ASQ - Team and Workplace Excellence Forum

Online Edition - January 2002


Issue Highlight — Teams Are Awesome!
-In Teams Are Awesome! -- We offer you the power, energy, and innovation that come out of teams working together to improve their work, their work environment, and, as often as not, themselves. They truly inspire awe. Here we present four teams selected at random from those who have entered AQP's Team Excellence Competition.

Thriving Through Teamwork

Virtually Trusting
Tips for Building Trust in Virtual Teams

Story Power for Teams

Build Team Spirit!

The Inner Workings of Teams
Understanding the Heart of Teamwork and Inspiring Results

The Recipe for Success? Get Funky!

Teams Are Awesome! — They Really Are
Highlights of Outstanding Teams

Thriving Through Teamwork

This year calls us to reflect on our work, our lives—well nearly everything. The deep national pains of September 11, 2001, are mixed with layoffs of colleagues and wondering what’s next, what do we do differently, what should stay the same? It is important to remember our strength comes from being united, working together, striving for a common goal. These pursuits resonate now more than ever. Although the landscape has changed—virtual boundaries, faceless workplaces—the challenges are the same.

   We are one team holding hands around the world trying to make every place, from the workplace to home, a better place.

A Resolution for Our Future:

For the coming the year we vow to work together, embrace differences, open our eyes to the world around us. Change. Complain less. Treat everyone with respect.

   This issue of News For a Change is a great reminder that things are better when we work together. The stories in this issue offer ways for organizations of all sorts to thrive through teamwork. They offer tips on building trust in a geographically dispersed team, staying connected in an ever-changing environment, and fostering the heart and soul of teams.

   We hope that you will find encouragement and inspiration in these stories to keep your team efforts alive…and thriving.

Words to Work By

“It is not in numbers, but in unity that our great strength lies.”
   Thomas Paine, Common Sense

“The miracle is not that we do this work, but that we are happy to do it.”
   Mother Teresa

“I never missed a single opportunity to remove obstacles in the way of unity.”
   Mohandas Gandhi

“Never doubt that a small group of committed citizens can make a difference. Indeed it is the only thing that ever really has.”
   Margaret Mead

“There is no more fatal blunderer than he who consumes the greater part of his life getting his living.”
   Henry David Thoreau

“We must all hang together or assuredly we will all hang separately.”
   Benjamin Franklin

“Transport of the mails, transport of the human voice, transport of flickering pictures—in this century as in others our highest accomplishments still have the single aim of bringing men together.”
   Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

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Virtually Trusting
Tips for Building Trust in Virtual Teams

“What do you think he meant by that?” It’s tough to create trust in cyberspace without being able to see people’s faces… but it can be done.

Creating Team Trust Virtually

As a result of global competition and advances in technology, virtual teams have exploded as a type of work group—nearly two-thirds of organizations in the United States utilize virtual teams to execute business strategies. Cisco, Hewlett-Packard, and Intel are examples of multinational companies that rely on teams, which interact electronically to run their everyday business. Within those organizations, company management, including top executives, are distributed geographically.

Virtual Teams Defined

“We need to work together as if we were all in the same room, although we’re not.”
Going Virtual, Grenienr & Meres

   Virtual teams—also known as a geographically dispersed team (GDT)—are a group of individuals who work together on tasks, maintain healthy relationships to support the tasks, and are enabled by the use of technology to transcend barriers they encounter. Virtual team members have complementary skills, are committed to a common purpose, have interdependent performance goals, and share an approach to work for which they hold themselves mutually accountable.

   While much has been written about virtual teams, there is a shortage of practical tips and techniques for developing trust on virtual teams. The remainder of this article contains best practices for building and maintaining trust in virtual settings.

Building Trust

“An understanding of people and relationships requires an understanding of trust. Trust requires the coexistence of two converging beliefs—competency and caring. When I believe you are competent and that you care about me, I will trust you.”
Team Handbook, Peter Scholtes

   In all successful relationships trust is at the foundation. For teams to be successful they need to build their relationships carefully and intentionally. Trust is often the result of members’ working through complex teaming issues and knowing that each person can be counted on to complete his or her portion of the task.

