High Performing Contract - April 2011
April 2011, #91
This e-newsletter is dedicated to supporting High-Performing Contractors and all contractors who are working to become one. Written by Dennis Sowards
Leadership - Management by results vs. the 3Ps
“Management by Results was a very hot topic when I was in MBA school, and it is still taught today. It made a lot of sense to not micromanage people, but to tell them what results they are expected to achieve and let them determine how to get there. This approach required a manager to be very clear in defining the end results and his/her expectations. Rewards for accomplishing the desired results were also part of this program. Management by Results would convey trust and allow workers to succeed without management’s intervention.
Management by Results did yield success and still does today. However, there is one problem they never told us in MBA school. At best it will only achieve short-term results and tends to cause employee behaviors contrary to teamwork.” Read the rest of this article.
The best-quality product is the one that most fully, continuously, and ethically meets a customer's needs. So when you think about quality improvement, the voice of the customer (VOC) should be paramount. The Rule of 3 is that customers only remember the top three suppliers - are you in the top three? How do you know? As the economy improves what are you doing to regain lost customers?
While the construction market seems to lag the general economy – lagging means it will still follow what is happening, including a shift in the job market. Consider the following information about jobs:
“One sign of better economic times is when more people start finding jobs. Another is when they feel confident enough to quit them.
“More people in the United States have quit their jobs in the past three months than were laid off -- a sharp reversal after 15 straight months in which layoffs exceeded voluntary departures. The trend suggests the job market is finally thawing.
" ‘There is a century's worth of evidence that bears out this view that quits rise and layoffs fall as the job market improves,’ said Steven Davis, an economist at the University of Chicago.
“Yet the long-term trend points to an improving job market. The U.S. economy has created a net 982,000 jobs this year after a recession that wiped out more than 8 million of them.
“During the depths of the recession, workers were hesitant to quit -- and not only because jobs were scarce. Even if they found a new job, some feared that accepting it would leave them vulnerable to a layoff. At many companies, layoffs follow a simple formula: Last hired, first fired.
“Studies have shown that worker morale fell during the recession. Productivity rose as companies squeezed more work out of their employees. That points to a reason quits may keep rising: Overworked employees could jump at the chance to switch jobs as new opportunities arise.
"’There is going to be a mass exodus of the top performers as the economy starts to turn around,’ predicts Razor Suleman, a consultant who helps companies retain their best workers.
“About 25 percent of companies' top performers said they plan to leave their current job within a year, according to a survey published in the May edition of the Harvard Business Review. By contrast, in 2006, just 10 percent planned to leave their jobs within a year.
“Companies retained those workers during the recession but heaped more work on them, said Jean Martin, the study's co-author and executive director of the Corporate Executive Board's Corporate Leadership Council in Washington. At the same time, employers cut back on awards and bonuses, she said.
“Now, top performers at some companies are heading for the exits as hiring picks up. It means companies will feel more pressure to retain them.
"These rising stars know what they're worth," Martin said. "They feel somewhat neglected."
Source: “More employees jump ship as economy improves” by Christopher Leonard and Christopher S. Rugaber, The Associated Press, June 9, 2010
So what to do to keep your best employees? Here are some suggestions:
Continue to be clear on the company’s purpose for existing – your vision of what the company is trying to become. If you don’t have a vision – why would they want to stay with a company going nowhere?
Communicate what is going on – what jobs are being bid, what jobs are making it and losing it, what risks you are taking and how you are addressing the risks. Most managers under-communicate by a factor of 10!
Create respect (trust) by asking for the employee’s ideas to help the company improve and grow and listen, listen, listen.
Recognize accomplishment and effort. One may have the bad project and not show real success, but have made a great effort. Studies show most managers think they do a good job of recognizing their employees, but when surveyed the employees disagree. Don’t think you have to give big bonuses; these actually do little to motivate people day to day. A phone call, a hand written thank you note, a personal visit to the employee’s work area to recognize some accomplishment goes a lot further than money.
You may be interested in attending one of these seminars by Dennis Sowards:
Apr. 28, 2011 - Job Planning That Really Works - Sponsor – P.I.P.I. & 469 JAC – Phoenix, AZ - contact Cathy Mayeux at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
May 19, 2011 - High Performance Leadership for the 21st Century - Sponsor – P.I.P.I. & 469 JAC – Phoenix, AZ - contact Cathy Mayeux at email@example.com for details
Sept. 22, 2011 - Getting to the Root Cause: Real Problem Solving - Sponsor – P.I.P.I. & 469 JAC – Phoenix, AZ - contact Cathy Mayeux at firstname.lastname@example.org for details
Sept. 26, 2011 – Industrial Fab Productivity – Breakthrough Performance through Lean Practices - SMACNA 2011 National Convention - Colorado Springs, CO. Details at http://www.smacna.org/events/annualconvention/
Oct. 20, 2011 - Designing and Achieving World-Class Performance in Construction- Sponsor – P.I.P.I. & 469 JAC – Phoenix, AZ - contact Cathy Mayeux at email@example.com for details
Contact Dennis if you are interested in having a customized workshop specific to your company’s needs.
Thought for the day
Management must demonstrate a commitment to quality every day, but ultimately quality comes from the workers. And you cannot tell people that they are important and then risk their health and safety to make production goals that day.
- Jeffrey Liker – The Toyota Way
For more information about the High-Performing Contractor assessment process contact Dennis Sowards at 480-835-1185.
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