ASQ - Team and Workplace Excellence Forum

December 1999


Back To The Future In 2000

Purpose, Planning And Preparing

Get In Touch With Your Emotions

No Gimmicks. No Frills. Just The Facts

Ritz-Carlton Again


What A Difference A Space Makes
by Peter Block


Brief Cases

Diary of a Shutdown

Views for a Change


Views for a Change
Consultant Q & A

H. James Harrington responds:

It takes X dollars to keep a customer. It takes 10X dollars to get a new customer. It takes 100X dollars to get a customer back once you have lost him or her. The same is true for employees. Once employees have lost trust and confidence in management, they quickly turn their relationship with the organization into a “we vs. them” situation. Sometimes it may look like it would be easier to fire all the present employees and just hire new ones, but the truth of the matter is that it would cost between $20,000 to $50,000 to replace an employee when you consider the training and lost productivity costs. The question then is: How do you regain trust? What you need to do is take a two-phased approach.
Phase I—Change a “we vs. them” attitude into an “us” attitude
Phase II—Change an “us” attitude into an organization attitude

During Phase I, management must build a team spirit using lots of problem-solving teams and natural work teams. Management must also use outside group activities (bowling, family picnics, ski trips, etc.), town hall meetings and second-level interviews to change employees' attitudes. Add to this a career planning program and skills development training and you will complete Phase I in about six months.

During Phase II you need to focus on rewarding those individuals who are leading the change process. Management must focus their attention on encouraging creativity. Suggestion programs and job improvement programs play an important role in encouraging individuals to contribute to the organization's success. Be sure to publicize individual's good ideas so that the employees who are contributing become role models for the rest of the organization. Start to empower people to act on their own without the security of a group decision. Encourage people to stick their necks out, but if they fail, don’t use a guillotine. Instead help them to succeed next time. 3M, for example, celebrates “noble failures.” Remember the project manager who spent $2 million on a program that was unsuccessful and thought he was going to be fired, but when he talked with the president of the company, was told, “Fire you? No way. I just invested $2 million in your education.” Be sure that everyone has goals that stretch them, not ones that can be easily met every time. Create constructively dissatisfied employees—not employees who complain all the time, but ones who feel free to say, “There must be a better way and I’m the one who's going to find that way.” When you've accomplished this, you have reached the “my organization” attitude level. It takes time and a lot of hard work to regain anyone’s trust once you have destroyed it.

John Runyon responds

December '99 News for a Change | E-mail Editor
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