Friday, October 26, 2012
"The Fall Guys" by Carmen Brickner
Starting today, and for the next few Fridays, I have asked Carmen Brickner to do her magic and share her wisdom in my blog. I know you will agree that she is "meaningfully unique" in how she helps her clients-enjoy!!
I’m always hearing about how the first line supervisors are getting in the way of teams becoming empowered. That’s a bunch of crap! I’ve been helping organizations move from hierarchical structures to more team based problem solving for almost 40 years. And these unsung heroes are actually the scapegoats.
All the books and most of the consultants are geared for two groups – the execs who make the big decisions and pay the bills, and the teams who get to learn new skills and stretch their wings. But no one helps the people who have to actually make the changes happen for the organization to shift its culture.
I see it all the time. During the transition stages, they live in constant turmoil and identity crisis. And let’s remember that we hired or promoted them because they are good at managing tasks and schedules, not leading people with degrees in soft skills.
If you are familiar with DISC, they are mostly High D’s with back up C strengths. They can take the heat and give it out when necessary. They are expected to handle personnel issues, product and quality concerns, scheduling challenges, and switch on a dime when management or sales decides that what they want done has a higher priority than whatever is currently running! We wanted them to know every little detail that was happening so we could have one-stop shopping for info on every job, every person, and every machine.
It was and still is their job to make sure hand-offs, staff outages, budgets, and quality are managed while pretending to please the external client when we know the real power client is always internal owners or managers…they write the checks, yell the loudest and hire and fire people. Oh yeah…and train people, cross train them, and motivate them even though you have never had a single psychology or management class in your life.
Now along comes a great book that someone told the owner or GM that changed his or her company and, although the source says it takes time, patience, support and energy, the selective learning of the boss determines that he/she just wants the desired outcome of urgency or quality or on time delivery or customer focus without personally paying the price of time and patience.
So, when the slam-bam-thank-you approach doesn’t work, they blame the supervisors as getting in the way. After all, management saw the vision and okayed the change. And the teams were taught new lean or six sigma tools. Who else works here but the scapegoats in the middle? It must be their fault!!
Next week: Let’s look at a day in the life of a supervisor aka coach during transition from top-down to teams.
CLEARbrick, Inc. is dedicated to working with individuals and organizations willing to create healthy relationships and develop the culture, skills and processes necessary for sustainable innovation and financial success for all stakeholders.
Carmen Brickner is the founder and principal of CLEARbrick, Inc. and has recently expanded her service area by opening an office in Tampa, FL in addition to her current CT based organization.