Houston, we have a problem! (HPtE #8)

A Finance Manager, Ops Manager, HR Manager and a group of Employees walk into a bar. They all fight over whose round it is. End of joke.

The Finance Manager had noticed that the Ops Manager and HR Manager always ask for more money than they need. They also noticed that every year they spend all of the money they asked for whether they needed to or not. And those Employees seem to be the biggest cost (opportunity) of all.  If only those people would change their behaviour, stop working in silos and be more accountable.

The Ops Manager had noticed that the Finance Manager and HR Manager want to put controls in place for everyone to keep everything stable. They also noticed that changing the amount or placement of people is their colleagues favoured way to try and improve performance. And as for trying to predict how much time and money is required – we better ask for more than we need and build in some extra for safety, especially the labour component. If only those people would change their behaviour, stop trying to control what is uncontrolable and let us do our work.

The Employee’s had noticed that the Managers always wanted improvements relating to time and money but it usually came at their cost. They started to spend more work time with their Union trying to get a fair share of the money. If only the Managers would change and realise how important Employees are.

The HR Manager had noticed that the Ops Manager and the Finance Manager want to have people ‘on the tools’ all the time. They also noticed that despite the Manager’s desire for continuous improvement there was little time and money spent on the growth of the people doing the work. To make matter worse, every time the Managers would put pressure on improving things the Employee’s and their Union would resist. If only everyone would stop fighting with each other over time and money.

If only those people would change!

I have said this in a previous post but it is worth repeating. The thing is people respond to the environment they are in. They respond to the operating system they are part of.

The most common operating system today was actually designed in the industrial age when things moved much slower. That is when silos worked. That is when controls and restructuring worked. That is when people were expected to do the same thing day in and day out and work like machines. That is when Unions were formed to protect Employees. That is when that operating system worked.

That operating system is very ingrained in us. That operating system sets us up to compete with each other. That operating system is old and tired (well at least the people in it are feeling that way). That operating system doesn’t work in a fast-changing world.

It’s not the peoples’ fault. It is the operating system they are part of.

Let’s look at what is going on.

The people looking after finances want to reduce the time spent and keep the money. They compete for their time and money.

The people looking after operations want to reduce the time spent and spend money on improvements. They compete for their time and money.

The people doing the work want to keep their time and get more of the money. They compete for their time and money.

The people in HR are trying to keep everyone working together and deal with the conflict that keeps turning up. They are trying to stop everyone competing for time and money and prevent it from turning into a more serious conflict.

Houston, we have a problem!

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P.s. Here is a link to the next post: 22 serious problems when people compete for time and money (HPtE #9)

The history behind the 3C’s (HPtE #7)

Finding the synergy between the 3C’s is not an easy task, and it has alluded many.  Some will tell you that it is impossible, but there are now numerous examples of organisations throughout the world who have found some level of synergy and have reaped the benefits.  It is possible, but it takes commitment, perseverance and courageous leadership.

Before we explore the ‘how to’ and road map of the HPtE Strategy™ Framework it is necessary to explore the relationship between the 3C’s and what causes the tension that exists.

The Traditional Metric – Commercial

“Cash is king”, “money doesn’t grow on trees” and “money is the root of all evil”.  Whatever your feelings towards money it is the lifeblood of all organisations.

Traditionally, organisations have focused on achieving performance by focusing only on commercial responsibility. Organisations would look for improvements in efficiency and then try to convert those improvements into financial results. The fastest and easiest way to do that is to focus on improvements that reduce cost.  In part this was because of an environment of mass production with limited consumer choice. Efficiency is also far easier to measure numerically than anything else.  It was perceived to be difficult, and unnecessary, to measure Consumer Value.

Evolving Metrics – Commercial and Consumer Value

But, reducing costs and driving efficiency will only get you so far. If you cut too deep, you start to impact on the ability to add value to the customer.  Focusing on reducing cost has another more devastating effect that we will discuss further on.

