert-but by helping fill in the other pieces where the person isn't an expert. Here's where the facilitator's true talent can shine. The hard work is pulling a team of diverse people together, designing a plan in which everyone shares the work and the rewards, and keeping everyone moving forward toward the goal.

Sirolli also recommends that we must be passive. Our job isn't to talk someone into going somewhere but to help those who have already decided they want to make the journey. One of the key skills in being passive is active listening. We must absorb everything we can and ask skillful questions. Often the very act of explaining things to us in great detail helps the presenter understand his or her task far better. It also helps the would-be entrepreneur understand what's known and unknown about the project. Sirolli stresses the absolute necessity of keeping all discussions totally confidential. This project is someone else's baby, and we have no right to share it with others without permission.

Often we can bring our business planning skills to bear. We can help create an early rough draft to see what will be needed and then help put the right team together to write the complete plan. Here's where we can truly add value by using our contacts and past experience to create a network of skilled people who can do their parts and begin to form the project team or even a new company.

One of the most important traits we can bring to a project is a love of action and wanting results. Sirolli's final recommendation is one of the most important and too often ignored: Give all credit to the team; they did the hard work. It's their passion and their future, not yours.

Sirolli's advice to facilitators is to:

  • Find the passion.
  • Put the right team together.
  • Be passive.
  • Learn to listen more than talk.
  • Be visible.
  • Work in confidence.
  • Help create a real plan.
  • Build a network.
  • Love action.
  • Give credit to the client.

    About the author
        A. Blanton Godfrey, Ph.D., is dean and Joseph D. Moore Professor North Carolina State University's College of Textiles.



        Reprinted with permission of the author. Originally appeared in Quality Digest, April 2004, p. 14.

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    COMING IN THE NEXT FEW ISSUES:

    • Future tips from Our School for Managers will include topics in Coaching, Goal Setting, Time Management, Communication, Delegation and many others.
    • Sales and marketing workshops
    • A new workshop - Mentoring for Employee Success
    • GoalCentrix - Driving Effective Plan Execution
    • Online resources for HR professionals:
    • A new links page to connect you to other sites of interest and value to you

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    Comments about MASET NEWS:

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