This is a package of three Management Group Activities to build team cohesiveness and increase team effectiveness:
- assess the effectiveness of a statement of philosophy,
- assess the effectiveness of internal policy and procedure manuals, and
- address role clarity and individual job satisfaction.
These Activities will focus the Management Group’s attention on corporate values, role expectations, and performance improvement. Organise them in this sequence – three sessions of 1.5 hours maximum, one month apart, with only the Senior Management Group involved. Then follow this with each Manager organising a similar program for her/his Supervisors – followed by each Supervisor organising a similar program for his/her staff. This may sound ‘top-down’, but the process of a specific group working together without a facilitator to define the corporate values, role expectations and performance improvement in their own language and style is an extremely empowering exercise. When the total program is completed – compare the language and style of learning and development explored at these three levels – Managers, Supervisors and Staff. A 1-hour informal gathering of all involved, with each level having 20 minutes to explain their experience – starting of course with Staff, then Supervisors and finally the Management Group.
To commence: Management is responsible for consistency in operational performance: consistency is dependent upon acceptance of and adherence to a statement of philosophy.
The purpose of this Group Activity is to determine whether a statement of philosophy exists, and if so, the effect and impact of the statement upon individual and organisational conduct, behaviour and performance. Most importantly, the statement of philosophy should be examined as to:
- the desired individual and organisational effect and impact of the statement,
- likelihood of misunderstanding or misinterpretation,
- assessment of the current effect and impact, and
- scheduling of appropriate improvements.
1. Pose this question to the Management Group: is the Group aware of the existence, effect and impact of a statement of philosophy? Discussion should follow along these lines:
- is there an existing statement of philosophy, and how is it displayed, communicated, applied and monitored throughout the organisation,
- is it likely that any individual within the organisation could misunderstand or misinterpret either the statement itself, or the value placed on the statement in the manner in which the organisation operates,
- what procedure has been followed for the development, acceptance, endorsement and implementation of the statement – and is it appropriate today,
- is the statement reflected in practical terms by the Group in decision-making and planning, and
- is the statement accessible, and used as valuable and important information in the orientation of new staff.
2. From this discussion, the current importance and acceptance of the statement will become apparent. The opinions of the Group members should be noted as discussion continues.
3. Attention needs to be given now to the record of opinions. Is there agreement that particular actions, including consultation, need to be taken to:
- establish a statement of philosophy in the event that none exists,
- review the existing statement to ensure it is suitable, acceptable and appropriately used and respected, and/or
- review and formalise the procedure for the development, acceptance, endorsement and implementation of the statement.
4. Allocate responsibilities – and resources – for agreed actions, and agree on completion dates.
5. Turn attention now to the practical use and application of the statement of philosophy, including:
a) role clarity – is each individual and team confident of the expectations and requirements of the demands of their role in the organisation,
b) role behaviour – is it possible for an individual or team to impose their own philosophy through misinterpretation or absence of an endorsed statement, and do we understand the level of risk if this occurs?
c) individual job satisfaction – does the endorsed statement contribute in a practical manner to the level of individual job satisfaction among operational staff, and
d) does the statement present an acceptable, practical and positive basis for assessment of individual and organisational behaviour and performance.
The following extract from my book, The Left and Right Brain Business, is just one benefit from a statement of philosophy that is respected by the Management Group and operational staff:
- I have found that identifying and respecting the reasons for particular actions and re-actions contributes to resolving many of the problems inherent in employing staff, building teams, allocating responsibilities and achieving desired results. It is most important to understand and predict human behaviour in a specific environment when creating effective business and workplace relationships – which means understanding:
- how and why people think, feel and act differently,
- how to recognise and manage ‘people’ problems,
- how to create opportunities for yourself and others,
- how to build organisational success through Business Brainpower, and
- how to improve your business, workplace and personal relationship.
Secondly - Management should be confident about the effectiveness of internal policy and procedure manuals.
Management is responsible for consistency in operational performance: consistency is dependent upon adherence to approved policies and procedures for repetitive functions.
The purpose of this group activity is to determine whether policy and procedure manuals exist, and if so, the care with which they are developed and applied. Commercial and nonprofit organisations will benefit from developing statements of principles and objectives to guide all decision making in relation to functions which are repeated, and to ensure consistency in approach and value. Most importantly, policies and procedures should always reflect the current philosophy and bottom-line.
1. Pose this question to the Management Group: is the Group aware of the value and importance of policies?
Discussion should follow along these lines:
- what is the internal procedure for developing a new policy?
- what is the internal procedure for changing an existing policy?
- does a policy manual exist, containing copies of all policy decisions made over (at least) the previous three years?
- is the policy manual up-dated as new policies are made, or out-dated policies amended?
- is the policy manual used as a major reference by the Group in decision-making and planning?
- is the policy manual accessible, and used as valuable and important information in the orientation of new staff?
2. From this discussion, the current importance of internal policies will become apparent. The opinions of the Group members should be noted as discussion continues.
3. Attention needs to be given now to the record of opinions. Is there agreement that particular actions need to be taken to:
- establish a policy manual in the event that none exists,
- review the existing policy manual to ensure it contains all current policies, and/or
- review and formalise the procedure to develop, implement or evaluate policies?
4. Allocate responsibilities – and resources – for agreed actions, and agree on completion dates.
5. Turn attention now to procedures, eg to satisfactorily complete a task or carry out a responsibility to the required standard.
