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The following articles should help potential YTI business change consulting clients to shape a better vision of their Restructured Company as it moves away from its old command and control roots of the hierarchical management model. Now is an opportune time to take this step
Here are some key observations based upon this input and where many clients are today. Many companies have been working in a consensus model for action. This involves gaining buy-in from the various functional executives to corporate actions. This approach assumed that the executives are in touch with their functions. This may not be the case. While it is a form of empowerment, it often lacks proper linkage to a shared vision and lacks clear-cut accountabilities for what are appropriate actions for the staff to be making at any level.
YTI usually recommends that the Vision be updated to reflect some of the good practices outlined in the attachment. This renewed vision needs to be continuously communicated by the executives at every opportunity. It cannot be considered an item to be dusted off once or twice a year. It should be visible in every work location. The introduction of a restructured company is an ideal time to take these actions.
The company staff's empowerment has often been eroded by necessary expense management actions and the process needs to be restarted with appropriate definitions of powers reserved for the executive. There is a big risk of any new initiatives being viewed as the latest management fad or "program du jour". An integrated approach to the change process can make a difference. This involves the application of proven process reengineering techniques to the change process itself.
Rx: The steps involve creating a shared vision. This is not the corporate vision statement developed by the executive at that retreat up north. It is developed by harvesting the good ideas all the company staff already have about where they ought to be headed. They are involved on a daily basis with the products, the clients and the processes. They know what's wrong and how it could be better. The excutives takes this as input and develop a company-wide version. They are assured of buy-in when the familiar gets replayed to the staff.
Then establish a working model as to what the target company will be like. Then launch both continuous quality improvement teams with specific focus and objectives, and front line teams to do daily mop up and feed the higher level teams with issues to be addressed in the cross-functional arena. Focused education is delivered just-in-time to ensure that it is deployed immediately for maximum effectiveness and retention. The teams are empowered to design the company, while the executives have the authority to approve their design but not to tinker with it!
Watch the excitement as true empowerment takes hold and unleashes the creative energies of the staff who have been living with the dysfunction for years!
The Corporate Vision and Some Examples
The following notes have been extracted from a conversation on the Internet:
(by Keith Cowan on the Business Process Reengineering group)
What constitutes well-defined missions and visions?
Beyond clarity, specificity, and focus, what makes up a good (useful) high level statement of direction?
In my consulting role, I have asked my clients to construct their Visions around the following four concepts:
Battlefield - What business(es) do we want to be in when this Vision has come true.
Weapons - Thinking creatively, what attributes of the corporation can be put in place which will add value to any product or service we launch during the Vision period.
Style or Culture - What is the perceived attitude and approach that we take in everyday activities as perceived by our clients.
Size - Within our chosen businesses, how much do we want to grow before reorganizing or rethinking the Vision.
That's the simple bit, the content. The more difficult part is to edit the content into a piece of poetry, for it is the quality of the vision that ensures that it fulfills its energizing and directing (of everyone's actions) function.
To help ensure that, I have used the following tests to assess the final edition of the Vision. I must add that neither in consulting, nor in running my own businesses, have I ever been able to reach very high numbers of Yeses:
As a chief executive once put it to me when spelling out these tests to him and the rest of the board: "You're asking me to write the New Testament". I suddenly realized that that is what it is all about!
Why have a vision?
Visions have power when they change the decisions, choices and actions of all of the people in the group -- not just the few top dogs. Fundamentally, visions provide a proof of correctness for individual and group choices: I know this choice is good because it
Another way to package the above elements is to see a vision as a way to encapsulate what it means to be part of a specific community -- its aspirations, values, roles and goals. As such a vision is:
The terms in italics, above, are the components of the vision and the vision exercise should deal with each. Powerful visions will affect choices. It will be clear what to do and, just as important, what NOT to do.