   Virtual teams with high levels of trust tend to share three traits:

  1. They got to know one another before they focused on the work.
  2. Roles were clearly defined for all members.
  3. Members consistently displayed enthusiasm, eagerness, and proactive communication.

   Team-level strategies for an atmosphere of trust include:

  • Discuss as a team why trust is important.
  • Maintain focus on problems, not people.
  • Follow through—do what you say you will.
  • Provide substantive feedback to improve the content of others’ work.
  • Stay true to your team. Don’t make disparaging remarks in public places!

Characteristics of Trust

The following individual characteristics help build trust:

  • Clear communication (expressing thoughts clearly, orally and in writing).
  • Honesty (telling the truth).
  • Vulnerability (willingness to share strengths and weaknesses).
  • Self-disclosure (sharing personal information, thoughts, and beliefs).
  • Valuing others (respecting team members whether they are different or alike).
  • Sense of humor (keeping a healthy perspective even when stressed).
  • Awareness (being attuned to others’ needs, perceptions, and reactions).
  • Involving others (drawing out others, asking for ideas, input, and feedback).
  • Accepting others (valuing differences and unique characteristics).
  • Loyalty (commitment to team goals and team members).

Clear, Concise Communication

Virtual team members must learn to excel as active communicators. Their survival depends on their ability to exchange information despite the challenges of time and place.

   Virtual teams must pay close attention to how the team communicates. Members must be clear, conscious, and explicit in their communication. Whether they are speaking on the phone, using voice-to-voice or voice mail, sending a fax, writing an e-mail, or asking a question in person, their communication must be responsive, clear, and complete.

Meeting Preparation

Teams that don’t have the benefit of regular daily interactions require more meeting management and explicit focusing than traditional teams. The team leader should hold mandatory team conference calls (weekly or monthly). If people are located in different time zones, vary meeting times to minimize each member’s level of inconvenience.

   Once the meeting has been scheduled, send the agenda with the time, place, call-in number, meeting ID, and other materials ahead of time. Don’t consider holding a meeting without an agenda that includes start and stop time frames for each topic.

Leading Meetings

Use regular (weekly, bimonthly, or monthly) conference call meetings to share progress, provide updates, review priorities, challenges, or opportunities, and to motivate team members and maintain team identity.

   During the first team meeting, have the team develop a set of ground rules or group norms. Once developed, the rules serve as a barometer for the team to assess the group process and provide feedback on meetings.

   Keep the meetings focused and on topic, using a facilitator, timekeeper, or both. To keep topics from drifting; rotate responsibility for the roles so that all members have an opportunity to increase their skills in meeting management. Leave time at the end of the meeting for feedback about the meeting and to solicit input for agenda items for the next meeting.

   Remain conscious of the communication medium, replacing unavailable facial expressions with clear statements (e.g., “That remark makes me smile.”). Schedule time during each call for a check-in, an informal process where each member takes a few moments to update the team on how things are going. Check-ins are a way to build the team and get to know one another on a personal level.

   Identify yourself when speaking if more than two people are on the call and there is any uncertainty about voices. Remember time zone differences when referring to times, especially when scheduling a meeting. Be specific, indicate that the next meeting will be at 9:00 a.m., and include whether that is EST, MST, PST, etc.

Follow Through

Virtual team members must be persistent in obtaining information they need. They need to make clear requests of one another. For example, “Please respond to this message by sending an urgent voice mail no later than Friday noon, MST.” instead of “Please get back to me as soon as possible.” There may also be the need to make repeated requests to people who are not responding and to send multi-channel messages, both e-mail and voice mail, to cover all bases. It is unwise to assume that others check their voice mail or e-mail as frequently as you.

NANCY ASHWORTH designs processes for clients to help executives, management, and their staff deal with major organizational and cultural changes.

Nancy Ashworth and her teammate Miriam Ritvo will be presenting a half-day workshop on “Building Team Trust Virtually” on Sunday, March 10, at AQP’s Annual Spring Conference in Las Vegas.

