Archive for August, 2018

Process and Bowling

Posted on: August 16th, 2018 by admin No Comments

I have been dabbling once again with bowing.  I did this when I was a kid with my family.  I bowled on a league from time to time as well.  Then you graduate, get a job, wife, and child, and you sort of just stop plying for whatever reason.  As I restart my bowling endeavor, I realize how process intensive it is.  Stand here. Aim at this specific point (dots on the lane).  Walk like this, ball moves out, then back, then forward while moving toward the foul line.  The swing comes forward, ball comes off the hand like this, then follow through, then ball lands on your spot, then look up at the pins to see if you are going to do anything productive.  This should look like a process to you. I notice, when I tick all of the boxes in a good way, I knock down most if not all of the pins. Violation of some of these, miss the dot on the lane where the ball should land, drop the ball behind me or sling it off to the left or right, and well, open frame.

Why do we have processes? In the case of bowling, the process is there to limit variation of my score, specifically to improve the maximum while reducing the number of times that I bowl really low.  The process is a way to understand and minimize variation to optimize the outcome or result of the work.

Our work lives to be sure are no less complicated than bowling. There are often more points of articulation, for example, my bowling is individual even when part of a team, that is the pins I leave are my responsibility to pick up in the second ball or for an open frame.  In many cases in our work lives, there are depending consequences which require exchanges of information or work in progress. In this regard often the work life look more like running a relay, but there are processes for that also.

The point is, the work process and processes are similar to the steps in bowling, and in general are not bad things. We use them everyday, and though we may complain about “the process” or “our process” there is a point to these. Every time need not be the first time, and guidance from previous experience is helpful.  There are some that think the best way to do the work is to shun processes making everything too complicated or too one off to warrant having a formalized process.

 

 

 

Executives, Experience, and Engagement in the Work

Posted on: August 13th, 2018 by admin No Comments

Executives, Experience, and Engagement in the Work.

By Jon M. Quigley

Discussion board on Engagement

I participate in discussion boards on a company called Convetit.  Convetit has people sponsoring discussion boards on a specific topic areas. These people pose specific questions within the confines of the topic area and individuals that have been approved to work on that discussion board, answer those questions and perhaps ask questions of their own.  I am on several boards, have been on more than I am presently, but some of those boards are:

  • Capturing Knowledge to Empower Future Leaders and Employees
  • Exploring Technical Trends & Innovations in the Development of Online Experiences

  • Exploring Packaging Solutions to Reduce in-store Shrinking and Theft

The one of interest for me, is Capturing Knowledge to Empower Future Leaders and Employees.  I have been ruminating on this for years now, originating in 2013 or so when I saw a study from Gallup regarding employee engagement.  In fact I have had discussions on this topic with Tom Cagley (he leads the Software Process and Measurement Cast podcast)    In fact, that same observation of the Gallup poll, is also the reason for this discussion board as it is noted in the front matter for the discussion board.

In this discussion, I thought about some of the times when I have found discomfort in my professional life, and one of those events, was having executives of the company that have not had the internal corporate experiences making demands upon those that are presently doing the work.

I think part of the problem may be the disconnect between the executives and the work. I have been part of organizations wherein the executive class may have had little or no involvement with the product upon which the employees work. For example, executives in the product development for automotive space that have had no prior experience in that part of the work.

What happens to people when you make decision or dictate to them what and how things should happen?  What happens when the executives make decisions that put the people doing the work in a bind?  As a professional, we are often tasked with doing what it takes to make thing come out well.  Decisions that turn out to be less than great, often have an impact on the talent of the organization For example, consider decisions that eventually lead to the talent working over Christmas holiday’s or so many hours of uncompensated overtime that practically consumes all of the vacation time that the employee may have, essentially, erasing any time off that comes with pay. For example, if I work 60 hours, two weeks in a row of uncompensated overtime, I have just put in an extra week of work. If I have two weeks of paid vacation, I really only have one week of paid vacation. If I work more overtime throughout the year, I will see that vacation time degrade until I have practically not time off with pay.

Having somebody that has not done the work tell those that do the work how, how long, how much essentially i

Study of the Disconnect

Another person on that discussion board, Ellen Raim, then added her comments to this thread on the board pointing to something she had written just a few days earlier, Your boss Really Can’t Remeber What It’s Like To Be an Employee At Your Level .   I found this article so interesting, and compelling that I wanted to share this with the rest of the world.  I encourage you to read the article but at the core there are four reasons for this disconnect, as her article notes these are:

  1. Power Inequality Creates Social Distance
  2. Rank Changes Our Way of Thinking
  3. Organizational Structure May Add to the Problem
  4. Conventional Advice to Managers Perpetuates the Problem

I recommend reading this article if you are interested in understanding how the organization’s hierarchy can have an impact on the engagement of the talent of the organization.  When it comes to engagement, the lack of it will have a very serious impact on the organization.

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