Visions are powerful if they:
When leading groups in visioning, I often begin by presenting and contrasting the John Kennedy Man on the Moon challenge and Dr. Martin Luther King's I Have a Dream vision. Achievement of Kennedy's challenge has left NASA rudderless (big science or focused science, manned or unmanned, planets or earth, space station or exploration). Dr. King's vision, on the other hand, is still an active call on us today. Using the criteria above, Dr. King's vision works across the board.
Matsushita - For the leading corporate example that I have ever come across that passes my tests, have a look at the 250 year vision written in 1932 by Matsushita for the corporation he founded some 10 years earlier, and, 62 years later, they are just about on target. Can you discover what it is?
Frito Lay "Satisfy America's snacking needs with fun foods within arms reach"
Microsoft: "A computer on every desk" and then
"Taking computers where they haven't been before"
3DO: "Create a compelling new home interactive multimedia platform by developing technology that achieves a breakthrough in audiovisual realism at an affordable price".
Andersen Consulting: "Help clients change to be more successful".
A mission statement should require little or no explanation, and its length is less important than it's power. One of Nike's now famous mission statements was: "CRUSH REEBOK"
It requires no explanation, but it motivates everyone associated with Nike, and the objective is unmistakable. Instead, Nike could have stated their mission as, "to be the best shoe company with the best customer service", but that would have done little to inspire the troops. Don't make that mistake with your own mission statement - make it passionate and inspiring, not bland and boring.
Consider two other famous examples:
PEPSI - "Beat Coke"
HONDA - "We will crush, squash, and slaughter Yamaha"
Attempt to keep your mission statement simple, but this doesn't necessarily mean it should be short. Try limiting it to one paragraph, although it could vary anywhere from one sentence to a full page. CIO Magazine used General Public Utilities (GPU) as an example; I think the GPU vision is fair, but not as strong as the others: "We are people providing people with energy to meet today's needs and realize tomorrow's dreams. Our mission is to be a premier supplier of energy and energy-related services through the skills of our employees and the excellence of our customer service".
The GPU annual report has a full page devoted to their corporate values -- an excellent idea to be fully public and set expectations among customers, suppliers, the community-at-large and employees.
Some other examples can be found in the annual reports of the following: UPS, Intel, Northwestern Mutual Life, Ford Motor Co., and Upjohn.
Here are two examples of ineffective corporate visions:
Adolph Coors: "We are working toward the achievement of a single goal: to generate a profit adequate to pay shareholders a fair dividend, repay debt, grow market share and reward employees".
(How would you like to get up every day thinking this is what your life is about?)
And this last one from their annual report:
"The company's mission is to generate value for its stockholders, customers, and employees through its role as a leading worldwide supplier of quality goods and services".
(Can you guess what kind of company this is?)
In summary, writing a good mission statement and vision can be a difficult or impossible if you
In any organization, empowerment is about increasing the limits of decision making that the front line testing staff are permitted to operate within. It needs a strong mission and vision to ensure that resulting actions are properly aligned.
It is not management that has explicitly defined these limits, but rather the policy and engineering support groups who have created our procedural policies and framework. Hence, the impact of empowerment for us will be the need to define a new role for the policy and engineering staff groups to assume - one more of troubleshooting and expert advice rather than creation of standard procedures.
Hence front line staff empowerment will result in more horizontal rejockeying in some organizations than vertical. Of course middle and senior management must buy in to increased risk taking and be willing to remain accountable to make this work.
Empowerment seems to be about putting one's trust in individuals in certain organizational (social) roles. Hierarchy depersonalizes the roles and the trust is placed in the structures.
Empowered subordinates become more interdependent with those higher up the organizational chart rather than more dependent or more independent. So what happens to consistency, coordination, and accountability is that they need to be negotiated in reciprocal interaction rather than unilaterally imposed by fiat. The extra complexity of the process pays off with more effective coordination and integration of efforts.
