The simple principle that keeps large groups connected

“OK, so what have we found?” asked Kathy, CEO of a mid-size manufacturer, about 1600 people.

“We’ve found a possible cause of the issues coming out of your Eastern plant” I replied, putting on the table a diagram known as a Levels of Work Analysis.  The diagram is like an X-Ray for organisational design – it shows clearly the cracks and splinters in the org design itself that are causing frustration and lack of delivery.

Kathy leaned forward and pointed at the clearly marked red areas.  ”What’s going on there?”

“I need to give you a quick bit of lingo” I said.  ”We use some fundamental principles that, if in place, will see frustration down and delivery up.  One of these is about having what we call building blocks in place to make sure that our natural need for connection isn’t accidentally designed out.”

Kathy’s eyebrows went up.  I waited to check I was making sense.  ”Go on” she said.

“The first building block is the basic team structure.   But above that we have the wider structure, or the three-tier structure.  The fancy term for it Elliott Jaques coined was the ‘Mutual Recognition Unit’, or ‘MRU’.”

“Fancy indeed” Kathy commented.  ”So how does this help me?” Read more…

Adam is a partner of The Working Journey a niche consultancy that designs organisations into creative accountable enterprises that deliver...using ideas such as you just read. Want to chat? Send him an email by clicking here.

Pay grades – how to make them work

Pay gradesASO4, APS2, PSO3…and countless other classifications are all around the world, denoting the different gradings that determine what someone is paid.  Government is a common spot where this is found, but in no way is government alone.

The concept itself is fine.  The original work of organisational scientist Elliott Jaques studied pay levels and the findings were clear that it was believed to be fair that those doing more complex work receive higher levels of pay..

So why is it the case that government departments have the reputation for bureaucracy, frustration and an inability to deliver? Read more…

Adam is a partner of The Working Journey a niche consultancy that designs organisations into creative accountable enterprises that deliver...using ideas such as you just read. Want to chat? Send him an email by clicking here.

The Frontline Manager

Last week we discussed the specific role of the Team Leader, and how this is not a level of management.  This time we will look specifically at the first level of management, the Frontline Manager.

This role is often known simply as ‘Manager’, as in ‘Sales Manager’ or ‘Call Centre Manager’.  Some organisations, however, add to the fun by giving this role the title of Team Leader, Supervisor or Coordinator.  I have seen this done for a range of reasons, with the most insidious being due to having too may layers of management in the first place, so we simply run out of titles.

Whatever we call it, the Frontline Manager Read more…

Adam is a partner of The Working Journey a niche consultancy that designs organisations into creative accountable enterprises that deliver...using ideas such as you just read. Want to chat? Send him an email by clicking here.

Stop the battles: Using authorities to set up cross-functional work

Eli Painting 1

There is a way to create a culture of working together and stopping cross-functional work being the bane of your people’s working life, and it does not start with sending everyone away to learn how to handle conflict, find out their personality type or get 360 feedback.

Instead, it involves addressing the issue at its source by managers clarifying what they are each accountable for, confirming with their cross-over manager, then setting up role relationships for their people by integrating accountabilities and authorities.

Elliott Jaques provides  seven different types of authority to match with accountability Read more…

Adam is a partner of The Working Journey a niche consultancy that designs organisations into creative accountable enterprises that deliver...using ideas such as you just read. Want to chat? Send him an email by clicking here.

Why Mick Malthouse is having fun

Arizona

I think Mick Malthouse is having fun.  Mick is the coach of  Carlton, a team in the Australian Football League which is the top competition in the land.  He took on the job this season and I think overall he is having a good time due to two structural reasons that are useful for us to pay attention to.

The first is clarity of accountability.  I doubt Mick has Read more…

Adam is a partner of The Working Journey a niche consultancy that designs organisations into creative accountable enterprises that deliver...using ideas such as you just read. Want to chat? Send him an email by clicking here.

How to increase your capability

I had some questions from my last post on cognitive capability on how to increase it.  Here’s the answer:

Don’t smoke.  The is the single most important thing you can do to increase your capability.

The second is 30 minutes of movement per day.

The third is healthy diet.

Not what you expected?   The thing is, the only way you can increase your cognitive capability is to not die.  This is because while your cognitive capability will unfold at it’s own rate, that rate has been shown by research to be predictable over time. Read more…

Adam is a partner of The Working Journey a niche consultancy that designs organisations into creative accountable enterprises that deliver...using ideas such as you just read. Want to chat? Send him an email by clicking here.

Politics at work start early

Politics - embedded

Here’s four quick quotes from current jobs being advertised, spot the common word:

  • “You will posses demonstrated leadership, influencing and negotiation skills”
  • “…excellent communication and influencing skills”
  • “..combine specialist knowledge with strong management and influencing skills”
  • “Excellent communication and influencing skills at all levels”.

All of these jobs are operational or audit roles, not sales or business development.  Which means the people they are influencing are internal people in the same organisation.  We have set up a political organisation from the start.

Read more…

Adam is a partner of The Working Journey a niche consultancy that designs organisations into creative accountable enterprises that deliver...using ideas such as you just read. Want to chat? Send him an email by clicking here.