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Story Power for Teams

Storytelling is an effective communication tool that has garnered attention and gained credibility in the business world during the past 10 years, particularly among some of the country’s most successful, well-established companies. Fast Company magazine has featured the power of story as a business management practice a number of times. For one article, Fast Company interviewed executives at Nike, an organization that operates on the belief that “the best way for a company to create a prosperous future is to make sure all of its employees understand the company’s past.” That’s why, according to the magazine, many veteran executives at Nike are passionate about telling corporate campfire stories. “The Nike Story? Just Tell It!” is available online by visiting and launching a search for “Nike.”

   Stories are effective as a business communication tool because they captivate people by reaching both their heads and their hearts. If you want someone to remember what you’re saying, make your point with a story. The Walt Disney Company is one stellar example of an organization that understands the power of story. In The Disney Way, authors Bill Capodagli and Lynn Jackson explain that Disney not only operates a business with the purpose of telling great stories but also runs the business with storyboarding. And, as Brian Ferren, planner, futurist, and executive vice president of creative technology and research for Walt Disney Imagineering, points out, “I’ve never seen a great military, political, or corporate leader who was not a great storyteller. Telling stories is a core competency in business, although it’s one that we don’t pay enough attention to.”

   A number of other well-known companies, such as FedEx, 3M, and The Container Store, also deliberately use stories to achieve their goals. Stories are effective in helping companies to:

  • Clarify and perpetuate corporate values.
  • Communicate vision.
  • Build understanding, agreement, and community (shared meaning) with employees and associates as well as customers.
  • Win the hearts and minds of all their target audiences.
  • Share knowledge and successes.
  • Engender pride in the organization/team’s identity and accomplishments.
  • Generate memorable messages.

   Stories are equally effective tools for teams as they go through predictable stages of development; they can help to move the process along. These five stages of team development could just as easily apply to the phases of a story’s development.

  • Forming. At this stage the team members gather to get acquainted, identify the skills and strengths that each brings to the project, and usually to identify the team’s leadership. Comparable to the introduction of a story, forming is enhanced by sharing personal and/or career development stories to inform the other “characters” of relevant experiences and to establish personal connections. This sharing enables team members to establish bonds and begin creating a cohesive, mutually supportive team.

  • Storming. After the group is formed, the team members begin to express differences as they work on establishing goals, assigning roles, and agreeing on priorities. Achieving consensus can be facilitated by telling success stories to illustrate how each person’s contribution and unique perspective will help the team achieve its goals. Storytelling also may be used to convey the importance of hearing all perspectives before making decisions. During storming the plot begins to emerge.

  • Norming. When roles are agreed upon, the group moves forward with a common purpose to define rules that will enable members to fulfill their roles and meet their goals. At this stage, the group may begin to select objects or stories to include in its “sacred bundle” or its history as a team that comprises agreed upon values and priorities. The plot thickens as the team story begins to develop!

  • Performing. As the work project that brought the team together is initiated, each member contributes the talents, knowledge, and skills that she or he originally brought to the project. Now the members share success stories and congratulate one another as tasks are accomplished and progress is made toward the ultimate goals. A true team spirit emerges and fuels the team’s rededication to its shared purpose.

  • Adjourning. When the work of the team is completed, it may be appropriate for the team to disband, bringing the team story to an end. Other common reasons for adjournment are members deciding the project is not feasible, or key members resigning. At this stage, members return to their regular jobs where they may recount stories in celebration of their successes and also may continually retell war stories about how the team overcame obstacles. These stories shared around the corporate campfire ensure that the saga of the team lives on.

   As in many processes, team development does not necessarily proceed in a linear fashion from one step to the next. A team in the performing phase may need to return to the storming stage when new members arrive or when disagreements arise. Shared values may be revisited. The team can once again share stories that facilitate the team development process and reinforce the values, roles, and rules the members agreed upon. Stories shared with others in the organization serve to reinforce corporate values and help to create a sacred bundle of connections across departmental and office boundaries.

