On the tenth anniversary of the publication of our first book “Profit Mapping”, it’s time to reassess the message. We have heard from many of you and are very grateful for your feedback. Several of you wanted a more simplified and actionable approach to Profit Mapping so in 2012 we published our second book “Execution Dynamics”. That book is 4 years old now.
This year in April when we announced ProFIT-MAP™ Software at Hannover Messe trade show in Germany, several visitors asked whether we had started working on the next book, and were unhappy that we had not. It is very heartwarming to meet someone who has read both books and wants more. Adam and I, both, sincerely appreciate your good wishes and are so sorry to disappoint you. So I am going to try to write this blog more frequently and share what we have learned in last decade.
COMING TO “TEAMS”
We have had the opportunity to work with large as well as small companies. Assignments have varied from turning around distressed companies and working with private equity clients for due diligence and acquisitions, to improving performance of large plants in multi-billion dollar businesses.
Regardless of the size of corporation, one thing we find most common is: the job gets done by teams of people who work very hard and with the best of intentions. But while many teams perform well, over time most of them become dysfunctional. Even the high performing teams are not able to sustain the “mojo” and falter.
REASONS TEAMS DO NOT SUSTAIN HIGH PERFORMANCE
The “usual suspects” for teams’ failures range from: lack of communications, processes and direction, to poor leadership and personality conflicts. Recently I attended a talk by an “expert” on how to make teams perform better. The audience was mesmerized and nodded their heads in agreement with her thesis that team members do not hold each other accountable because they dislike confrontation. The goal seemed to be to shame team members into delivering their share.
I couldn’t believe the fallacy of the basic premise! In our efforts to improve the performance of organizations, we at Menawat & Co work very hard to remove conflict and create a more cooperative environment. We try to get people to work together for the satisfaction of doing a good job, not to get by on doing the minimum. Does asking the same stupid question, no matter how sternly, over and over change the answer? I don’t think so. She gave several examples, but the systems theorist in me was agitated and couldn’t believe the ruse.
It is very easy to apportion blame using simplistic reasoning. However, the root cause, when viewed through a systems theorist’s eyes, is totally different.
Teams fail because the members perform too many tasks on various teams without fully understanding the value of their work towards the larger goals.
Team members are inundated with information; they are not in the same physical location or they are on too many different teams. Because of the advancement of communication, they are being asked to do more, but the technology is limiting their ability to achieve more by constantly distracting their focus. One might think the availability of more data should lead to better decisions. Unfortunately, that is not happening.
In the next blog, I will explore the role of technology and how it is helping and harming the performance.