Engagement is both an outcome of a way-of-work-life process and an input to larger processes evolving a businesses’ culture of continuous improvement (CIC). Expectation is that CIC initiatives will achieve required outcomes; evidence is only provided a right mindset exists from the outset and commitment and resourcing is maintained over the long haul.
CIC processes locate highly skilled individuals in roles within teams formed purposefully both to respond to the challenge of significantly different outcomes and to sustain the change. First indications of success in the immediate term create a critical mass effect alongside momentum.
Engagement ensures both this critical mass effect and hastens the achievement of required outcomes as engaged individuals identify with the businesses’ ‘believable’ story and contribute their innovation, creativity, passion, adaptability, discretionary effort and their strength, built from trust relationships.
Time to first indications of success can be even further reduced by running both Engagement and CIC processes in parallel provided focus on right sequence is maintained.
Engagement Process – Inputs and Outcomes
The inputs to an Engagement way-of-work-life process are:
- An ‘expect and request’ or ‘intent and request’ mode of control – which is a derivative of an effective questioning conversation environment
- Workplaces that embrace inclusion and diversity – which first require a response to employee perceptions of the status of the business’ and its ‘believable’ story
- The timely dissemination of level specific information – creating workplaces where authority matches accountability
- Employee trust created via an involvement in team problem solving – initially about workplace issues, and lastly
- Enrolment in task planning and execution – about work the employee is likely to undertake in the immediate term.
The outcomes from employees, both individually and collectively, are:
- ‘I want to’ not ‘I have to’ commitment
- A deep curiosity about self, the leadership, process, team purpose and goals, shift to shift team performance, the work, resources, information and information sharing and continuous improvement opportunities – setting up the learning journey.
- The curiosity manifesting as the questions following which can provide a measure of team behaviour:
- Where do I fit in?
- How am I doing?
- What is success?
- How can I improve? and
- How good was that?
- With a direct supervisor response to their employee’s questions the ‘I want to’ commitment rapidly translating into a choice for Engagement.
The Engagement process connects employees to other employees, to their direct supervisor and to their leadership.
Input to a Culture of Continuous Improvement
The Engagement input to larger processes evolving a CIC are Individuals in roles within teams:
- Operating on a multi- skilled, multi-level and cross functional basis because they now know what to do and how to exercise discretion
- Fully participating innovatively and creatively in the design / redesign of business structures, systems, controls, know-how and work practices, in response to customer needs for new and different macro, micro and work sequencing processes and outcomes, and
- Flexibly and adaptably redeploying their energy expenditure as indicated in the Table following:
|People Energy Expenditure||Current||Future|
|Formal hierarchy maintenance||50%||10%|
|Value add endeavors||20%||70%|
|Socialization of informal structures||30%||20%|
Culture of Continuous Improvement
After sign-off on the foundation of Engagement, and its underlying mindset, the further steps to evolution of a CIC include the following:
- Understand current context /clarify purpose – identify business needs and a resolution
- Understand the consequences of change – the businesses’ believable story and strategy
- Define the system or required systems changes– the integrated parts
- Identify the ‘who’ and ‘how’ of implementation – The leadership, roles within teams, setup for workplaces of excellence, rapid know-how transfer and strategy deployment
- Complete an analysis of the problem – telling the story, defining the size of the prize, identifying value add
- Administration, direction and policy – the integrated parts aligned, system content, standards and procedures documentation finalized
- Organization, planning, preparation and test – trial system implementation / test for functionality
- Implement, monitor – everything checks out, the plan in action, measures that validate
- audit and review – sign off on PDCA and set up for next improvement