   As Nike has demonstrated from its beginning, it’s important for all the individuals in the organization to know the corporate history before they can share an appreciation for the present and work toward common goals. The end of a team’s project is not truly an ending. It is one step in the process as an entire organization moves into the future together.

A Team Story Comes Into Focus

The account services team at the Seattle office of a worldwide advertising firm was frustrated and discouraged in its role as facilitator/interpreter between clients’ objectives and the actual products of the agency’s creative services department. The creative output often was very imaginative, but missed the mark in communicating the client’s key message. The pressures of regularly being caught in the middle resulted in a turnover rate on the account services team of nearly 50%. The influx of new members required the team to quickly focus on the forming, storming, and norming stages of development to avoid diverting any more energy from their primary work: delivering high quality, on-target ads for their clients.

During a storytelling session at a team retreat, the group was able to identify their shared values and reach consensus on the team mission or story. By clearly articulating who they were as a team—identifying their strengths and unique contributions, as well as the benefits of their contributions to the organization—the team members experienced a complete shift in perspective and attitude. Armed with their newly shared understanding, a cogent team story, and strong consensus, the account services representatives were able to focus on their unique collective ability to make a significant contribution to the agency. The energy created by the story process enabled the team to achieve a high level of productivity for the balance of their retreat and to return to the workplace with renewed enthusiasm for their role in the agency.

EVELYN CLARK is a facilitator, trainer, and keynote speaker who helps organizations reignite their spark. For more information, visit her Web site at:

PAULA BARTHOLOME combines internal communication and organization development to help individuals and organizations establish and accomplish goals.

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Build Team Spirit!
Spirited, high-performing teams experience a different reality. An hour may seem like a second, a year like a day. Extraordinary service is generated easily and effortlessly.

   Through my experience facilitating and consulting with spirited, high-performing teams in for-profit and not-for-profit organizations, I have discerned a powerful realm or domain in which these teams operate, leading to extraordinary performance. I call it the gap and I think it is critical that leaders be aware of its presence.

   What is the gap, this place where teams find their spirit and source of energy for extraordinary service? Individuals have a place inside where the extraordinary occurs every day; similarly, teams have a place where the extraordinary is within their grasp.

   The gap exists in the space between individual and team. Team members refer to their experience in the gap as exhilarating, unbounded, inspired, unlimited, extraordinary, incredible, uncommon, enlivening, and inspiring.

   The gap is foreign territory to rugged individualists (Rosabeth Moss Kanter calls them cowboy managers) or to those who are wholly dependent on the group for their identity. The gap evokes an entirely different possibility: interdependence. When working interdependently, team members fuse or merge their energies, while honoring and drawing from the strength of individuals.

   The jazz combo is a perfect metaphor for the realm of interdependence, where talented individual virtuosi blend and create new tonal and harmonic variations in synchronization and interplay with other members of the combo.

   The gap has several natures that collectively enable a team to achieve spirited, high performance:

1. As a zone or state.
2. As a Zen koan.
3. As vulnerability.
4. As a gestalt of inner and outer work.

  1. The experience of the gap is not unlike that powerful place or zone described by great skiers as controlled-out-of-controlness where skiers are at their zenith. It is a zone where we simultaneously surrender to the team while tapping into our source of personal power.
  2. Like a Zen koan (e.g., What is the sound of one hand clapping?), the gap is paradoxical. It is a space, but it is not the space of the individual and it is not the space of the collective. It is a separate, third consideration that encompasses the psychic energy of the individual and the collective. It is useful for the team to be aware of this third and distinct dimension of reality.
  3. David Stendahl-Rasst suggests that spirituality is ultimately about achieving belonging and a deep connection. Accordingly, the gap is a place of vulnerability and risk where the individual shares his or her story and opens to the stories of fellow team members. This aspect of vulnerability in the gap is critical to fostering trusting relationships and belonging.
  4. The gap is the place where inner work and mindful, conscious awareness, at both the level of the team and the individual, converge with action in the world. The dialectic between confident inner knowing, at the level of the person and team, and powerful action in the world is yet another key to high performance and extraordinary service.

