Posts Tagged ‘behaviors’

Character and Personality #4: Time

by Gary Monti on July 27, 2010

Would you like to quickly determine where synergies and problems exist in an organization? Come along to see how knowing individual’s temperaments can help predict possible outcomes in situations.

Traits

Temperament refers to preferred ways of thinking. Traits refer to preferred behaviors. They correlate well. Let’s look at a mythical company with the following temperament mix:

CEO – NT (intuitive thinker)

Senior staff member – NF (intuitive feeler)

Operations manager – SJ (sensing judger)

Programmer – SP (sensing perceiver)

None of them want their time wasted. The problem is with their perception of time. Here is the order in which they prioritize past, present, and future. Also, their nicknames have been included to give a hint as to where their priorities lie.

TRAIT Nickname Past Present Future
NT Field Marshal 2 3 1
NF Organizer 3 1 2
SJ Enforcer 1
SP Doer 1 2 3

So how does this play out in the work place? Take a look at the table below.

TRAIT Nickname Positive Traits
NT Field Marshal
  • Sees where the company can be in the future.
  • Sets standards and holds to them.
  • Delegates today’s activities to others.
  • Strategic thinker
  • Holds on to the vision throughout difficulties.
  • Leads the way and doesn’t waver.
  • Main interest is achieving dreams and accomplishments.
  • The past informs the future. Incorporates lessons-learned into future plans.
NF Organizer
  • Takes interest in others and how they are brought together to get things done.
  • Pays attention to the overall-balance among key factors
  • Puts “teeth” into the NT’s strategic plans.
  • Will look towards the future by focusing on generating cooperation today.
  • Works as a shock absorber between the NT and lower ranks.
SJ Enforcer
  • Focuses on NOW.
  • Stays on task and gets things done.
  • Knows the limits of available resources.
  • Tactically-oriented.
  • Supports the strategies that come down from above
SP Doer
  • Prefers a structure be presented within which work can be performed.
  • Wants to know what the orders are for getting work done.
  • Prefers others develop strategies.
  • Wants involved when tasks are defined.

As you have probably guessed by now, there can be a dark side to all this.

TRAIT Nickname Negative Traits
NT Field Marshal
  • Doesn’t hesitate to change on-going work in order to leverage the future.
  • Believes the project is complete at the moment of delegation.
  • Does not want to be distracted by problems from the present.
  • Risk management is for nay-sayers. It can distract from the future.
  • Positive criticism downplayed or ignored.
  • Negative criticism emphasized.
  • Little interest in people and their requirements.
  • Can ride roughshod over others and have a short memory regarding those behaviors
NF Organizer
  • Can lose sight of the need to mend problems from the past since there is push for today and the future.
SJ Enforcer
  • Rules are to be enforced, not questioned.
  • The past can’t be fixed and the future is out of reach so don’t waste time on either of them.
  • Finds strategizing, planning, and spending time on what-ifs boring.
  • Wonders if strategies are sane.
SP Doer
  • Wonders if the plan is sane.
  • Can be rebellious yet wants no risk.
  • Can go in own direction without informing others.
  • Gauges work and others based on how the SP was treated in the past.
  • Change is viewed with suspicion. The past needs to be resolved.

The Leadership Challenge

You can see that avoiding wasting time can quickly turn into a multi-dimensional problem quickly. Taking the time to understand others pays huge dividends by providing clear vision as to strengths and limits in situations. With that as a base planning and execution can proceed realistically.

Quality #11: Driving Change Through Leadership

by Tanmay Vora on November 23, 2009

change through leadershipWelcome to the penultimate post in this 12-part series on QUALITY, titled #QUALITYtweet – 12 Ideas to Build a Quality Culture.

Here are the first ten posts, in case you would like to go back and take a look:

  1. Quality #1: Quality is a long term differentiator
  2. Quality #2: Cure Precedes Prevention
  3. Quality #3: Great People + Good Processes = Great Quality
  4. Quality #4: Simplifying Processes
  5. Quality #5: Customers are your “Quality Partners”
  6. Quality #6: Knowing what needs improvement
  7. Quality #7: Productivity and Quality
  8. Quality #8: Best Practices are Contextual
  9. Quality #9: Quality of Relationship and Communication
  10. Quality #10: Inspection can be a waste if…

#QUALITYtweet Critical question: Knowing that

people will change only if they want to, how do you

make sure they “want” to change?

Process Improvement is a “change” game and implementing change isn’t always easy. In case of process improvement, the challenge is to change habits and behaviors of your people. That makes it even more difficult.

People change, not by “force” but by their “intent”. With force, people may dispassionately comply with your processes, but for true involvement, their intent needs a direction. With this as a given, critical questions are:

  • How do you make sure that you implement change by driving intent of people?
  • How do you make sure that people are passionately involved in change?