The last two decades have seen more of a focus on continuous improvement (CI) towards creating increased consumer value and improved processes as well as converting those improvements into financial results. Strategies like Lean, Six Sigma and Agile have made a significant contribution to this effort.

Apple is an excellent example of an organisation that delivers to both financial results and consumer value.  How important do you think it was for Apple to up the game with the iPhone and then again with the iPad?

We know that Commercial responsibility and Consumer value are essential for high performance.  But what if we want sustainable high performance?

Where does a culture that is safe, secure and satisfying fit into the picture?  We ask this question in our introductory workshops.  The answer is always “culture best connects to finding improvements”.

Commercial, Consumer Value and Culture

A constructive Culture is a key to unlocking improvements to Consumer Value.  Remember that bus driver in an earlier post?  What difference does a warm smile and going the ‘extra mile’ make to perceived Consumer Value?

There is an important assumption that should be made explicit here. The people closest to the Consumer or the process have more knowledge, intuition and experience about how to make improvements to Consumer Value than anyone else.

As we move out of the ‘Industrial Age’ and into the ‘Knowledge Age’ where we have to adapt and change faster than ever a new aspect of history is evolving where finding the synergy between the 3C’s is critical for sustainable high performance.

So, where is the problem?  Why is it so difficult to find synergy between the 3C’s?

The problem occurs because the people behind each of the 3C’s compete for time and money. More on that in the next post.

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P.s. Here is a link to the next post: Houston, we have a problem! (HPtE #8)

Sustainable High Performance – The 3 must haves and problem solving (HPtE #6)

The 3C’s are necessary conditions that form a foundation for sustainable high performance.

If sustainable high performance is your goal then finding synergy between Commercial Responsibility, Consumer Value and a constructive Culture is a must have.

But how do we get everyone focused on all three when different people think one is more important than the other two?

Finding the synergy between the 3C’s is not an easy task and it has alluded many.  It takes commitment, perseverance and courageous leadership.  Probably, more than anything, it requires that we use our ability as human beings to collectively problem solve.  We need to work together collectively to meet all of our interests

Peter Senge sums it up best:

“The smartness we need is collective. We need cities that work differently. We need industrial sectors that work differently. We need value change and supply change that are managed from the beginning until the end to purely produce social, ecological, and economic well-being.

That is the concept of intelligence we need, and it will never be achieved by handful of smart individuals. It’s not about ‘the smartest guys in the room.’ It’s about what we can do collectively. So the intelligence that matters is collective intelligence, and that’s the concept of ‘smart’ that I think will really tell the tale.”

Peter Senge

Taiichi Ohno, the grandfather of the Toyota Production System and Lean also gave us a clue as to how to create sustainable high performance:

“Why not make the work easier and more interesting so that people do not have to sweat? The Toyota style is not to create results by working hard.  It is a system that says there is no limit to people’s creativity.  People don’t go to Toyota to ‘work’ they go there to ‘think’.” 

Taiichi Ohno

Part of an HPtE Strategy™ is to use problem solving methodologies that are capable of discovering the interests of all stakeholders and collectively find options that can be combined to meet those interests. Part of an HPtE Strategy™ is to use Interest Based Problem Solving.

The pyramids in Egypt would not have been easy to build.  They would have taken a long time and a great deal of commitment and perseverance from all who were involved. They have, however, stood the test of time and have been resilient to the harshest of climates for centuries.  Finding the synergy between the 3Cs and building this pyramid in your organisation will not just bring resilience but will create an environment for adaptive growth, innovation and sustainability.

To find the synergy between the 3C’s and harness the collective intelligence within your organisation you will need a robust strategy and framework.

Now that we have discussed the foundation in the previous posts we will begin to explore the HPtE Strategy™ Framework and the critical function of interest based problem solving.

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P.s. Here is a link to the next post: The history behind the 3C’s (HPtE #7)