   Team spirit is a team development process that supports teams in exploring and accessing the gap. Leaders working with teams to access the gap produce more, experience greater satisfaction, demonstrate extraordinary service, feel more alive and emotionally connected, and experience a quality of energy, enthusiasm, and creativity not typical of conventional teams.

BARRY HEERMANN can be reached via e-mail at He is the author of Building Team Spirit: Activities for Inspiring and Energizing Teams (McGraw-Hill, 1997) as well as other books related to adult and
experiential learning themes. His Team Spirit Train-the-Trainer course is now offered through ASQ in cooperation with Plexus Corporation.

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The Inner Workings of Teams
Understanding the Heart of Teamwork and Inspiring Results

In some form, everyone has worked within a team at one point in his or her life. Whether or not the team was business-, school-, or sport-based, the basic understanding of team dynamics found a home in the soul of the individual. Now, with everyone having at least elementary experience in teamwork, why has the study and implementation of teams been such an ongoing and sometimes frustrating task in business over the past decades? Well, some of the frustration can be attributed to personal denial within people who cannot understand how or why teams work so well. Another large factor continuing to keep teams somewhat mysterious is level of experience. Although we’ve been on Little League teams, middle school student councils, and committee after committee in the workplace, our levels of understanding and love of teams varies widely. What is the answer? One solution—find people who care and inspire the soul.

   One such caring person is Ray Emery. As senior strategic management consultant for Scitor Corp. in Manassas, Va., Emery has dealt with a plethora of teams and team issues. Yet, he continues to come back for more.

   “Teams give individuals from all levels of an organization a chance to make a difference in the work they do—a chance to be valued and trusted,” Emery says. “I think the benefits of involving people and the resulting feelings of trust and value to the organization are still very underrated by senior leaders.” And therein lies the denial dilemma. With top leadership so ensconced with cost and value questions—especially in our current world—how can one sell teams?

   “I think that no matter where teams and team-based performance systems are headed, advocates of these approaches must demonstrate a balanced focus between the interpersonal benefits of teams and the bottom-line business results,” Emery states. “I think the more accurate the total cost benefit analysis of teams and team-based performance systems is, the more we can expect to see organizations commit to them.”

   Most of this knowledge was borne out of Emery’s work in the late ’80s when he worked with the U.S. Air Force. As part of the Air Force process improvement team, he focused quite a bit of attention on a TQM-like philosophy and was involved with improving aircraft maintenance procedures and overall aircraft system performance. This was also when he began to formulate his own team philosophies. By opening up his soul and reevaluating old experiences, Emery realized what he thinks are the number one factors in team success.

   “A clear charter or purpose,” he says, “coupled with well-defined operating boundaries including resources and decision authority and naturally the support to fulfill the charter/purpose.”

   Emery’s career has now developed to the point where he judges team performance for outside competitions, including AQP’s National Team Excellence Award Competition. After years of first-hand experience on successful and struggling teams, he knows characteristics that breed quality results and those that hold performance back.

   “I focus most on identifying a causal relationship between the team’s activities and the end results,” Emery says. “By determining if the team’s analysis creates a clear link between their activities and the results, I can surmise their level of success.” Emery also stressed his interest in the methods and processes the teams use to benefit from the collective knowledge and skills of their members.

   What does all of this mean for people trudging through meetings with non-performing teams or those struggling to convey team value to skeptics higher on the organizational chart? It means to continue to keep the faith. There are believers out there ready to lend support and expertise. It just takes some looking to find them. The truth is that teamwork works—simply put—and the naysayers are going to learn the hard way as time advances business to new levels. Emery agrees.

   “I am most excited about the teaming relationships that will be created as organizations continue to outsource non-core competencies,” Emery says. “As the value chain for a particular product or service is spread across several organizations, the advantage created by effective teams at each of the interim customer-supplier handoffs can truly give the larger organizational teams a competitive advantage.”