In a detailed study of an organization with very empowered employees, there was a constant restating of the goals and of acceptable means to obtain those goals. This was called sharing the vision. "We want to win, but we must do it ethically". "Customer satisfaction is critical, that is why we have a hot line, measure & publish our response times to all complaints, took the risk of having the PUP program, etc ..." Employees took a lot of pride in the vision of the company. It included an urging to take action, be self-starting and at the same time provided a context which helped them see where constraints on their initiative could lie -- and that they should impose those themselves when appropriate.
A great deal of organizational effort went into negotiation in reciprocal interaction to ensure consistency, coordination, and accountability. This was done by telling stories, publicly recognizing individual's specific behaviors, identifying role models and giving rewards. This company vision, this organizational context of who we are, what we are trying to do, how we will accomplish it, they referred to as their Culture.
Recognizing the need for the stronger relationships necessary in empowered environments suggests an answer to the first question - seek the definitions within those "negotiations in reciprocal interaction":
The trouble with measuring "empowerment" is of course in finding a good definition for the term. But to leave that herring not netted ...
To be meaningful for the participants in "negotiation in reciprocal interaction", empowerment must be defined within this context of the organization social reality. Empowerment in a police department will be different than empowerment in a high tech start-up firm. This perspective suggests that the Holy Grail of a definition (or a measurement instrument) that is independent of any organizational context may not exist.
A more productive line of thought could be based on an ethnographic model. Here the starting point is a detailed awareness of the unique organizational context. The presentation of that context as a background for interpretation of definitions and measurement of empowerment and related constructs, provides an empirical route to good definitions, i.e, definitions that are meaningful to participants.
These extracts from an Internet discussion have been extracted and summarized by Keith Cowan of Yorktown Technologies for the purpose of stimulating discussions and actions as they relate to our current organizational transformation and cultural evolution. In addition, there are the issues of Aligning the Empowerment to encourage achievement of the Shared Vision. This can be achieved through education and continuous reinforcement of the vision and continuous improvement but it cannot be accomplished by Delegation and Measuring Conformance!
If you would like a more detailed examination of the mission and vision statements, here are two books that superbly cover the subject:
"Beyond Entrepreneurship" by James Collins & William Lazier Published by Prentice Hall
"First Things First" by Stephen R. Covey - Published by Simon & Schuster
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These are the attributions regarding the contributers:
Date: Mon, 24 Oct 1994 09:39:59 -0500
From: email@example.com (David A. Rader)
Subject: Re: Missions and Visions
On Oct 19., Frank Patrick (firstname.lastname@example.org) wrote:
>1) What constitutes well-defined missions and visions? Beyond clarity,
>specificity, and focus, what makes up a good (useful) high level statement of
Dave Rader R E Thomas Internet: bthomas@TEAMS.win-uk.net
ps. Apologies for the length of this post, but it is a topic that can have
a big impact on corporations and is often botched up.
Date: Mon, 24 Oct 1994 19:49:12
From: R E Thomas
13 Cadman Square CIS User ID: 100073,2173
Milton Keynes, MK5 7DN.
UK. Tel/Fax +44 908 678456
Date: Tue, 25 Oct 1994 19:39:41 -0400
From: email@example.com (Dave Morgan)
+---- David Morgan ---------------------------------------------+
| Weights and Measures Laboratories, Industry Canada, |
| Ottawa, Ontario, Tel (613) 952-3528, Fax (613) 952-1754 |
+---- firstname.lastname@example.org ---- "Fair Measure for All." ----+
Date: Wed, 26 Oct 1994 11:54:08 +0100
From: email@example.com (Terry Schumacher)
Subject: empowerment, BPR-L digest 211
Thanks to ANSON SEERS
comment. I agree with the central theme :
European Computer-Industry Research Centre
D-81925 Munich Germany
e mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Also inspired by some work on the BizPlanIt.Com web site
R E Thomas Internet: bthomas@TEAMS.win-uk.net
Copyright the authors and/or Keith Cowan