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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Team Tips – 16 {An abundance of Angels}

When I was a District Manager of Customer Service at Xerox Canada one of my managers told me she had seen an Angel. The spiritual kind, the God's Helper kind.

Lizzie (almost her real name) was a professional, logical, coherent, mature adult who was a very “by the book” manager. I realized as she talked about her Angel experience that she was taking a big “career limiting” risk by sharing this with me, her corporate boss. Happily that meant that she trusted me enough not to judge her as crazy, or rat on her in to Human Resources.

I'm glad to say I listened quietly, kept my skepticism to myself, so she could share this secret. My task was to support her, not make things more difficult. In my mind I could conjure up some extenuating circumstances: her mother had just died, her husband was unusually introspective, she was stressed with a tough job.

Nonetheless, it was just plain weird in our cultural circle to admit to seeing Angels.

And I'm reminded of that situation when Vickie or I encounter some people's reactions to the Core Protocols or BootCamp.

We get:
  • these concepts can't work, won't work, aren't feasible, won't be accepted
  • the Core Protocols are too ... (insert negative adjective here)
  • people won't use these Simple Rules and Tools
  • people need to build their own
  • there's no means to enforce compliance
  • this is dictatorial
  • people won't share emotions
  • groups need facilitation
  • we can't spend the time to come to BootCamp
  • and several billion more

What's fascinating to discover, when a conversation is possible with an objector about any of these reactions, that the objector hasn't actually read the Core Protocols document, or has not attended a BootCamp, or seriously tried to investigate this material. Nor does the fact that thousands of people have found it helpful over the 15+ years that teams have been generating these ideas seem to make any difference to them. Or that an investment of five days is worth the value of changing one's life.

So what is preventing the level of understanding that all this might be genuine?

One possibility is fear.
When we talk about the potential for BootCamp to be a life changing experience and to effect your success for the balance of your life, that can be very scary. We know that some people don't really want to challenge their belief systems, or to deal with their true potential.

So when objectors deny the 15+ years of BootCamp success is possible, we just listen quietly, share the facts we have, and leave it at that.

If a world of abundance isn't what you want, if you don't want to realize your potential, or reach for the sky, then BootCamp is not for you.

You probably just aren't ready for a universe of possibility, or Angels either.

On April 21st. Vickie Gray and I will conduct another Great Teams BootCamp. The details are at

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Team Tips – 15 {Our soufflĂ© fell!}

I had another post lined up for Team Tips - 15 but then this gem popped up this morning on Twitter:
from @LeaderChat

BEST BUY: We Ended ROWE/Work From Home Because It Defines Leadership as 100% Delegation.... By @kris_dunn
I was intrigued because a Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE) is a kindred spirit with the learnings and experiences gained from the immersion in the CORE Protocols at BootCamp.

So I followed the url above to Kris Dunn's post:
[the hr Capitalist]

March 21, 2013

BEST BUY: We Ended ROWE/Work From Home Because It Defines Leadership as 100% Delegation....

Kris ends his post with:

Take a look and soak - it's an interesting conversation. My gut tells me that the delegation angle is window dressing, and when times are bad, people want butts (plural!) in seats.

In this way he leaves the door open for debate on the reported statements on ROWE by the CEO of Best Buy, Hubert Joly, and connects us to the related post by the creators of ROWE:

Cali & Jody Blog

ROWE Creators Set the Record Straight: Best Buy CEO Doesn't Understand ROWE

It’s disheartening to us that Best Buy's CEO, Hubert Joly, complains of his ideas being “misconstrued” and then in the same breath completely misconstrues another important idea. That idea is Results-Only Work Environment, which up until a few weeks ago was the innovative work culture of Best Buy’s corporate offices.

Jody Thompson continues to explain some myths about ROWE which you should read for the full story. To summarize, they are:

Myth #1 - ROWE is delegation

Myth #2 - If you can see people at the office, you know they’re working!