   And with all of the actions going on in the world today directly affecting U.S. business, who can argue with a competitive advantage? The answers are in each soul. Individuals like Ray Emery have captured the essence and put it to use. As we search within ourselves and work together with co-workers to piece the fabrics of teamwork together for use in our businesses, we can better understand what Ray Emery stands for—and we can finally understand the value of teamwork.

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The Recipe for Success? Get Funky!
So you have focused the firm, leveraged your competencies in all imaginable directions, and created an innovative organization that is the antithesis of a boring bureaucracy. But, is this the recipe for future success? Short answer: no!

   Aided by international consultants spreading similar solutions, we bet that your competitors are also refocusing and realigning. Inhabited by the same cadre of globally standardized MBAs, it would not surprise us if your competitors are also renewing and reengineering. Everyone is renewing, refocusing, realigning, and reengineering. So much so, they have become necessary but not sufficient for securing success. There has to be a better way, a more original route.

   There is. Look at the Finnish company Nokia that has come from almost nowhere to become the number one maker of mobile phones in the world. Does Nokia have access to some technology that Motorola or any of the other companies cannot get? Has it come across some management book that is yet to be translated from Finnish? Or, could it be that Helsinki is located closer to God and the future? Of course not, any of Nokia’s competitors could seek competitive advantage through location, technological innovation, or organization. Nokia and other funky firms succeed because they realize they need to exploit the last taboo. They need to compete on feelings and fantasy. Welcome to e(motional) commerce. Economies of scale and skill still matter, but the new game is one of economies of soul. We must use our imagination to attract the emotional customer and colleague—not the rational one.

   Or as Alberto Alessi, founder of the company with the same name once put it, “People have an enormous need for art and poetry that industry does not yet understand.” He can charge some $80 for a toilet brush, so the guy must be doing something right. Poetry and profits need not be mutually exclusive.

   Economies of soul are not a question of superior price or performance. Again, this is necessary but not sufficient. Ethics and aesthetics have little to do with logic, but everything to do with affection, intuition, and desire. Traditional competitive strategies will get you nowhere. Momentarily you may be one step ahead, but the others will soon catch up. The answer lies in developing a sensational strategy, embracing our emotions, and capturing our attention. Don’t try to run faster—play a different game.

KJELL A. NORDSTROM and JONAS RIDDERSTRALE are co-authors of Funky Business.
To learn more about the authors and their book, visit their Web site at .

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Teams Are Awesome! — They Really Are
Highlights of Outstanding Teams

If you have been with any group of “twenty-somethings,” you may hear the word “Awesome!” as often as we used to hear “Like, you know…” a few years ago. So, your ears and eyes may be a bit jaded to the word but none other comes to mind to describe the power, energy, and innovation that come out of teams working together to improve their work, their work environment, and, as often as not, themselves. They truly inspire awe. Each team that enters AQP’s Team Excellence Competition is a winner in our judgment. So, want to learn a bit more about teams? Here are four teams selected at random from those that have entered the competition. We don’t know if any or all of these teams will make it through the preliminary competition and compete in Las Vegas for the top team awards, but we do know that they have already won much for themselves individually, as a group, and for their company. That’s more than we meant to say but…. Here, read about some awesome teams—and when you’re done, pass them on to someone else and “Make their day!”

Honda of America Mfg., Inc.
The Team: The Eliminators

Team members:
David Chapman
Jan Wigal
Terry Sowder
Tony Gibson
Jenny Purtee
Matt Smith
Gary Reeder
Team facilitator: Dawn Burris

   The Team Project: The Eliminators attacked the issue of “excessive waste” in the Assembly Department at the Honda East Liberty Auto Plant. Through data collection and trash sorting, door bolts were identified as the main cause of the excessive waste in the area. Through associate feedback it was discovered that new line-side recycling containers would improve C.O.P. (Clean up, Organize, and Pick up). The total savings was over $78,000.

   NFC asked: While you have worked with this team, is there something special, new, or unexpected that you learned, or relearned, about teamwork?

   The Eliminators responded: “Everyone has a valuable opinion and something important to contribute. In order for a team to work each individual needs to be utilized and every opinion counts. Alone we may fail but a team can prevail.”

