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Management Training: Continuous Improvement Cycle

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Posted 10 April 2013 by Chris FarmerChris Farmer

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You may find the following will help with your change management skills.

Management training: Continuous improvement cycle

The role of a manager is to induce the best performance from the team.

If the manager is not inducing a better performance from the team, than what the team would have achieved if the manager was not there, then the manager is superfluous to need and is no longer worth the money he or she is being paid.

The manager should have the skills to increase the productivity of the team to a degree that more than pays his wages and thus makes a profit on the investment.
If the manager is not adding value then why is he there?
Sadly, there are some managers who not only fail to add value, they interrupt the smooth performance of the team and they actually reduce the output efficiency of the team.
Not only is the manager drawing a wage, not only is he failing to add value, he is hampering the performance of the team.

The team members mutter under their breath and say amongst themselves, "I wish he would leave us to just get on with it; stop interrupting us with his distractions and meaningless interruptions; let him make his own coffee!"

If you are a manager your first job is to realise that your role is to:

Induce the best possible performance from the team

How would you do that?

You induce the best performance by understanding the nature of successful team action and then conditioning the minds of every member of the team to act in conformance with the requirements of successful team action.

So you should now have two questions in mind:

  1. What is the specific nature of successful team action?
  2. By what means can I "condition the minds of every member of the team to act in conformance with the requirements of successful team action?"

Let us answer these two questions.

What is the specific nature of successful team action?

All successful action is defined by a set of six principles. Those six principles are as follows:

  1. Name the goal to be achieved.
  2. Formulate a detailed logical and practical plan of action that is capable of achieving the stated goal.
  3. Implement the plan of action with as much energy and skill as is possible.
  4. Notice the feedback results the actions are creating. Notice which actions are taking you towards your goal and which actions are not taking you towards your goal.
  5. Analyse the actions that are failing to take you towards your goal and figure out what corrective changes, adaptations or amendments you must make to the plan of action that will improve the results obtained. Then return to step 2.
  6. Reiterate this process until the goal at one is achieved and then set a new, more ambitious goal.

All successful action follows that process.

We will call this six step method the success formula.

Can you give me a true example of the success formula?
Yes.

NASA space programme is an example of the success formula in the following way:

Leadership Training - The Effective Leader Manager

Leadership Training - The Effective Leader Manager

As the team leader or manager, you know that, on the technical level, you are very good. In your role as an effective and inspirational leader-manager, you recognise that there may be some gaps. Now you are searching for a method to help you to improve your skills as a team-leader and manager - click here to find out more!

1. Name the goal to be achieved.

On May 25, 1961, President John F. Kennedy announced the ambitious goal of sending an American safely to the Moon before the end of the decade.

2. Formulate a detailed logical and practical plan of action that is capable of achieving the stated goal.

Enormous human efforts and expenditures to make what became Project Apollo. NASA's overall human spaceflight efforts were guided by Kennedy's speech; Projects Mercury (at least in its latter stages), Gemini, and Apollo were designed to execute Kennedy's goal.

3. Implement the plan of action with as much energy and skill as is possible.

October 1968 Apollo 7
December 1968 Apollo 8
March 1969 Apollo 9
May 1969 Apollo 10
Dress rehearsal for Moon landing
July 16-24, 1969 Apollo 11 (Columbia and Eagle)
July 20th, 1969 Neil Armstrong became the first man on the moon, saying:

"Houston, Tranquillity base here. The eagle has landed."

4. Notice the feedback results the actions are creating.

Notice which actions are taking you towards your goal and which actions are not taking you towards your goal.

Tragedy struck the Apollo program when a flash fire occurred in command module during a launch pad test of the Apollo/Saturn space vehicle. Three astronauts, died in this tragic accident.

5. Analyse the actions that are failing to take you towards your goal and figure out what corrective changes, adaptations or amendments you must make to the plan of action that will improve the results obtained. Then return to step 2.

A seven-member board conducted a comprehensive investigation to pinpoint the cause of the fire. The final report was submitted to NASA. The report presented the results of the investigation and made specific recommendations that led to major design and engineering modifications.

6. Reiterate this process until the goal at one is achieved and then set a new, more ambitious goal.

NASA went on to build sky lab.
NASA went on to the space shuttle programme.
Then Hubble space telescope.
Then the international space station.
The Mars Exploration Program is now NASAs next major project.
To infinity and beyond.

Question: How can you use the same process to improve your team's performance?

Answer: memorise the six step formula:

  1. Purpose
  2. Plan
  3. Action
  4. Feedback
  5. Change
  6. Reiterate: Keep reiterating steps 2-5; until the goal is achieved

Your role as a manager is to make the teams activities reflect the success formula.

Question:
By what means can I ""condition the minds of every member of the team to act in conformance with the requirements of successful team action?""

Answer:
Every day ask the members of the team the 6 success formula questions and obtain from them a credible answer.

What are the 6 success formula questions?

Here they are:

  1. What are your major goals for this coming week, (month, year)?
  2. Where are your "detailed, written plans of action" that describe exactly how you intend to achieve your goals?
  3. What have you been doing lately, in terms of achieving your "major goals" and implementing your "plans of action"?
  4. What has been going well for you?
  5. What has not been going well for you?
  6. In respect of what has not been going well, tell me, what specifically do we need to adapt, improve or change, in order to get things back on track? Please, give me the list.

In order to condition the minds of every member of the team to act in conformance with the requirements of the success formula, every day, use these 6 questions to trigger success formula thoughts, feelings, actions and results.

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