Baldrige Winner Continues To Grow
Information Sharing, Dispersing Control and High Quality
Standards Keys to CRI Success
Events: Two Weeks To Dramatic Process Improvement
USBI's 'Kaizen Events' Working to Keep NASA Flying
Monitoring: There's No Place Like Home
Keep The Best-Lose The Rest
by Peter Block
by Cathy Kramer
Business News Briefs
for a Change
Letters to the Editor
Letters To The Editor
If Only I Had A Chopping Block
In the article written by Peter Block in your August 1997
issue, Hammer was given the ax for not addressing people in his radical
change strategy labeled reengineering. Although confessed by Hammer himself,
omitting people from his dramatic drive for change in corporations is not
the only sin.
The chopping and burning of methodologies that single handedly do not offer
salvation for a company should be given thoughtful consideration.
Taken solely on its own, absent a framework that empowers people and builds
accountability for business success, reengineering will remain an engineer's
solution to a people problem. The same can be said, however, of empowerment.
Empowering people sounds right and I can build a strong case for engaging
people in the business. However, if I cannot provide those empowered with
the processes and tools to act on that empowerment, I have failed. They
will turn and bite the empowering hand because it was full of promise but
empty on delivery.
Each of these management practices can be a critical tool for managers.
Each addresses a different layer of business and each has the potential
to fail on its own. Taken as a set of tools that managers apply prudently
to their operation, these same tools can build successful and competitive
Several media releases over the last several months have implied the demise
of reengineering as a management tool. I recall similar articles in the
late 80's related to quality circles, employee involvement and total quality
management. My hope is that organizations view this process as a learning
evolution, and not trial and error, where one program is replaced by another.
Author of "Winning with Quality"
In Defense Of Discovery
I am responding to Jack Zenger's July 1997 response to
Peter Block's article in the May '97 issue.
I didn't get the same message that Jack Zenger received in terms of 'discovery
The example used by Jack, i.e., the airline pilot, I think, was out of context.
Of course you don't teach airline pilots by the discovery method. But then
the pilots, when in training, are in a simulator, and some discovery methods
could be applied in that setting.
I imagine some learnings, beliefs, and principles about human behavior have
been acquired over the years by a number of different research organizations,
behavioral and social scientists, and ordinary people with a keen and practical
insight into the human psychic. There are numerous books on the market that
suggest all kinds of approaches on how to behave in different situations.
Certainly the Bible is one of the oldest books that contains rules on how
to behave. Zenger-Miller certainly has
a vested interest in their own approach toward human behavior and learning,
and have integrated that thinking/approach into their training offerings.
My point is that a lot of people are out there telling us 'how to learn,'
'how to behave,' 'how to train,' and so on. Like adults can't think for
themselves without some kind of model or principle to follow? I'm sure I
am overstating, but give us adults a break.
It makes one wonder how we have survived the last millennium without the
help of all the gurus that are available to tell us how to learn and behave.
In discovering things for yourself, retention, I believe, is higher, and
I think you are more apt to use it (whatever it is) if you discovered it
yourself. So, in that respect, I agree with Peter Block and his view about
One of the things that really concerns me about all the 'principles' - principles
of learning, principles of human behavior, principles of managing, principles
of training, etc, is that in the process we are losing some of our human-ness.
By that I mean, can you train or give someone a principle to care? To respect
others? These two very human characteristics go a long way in relating with
others in any situation.
In reference to performance appraisals, I would suggest that as soon as
they cease from being used and perceived as 'report cards' (even reporting
on 'how' one should develop), and modified MBO systems, then there might
be hope for their use. In fact, I believe a radical paradigm shift is in
store for performance appraisals by year 2000. It is one of the few areas
in management where the shifts have been minor. Even using peer assessments
and 360 degree feedback in performance appraisals is not new to a lot of
Performance Improvement Consultant
Mississauga, Ontario, CANADA