   NFC asked: What about problem solving—anything new, or relearned there?

   The Eliminators responded: “Everyone working together with support can solve any problem at hand, no matter how complex. Every individual idea or concept should be analyzed and considered as a team.”

   NFC asked: What did you learn or relearn about yourself?

   The Eliminators responded: “Everyone on a team is like a piece to a puzzle. All the minds must interlock to complete the image. Look at the whole picture. Don’t make decisions without all the information and input from the team.”

Output Technology Solutions

The Team: Production Associate Retention Team (PART)

Team members:
Barbara Bemis
CeCe Briones
Dee Canady
Letti David
Robynn Davis
Gary Funkhouser
Larry Gunderson
Anna Lara
Lori Pearson
Manager Business Unit:
Jay Meacham

   The Team Project: The team was formed at Output Technology Solutions’ Kansas City facility to discover root causes of production associate personnel turnover. We were asked to develop solutions to retain current associates and attract new associates. The team’s solutions/strategies resulted in an 11% reduction in personnel turnover for an estimated cost savings of $203,000.

   NFC asked: While you have worked with this team, is there something special, new, or unexpected that you learned, or relearned, about teamwork?

   PART members responded: “I have learned that teamwork within DST Output involves learning new skills, connecting with others including customers, respecting different views, and a willingness to work together to accomplish company goals.” Anna Lara, Hold Area Monitor. “As a long-term DST Output associate, I am proud to be a part of a team within a growing company that has a well-established history of high performance teams such as the Production Associate Retention Team.”-Dee Canady, Quality Assurance Analyst.

DENSO Manufacturing Tennessee, Inc.
The Team: Center Stage

Team members:
Sharon Compton
Rhonda Crosby
Keith Wright
Keith Burnett
Bill Beason
Pat Miller
Don Yarber
Team facilitator: Sandy Bonar

   The Team Project: Center Stage, a kaizen circle, used the PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act) cycle combined with other quality tools to examine downtime at their Burn-in Station. Through their teamwork and problem solving, they eliminated 200.25 hours downtime and improved their parts/month capacity by 801 units. Their solution eliminated a need for ongoing overtime to meet production requirements. The cost savings to the company is $58,363.

   NFC asked: While you have worked with this team, is there something special, new, or unexpected that you learned, or relearned, about teamwork?

   Center Stage responded: “Each member contributed their own ideas and opinions to this activity and relearned that people with differences can work together to achieve a common goal. For us this meant that we had to find a compromise ground, that we could accept and then pull back together as one.”

   NFC asked: What about problem solving—anything new, or relearned there?

   Center Stage responded: “Our members discovered that it required both listening and debating skills along with the willingness to dig deeper to eliminate the root cause.”

   NFC asked: What did you learn or relearn about yourself?

   Center Stage responded: “One member reflected that they learned how to use their increased confidence level to reflect a motivated/enthusiastic attitude to encourage others in their activity. This led to other personal achievements.”

Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey
The Team: Horizon Code Blue Crew

Team members:
Jim Albano
Deborah Blair-Crawford
Nicole Batton
Sandy Bellomo
Debbie Bestreski
Mary Hollywood
Amy Jankowski
Candi Santa Cruz
Krista Scott
Krisha White
Team facilitator: Cindy Lukenda

   The Team Project: Horizon Code Blue Crew was formed to create ways to reduce administrative cost and to win the re-bid of a state contract. The team exceeded its goal to reduce administrative cost by 5% for a cost savings of $1 million and won the re-bid of the state contract for six years. The team was also successful in increasing service staff productivity and quality results to avoid $5 million in performance penalties, and reducing training time by 57% for a cost savings of $251,508.00.

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January 2002 News for a Change Homepage

In This Issue...
Fish Philosophy and Teamwork
Connected But Not Connecting
Thriving Through Teamwork
Ten Compelling Reasons Why Your Company Shouldn’t Downsize

Peter Block Column

Brief Cases

Return to NFC Index

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