Chasing Good Examples
Individual Change Key To Org.
H. James Harrington Responds
What would you call a person who runs up and down the work area, yelling and hollering at the top of his or her lungs? I don't know what you would call that person, but I would call him or her a basketball coach.
Businesses exist in a very professional environment, not the little league where the coach is the father or mother of one of the players. The way you play the game, and giving everyone a chance to play, is all that is important for the little league coach. A professional coach, however, gets paid to win games, not to make the players happy. If a player can't perform, they are discarded. In fact, on most professional teams, they have managers that make sure things run smoothly. Yes, in the professional arena, a coach is a true dictator.
I question if coach is the right word for a manager in a participative environment. Guide, facilitator, mentor, or even manager are all better words. A coach is the least participative management style that a manager could have in a professional environment. Let's turn to Webster's New World College Dictionary for some definitions.
coach - a person who instructs;
instruct - to order or direct; therefore, a coach is a
person who orders or directs
There are even some key management activities that need to be performed that are not within the job responsibilities of a coach or a facilitator. For example, the rewards and recognition system is not covered by a coach or a facilitator.
To implement a participative environment, the executive team needs to develop a vision statement that defines the way the organization will function in a participative environment. This vision statement should not be finalized until it has been reviewed by all levels of employees and their comments have been considered. New job descriptions need to be written for all levels of facilitators (management), starting with the chairperson of the board and continuing down through all employee levels. It is important to realize that there is not only a major change in the way the management team functions, but also in the way the employees are required to function. I find that with new job responsibilities that are assigned to the employees, it is usually necessary to reclassify the employees to a higher level and increase their pay accordingly. The new facilitator job description and the vision statement should be reviewed with the employees that report to each facilitator.
Then the employees' new job descriptions should be reviewed with the employees, with particular care given to pointing out the changes in the job descriptions and how they interrelate to the facilitator's job description.
To have a successful system, it must start with the executive team changing its management style. They must give up some of their controls to middle-level facilitators (management). Once this is done, middle-level facilitators, who are already busy, are very willing to give up some of their controls to the first-level facilitators (supervisors and foremen). Now, the first-level facilitators are positioned to involve the employees. It is much like a waterfall, flowing down and changing the way individuals interface with each other, beginning with the chairperson of the board. Starting the participative system with the foreman or supervisor is a sure formula for failure.
Once the new job descriptions are
written, a new evaluation and reporting system needs to
be put in place. It should include three-way appraisals
for all facilitators. This often results in a two-year
drop in performance levels for many employees, which is
not their fault and should not impact their merit
increases. A detailed list of behavioral patterns for
each level of facilitators should be developed and shared
with their employees. This list will be much like the
coach/facilitator comparison I shared earlier with you.
It is important to realize that many of your best
managers will be inadequate performers in the
participative environment and will have to be removed
from the facilitator classification. Top management must
address this problem before the participative initiative
starts and have a plan on how they are going to handle
this situation. Frequently, the implementation of a
participative environment results in major restructuring
of the executive team, removing people that are not
naturally participative and will not be able to change
their personalities fast enough to keep pace with the
roll out plan. The restructuring should be completed
before the employees become involved in the participative