Myth #3 - ROWE is a one-size-fits-all program
And Jody ends with:
Either Joly truly doesn't understand what ROWE is or he doesn't know how to lead in a ROWE. Either way, he just doesn’t get it.

Fascinating, Captain!

Taking these posts at face value, and assuming Hubert Joly is a smart person with good intent, we have a conundrum.

  • Perhaps he is misinformed about ROWE, or it's mechanics, or how it has been implemented at Best Buy
  • Perhaps he has a bad speechwriter / press agent, or can't read
  • Perhaps he has been misquoted, or might plead the Nixon-ism: “Those statements are not longer operative”

Given his quoted remarks it's clear he doesn't understand delegation. When he says no one should delegate the task of building a brick wall to him (because they wouldn't like the result) he seems to not understand that

  • delegation of responsibility is only viable when the “delegatee” can produce the desired result, OR
  • (and he should surely understand this as the CEO) when the “delegatee” can further delegate the task to a bona-fide bricklayer

Does Best Buy regularly designate responsibility for, say, accounting audits to their facilities people, or IT services to their logistics experts?

And Mr. Joly needs some assistance with the concepts of leadership. His description of possible leadership styles as “coaching, motivating or directing” are more accurately descriptions of parent-managing.

But we started with the belief that Hubert Joly is a smart person with good intent. Hmmm. Reductio ad absurdem?

He at least needs some help. A good executive coach might work with him on his integrity so that he can honestly say: "I don't like our implementation of the ROWE concepts. It hasn't worked out like I wanted here at Best Buy. We are changing direction and asking all HQ employees to work in the office." (BTW: that's leadership - at least in the traditional organization)

Perhaps even: "Butts in seats is good enough for Yahoo so it's good enough for us."

Whichever way you look at it, the chef shouldn't blame the recipe when he doesn't follow it.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Team Tips – 13 {What's in a name?}

On April 21st. Vickie Gray and I will conduct another Great Teams BootCamp. The details are here.

You'll notice right away we are calling this one a “Creating Time BootCamp”. Over the years since 2003 that we've attended, helped at, or held a Camp ourselves we've always debated with ourselves what we should call each session.

Jim & Michele McCarthy coined the original name of “BootCamp”. The common explanation for this choice is that over the week each attendee adopts new “software for their head” (taken from their book of the same name). So then everyone “boots new software” - using computer jargon. But this stuff isn't a computer Operating System. It's the commitments and protocols that make up the CoreProtocols that have emerged from teams being great. And adopting these best practices gives you a new way to operate in the world. Your own new mental operating system.

So if you're into software, or are in any tiny way computer literate, you get the idea.

But.... We've also had parents call us that wanted us to straighten out their teenagers. They hoped we were running a Marines style drill Bootcamp. And of course if you are leery of the military, or drill sergeants, or pushups in the rain, then the name BootCamp is not so exciting.

Then we got keen on “Results Camp” because the whole outcome of BootCamp is to generate a team that knows how to produce great results every time.

And I like “Great Teams Camp”. After all, the Core Protocols emerged from great teams in action and have been handed on to help others become a great team, and it's the team that produces the great results, and ...

Later, Vickie and I found out about Human Systems Dynamics, a whole discipline generated by the doctoral research of Glenda Eoyang. Glenda's certification course taught us about the importance of simple rules and tools. And bingo! We realized that the Core Protocols package was just that. The commitments were simple rules for teams to follow and the protocols were tools of behaviours for them to be great.

Now we had the name “Simple Rules and Tools Camps”.

Then we conducted a BootCamp where the team was astonished by the time-dilation effect. They were getting much more accomplished much faster than anticipated. That lead to Vickie's first book: Creating Time.

So as you are signing up for our next session above, you'll see it's a “Creating Time BootCamp”.

And when you get your manual once you've registered you'll see it's called the “BootCamp Manual”.

If this is all confusing, don't worry
Under the covers, it's still the same fabulous content. The week is your time to immerse yourself in the best understanding there is of what makes great team work. And you get to experience it to produce a great product. Yourself. Sweet!