The answer to these is “Change Leadership”. Leading a change means undertaking right initiatives, mobilizing resources, addressing soft aspects like motivation, overcoming hurdles and aligning the teams to make it happen. How can change leadership drive process improvement initiative? Here are a few pointers:

  • Accurately define what needs a change: Apply 80:20 rule to identify what needs improvement. It is easy to align people when they know that they are improving the right areas that have maximum business/operational impact.
  • Create a change time line: Humans work best when they work against a time line. We often tend to get complacent when there are no deadlines. Reasonable pressure helps us become more creative. Create a time line by when change will be implemented with a step-by-step action plan. This also creates a sense of urgency.
  • Engage people: People tend to commit themselves to things they are involved in. Involve practitioners and managers in defining the change. They are the ones who will be impacted by the change. Engage them by explaining them the larger context, vision and business need. When they know the larger picture, they can align their actions accordingly. They also need to know the “What’s in it for me?” part. How will they become more effective? How will this change help them improve their performance? They want to know this.
  • Review progress periodically: If you don’t monitor your people, you give them a reason to slow down. Have short and effective meetings (in group or one-on-one) with people involved in change. Take a stock of how things are going. Understand their problems. Help them do better. They get help and you get the broader picture. If you hit some roadblocks, you still have chance to re-align. Review early and often. This is also your opportunity to share progress and motivate people involved in improvement initiatives.
  • Lead: Give them the context and set them free. Micromanagement on tasks can kill creativity and morale. Be there to help them, but let them do it on their own. People learn the most when they try to do it themselves. They will make mistakes. Help them overcome and share the lessons learned. Set right examples for them to follow.
  • Share rewards: when you link participation with rewards, it will help you get voluntary participation from people. But after they have participated, it is only your leadership abilities that will keep them going. You will still have lot of people who will willingly participate.
  • Keep rotating teams: Once a change cycle is implemented, induct new team members in the improvement team. You maximize the opportunities for everyone to get involved in defining improvements. Broader the participation, wider the acceptance of change.

Last but not the least, people engage when they see continuity of effort. If your improvement initiative is temporary or ad-hoc, people will not engage beyond the first cycle. When people see consistent results from a process improvement group, they willingly participate.

Process improvement is a journey and not a destination. Who you travel with matters a lot. Choose the right people and get them to swing into action. Your business will thank you for that!

Quality #9: Quality of Relationship and Communication

by Tanmay Vora on November 19, 2009

Welcome to the ninth post in this 12-part series on QUALITY, titled #QUALITYtweet – 12 Ideas to Build a Quality Culture.

Here are the first eight posts, in case you would like to go back and take a look:

  1. Quality #1: Quality is a long term differentiator
  2. Quality #2: Cure Precedes Prevention
  3. Quality #3: Great People + Good Processes = Great Quality
  4. Quality #4: Simplifying Processes
  5. Quality #5: Customers are your “Quality Partners”
  6. Quality #6: Knowing what needs improvement
  7. Quality #7: Productivity and Quality
  8. Quality #8: Best Practices are Contextual

#QUALITYtweet How NOT to deliver total quality:

Focus on quality of product without focusing on

quality of relationship and communication

In an increasingly service oriented business environment, what you sell is not just a product but an experience. People may forget explicit details like specifications or price, but never forget the experience they had when they bought the product.

Experience extended to end-customers largely depends on attitude, values and behaviors of each individual who interacts with a customer. One of the most important challenges is to keep this group of people aligned to organization’s quality system and values.

Communication is the backbone of organization’s success in marketplace. Effective internal and external communication within an organization ensures that:

  • Your employees understand your value system
  • They understand what is expected out of them
  • They are motivated to walk an extra mile to deliver excellent service
  • Your customers know your value system
  • You build trust-based relationship with your people and customers with consistent communication
  • Manage expectations with your people and customers.

How can you motivate your teams to deliver excellent customer experiences through simple communication processes? Here are a few ideas to consider:

Train:

Training your internal team can be your biggest tool for clearly explaining the process of communication and how important it is for the business. Consistently train your people on value systems, leadership, quality management, effective communication, what works in customer management, what not, expectations management and cultural aspects of client’s location. Clients also need training on how best they can use your products. Companies organize client workshops to educate them about different aspects of product/service. Train consistently to streamline communication.

Support:

Once your people are trained, you need to support them in doing right things. Supporting can be a simple act of being there with your people when they talk to customers. Help them improve and share feedback on how are they doing. Some companies may see this activity as an “overhead” but it is an “investment” in your people.

Monitor:

Once you have confidence that your people will be able to do the right communication, monitor them. Take periodic feedback from them. Communicate consistently to ensure that they are motivated enough to continue doing it.

Delivering consistently superior experience to your customers (via quality of products and communication) results in a long-term relationship based on trust. In business, as in life, relationships are crucial. Quality of your relationships is as important as quality of your products, or perhaps, even more.