- apply equally to functions which are repeated (ie where policies are appropriate) and to those which are ‘one-off’, and
- provide instruction and guidance, thus ensuring a basis for measuring quality in performance.
6. Pose this question to the Management Group: is there a clear understanding of the link between policies and procedures?
- a policy is written for a function carried out frequently within the organisation, and each policy requires a written procedure to ensure it is implemented according to internal requirements,
- a procedure is written for functions covered by a policy, as well as for one-off functions or activities for which a policy is not required.
Discussion should follow along these lines:
a) is there a clear understanding of the responsibilities associated with any procedure, such as:
- what needs to be done, in sequence from start to finish
- why it needs to be done
- how it needs to be done, and to what standards
- how often it needs to be done
- who is accountable, and to whom, for the satisfactory completion of the procedure
- who is responsible for each stage of the procedure
- who else is involved in each stage
- what is the time-frame for the total procedure
- where do the various stages take place
- what resources or facilities are required to satisfactorily complete the total procedure
- how will progress be monitored
- how will the total procedure be evaluated
b) is this sequence already in place, and who is responsible for writing procedures and monitoring their implementation: if there is no sequence currently in place, what is the best way of introducing such a sequence
c) does a procedures manual exist, containing copies of all formal internal procedures to be followed
d) is the procedures manual up-dated as new procedures are developed or out-dated procedures amended
e) is the procedures manual used as a reference manual to monitor quality and standards within the organisation
f) is the procedures manual accessible, and used as valuable and important information in the orientation of new staff
7. From this discussion, the current importance of internal procedures will become apparent. The opinions of Group members should be noted as discussion continues.
8. At the conclusion of discussion firstly on policies, and secondly on procedures, agreement is needed to:
- establish relevant manual/s if neither exist,
- review existing manual/s to ensure all current policies and procedures are included, and/or
- review and formalise a consistent procedure for developing, introducing and evaluating policies and procedures.
And finally - Management is responsible for ensuring role clarity, and monitoring job satisfaction
Role clarity and individual/team job satisfaction are key factors in achieving and maintaining consistency in operational performance.
Role clarity is a requirement and right for any person employed, contracted, sub-contracted or invited by the Management Group to perform tasks and undertake responsibilities as determined and endorsed by them. Where job satisfaction is increased or enhanced, the quality of contribution and level of confidence are also increased or enhanced: where it is reduced, consistency in operational performance can also be reduced.
Each person in your organisation should know what is expected as a result of their effort, skills and abilities, competencies and endeavour on behalf of the organisation.
Key factors include:
1. position descriptions that adequately and clearly detail the nature and extent of authority, areas of accountability and specific responsibilities allocated to each position,
2. policies and procedures that cover the advertising, selection, appointment and orientation of paid and unpaid workers,
3. adequate and appropriate supervision and support for all personnel,
4. opportunities for professional development in order to acquire and maintain skills and qualities at levels necessary to achieve and maintain the organisation’s standards and requirements,
5. easy access on request to industrial and professional information, and to the responsibilities of the employer,
6. clear policies and procedures for the recruitment, placement, supervision and support of volunteers,
7. an adequate personnel records and salary system ensuring that all legislative and employer requirements are being met, and
8. a work environment conducive to the required level of performance and standard of quality.
The concept of job satisfaction is defined as the balance between meeting the ‘needs of the individual’ and the ‘demands of role in the organisation’
- the needs of the individual includes being genuinely valued and respected, being able to make a valued contribution and receiving an appropriate reimbursement for effort, ability and skill in a safe and secure work environment. Individual needs apply to both paid and unpaid positions.
- the demands of the role in the organisation are expressed in the role description, in workplace policies and procedures, work practices, performance measures and organisational objectives
It is possible to enhance and increase each person’s job satisfaction in relation to:
- tasks, including procedures,
- working relationships, including teamwork, and
- actual work environment, including the physical work location and work station.
The key question to ask is whether an individual’s level of job satisfaction is gained or can be increased by accomplishing the task, working with other people or making sure that the environment is suitable and acceptable.
It is important to realise that another person’s behaviour that seems without any value to you may well be a behaviour that is highly valued by that person: therefore you are wise to understand that another person’s behaviour is simply demonstrating their own values and offering you a point of entry into their thinking or for negotiation.
Initially concentrating on organisational policies and procedures in my consultancies, I quickly realised that these can produce very few positive results unless human factors are taken into account. If an organisation is able to understand and anticipate human behaviours, they are much closer to increasing:
- individual job satisfaction at any level of activity,
- organisational efficiency and productivity – which means that available or accessible resources are wisely invested in service/product/component design, delivery and conformance, and
- confidence in capitalising on opportunities as they arise or are created.
Where the level of job satisfaction is increased or enhanced, the quality of contribution and level of confidence are also increased or enhanced. Where job satisfaction is reduced, morale and personal and professional credibility are also reduced. Note that job satisfaction can only be measured by the individual concerned.
Where one component becomes increasingly demanding and upsets the balance, the person may reduce their organisational performance or their individual needs to a token level and gain their ‘satisfaction’ from the component that is not as demanding.
- where the person’s non-work life becomes extremely demanding, their organisational performance may suffer: the person may need care and nurturing to get them through a difficult time, and
- where the person’s work demands are difficult to understand, accept or fulfil, the person may turn to their private or non-work life for ‘satisfaction’ and just offer a minimum performance in the work-role.
In either case, it is possible that the person may experience increasing burn-out, which can lead to a high level of personal and organisational risk.