A rose by any other name ...

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Team Tips – 12 {Lean, mean, machine}

One part of my consulting and training life deals with IT Service Management. Those are the principles and practices associated with the view that an IT department is a provider of services to its business counterparts which improve the value and potential of business outcomes. Usually good IT Service Management is achieved by adopting best practices from a framework such as CobiT or the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL).

In fact it was the need for teams of IT staff to adopt and adopt ITIL Service Management processes for their own use that made me realize that what I thought I knew about team building and team work was truly inadequate.
Let's get a group of people, toss them in a boardroom, and call them our process development team.  -Great idea! 
Let's use all the classic organizational methods to facilitate their working together, making decisions, building trust, becoming productive.  -Yes!
Except it very rarely works.

Similarly the Agile software development methods and Scrum in particular depend upon “self-organizing teams”. But the question remains: HOW do we build a self-organizing team?

Hold that thought.

A key element of the ITIL Framework is the principle of continual improvement drawing on W. Edward Deming's work which was foundational to the entire Quality Management world. In that context you might have heard of the Toyota Motor Corporation?

Toyota's focus on continuous improvement breaks down into three basic principles:1
  • Challenge: Having a long term vision of the challenges one needs to face to realize one's ambition (what we need to learn rather than what we want to do and then having the spirit to face that challenge). To do so, we have to challenge ourselves every day to see if we are achieving our goals.
  • Kaizen: Good enough never is, no process can ever be thought perfect, so operations must be improved continuously, striving for innovation and evolution.
  • Genchi Genbutsu: Going to the source to see the facts for oneself and make the right decisions, create consensus, and make sure goals are attained at the best possible speed.
Respect For People is less known outside of Toyota, and essentially involves two defining principles:2
  • Respect: Taking every stakeholders' problems seriously, and making every effort to build mutual trust. Taking responsibility for other people reaching their objectives.
  • Teamwork: This is about developing individuals through team problem-solving. The idea is to develop and engage people through their contribution to team performance. Shop floor teams, the whole site as team, and team Toyota at the outset.
Another call for team building and effective team work.

Hold that thought, too. Please.

The last thread in this tangle (for this post) is the growing interest in applying “Lean Manufacturing” principles (from companies such as Toyota) to IT organizations. This prompts IT groups to look at and study Six Sigma concepts, and “Lean IT” all of which centers around measuring defects in service delivery and reducing waste (muda).

Again from Wikipedia re: Lean Manufacturing, the original seven muda are:
  • Transport (moving products that are not actually required to perform the processing)
  • Inventory (all components, work in process and finished product not being processed)
  • Motion (people or equipment moving or walking more than is required to perform the processing)
  • Waiting (waiting for the next production step)
  • Overproduction (production ahead of demand)
  • Over Processing (resulting from poor tool or product design creating activity)
  • Defects (the effort involved in inspecting for and fixing defects)
  • Later an eighth waste was defined by Womack et al. (2003); it was described as manufacturing goods or services that do not meet customer demand or specifications. Many others have added the "waste of unused human talent" to the original seven wastes.
Anyone with any experience in an IT operation of any size will recognize most, if not all, of these problems occurring in managing the IT infrastructure, in group interaction, with programming bugs, and poor communication with the business customers. So I get asked if I can help here too.

Now what?

Behind the first door we have the need for self-organizing teams. Behind the second door the requirement to be continually improving. Behind the third, the quest to reduce waste in our organizations.

What if we could address all three of these issues? What if we could open all these doors and not get eaten by the tiger?

Nah! Can't be done! Rubbish!

Well ...
Check out the Core Protocols as a means to building self-organizing teams, dealing with all the questions of waste, and continually improving your results and satisfaction. And more.

When people start to notice your results with these simple rules and tools, and you become famous because your team is a Lean, Mean, Machine, just tell them you're a genius ... because you were smart enough to try the Core Protocols.

1 From:
2 Also from: