The leaders handbook : making things happen, getting things done

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Whenever the goal is not achieved, the manager should look at the processes and methods used instead of blaming the people who worked in that process. Understand variability. Most of the variability exist in the first category and can be solved by taking a closer look at processes that are used on a daily basis. Understand how we learn, how we develop and how we improve. Learning is the result of a dynamic exchange of theory and praxis. With the help of the PDCA cycle, experiments are put in place to see how we can improve our processes using the new acquired theory.

Understand why people behave the way they do. It is impossible for a manager to motivate people by rewards of punishment, because this assumes people have a secret stash of effort that they are only willing to use whenever they are rewarded or punished for it.

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The starting point should be, that people are generally motivated to do a good job and willing to do the right thing anyway. It is the system that they are in, that influences their behavior Senge, Understand how systems, variability, learning and behavior are connected. A combination of the first 4 competencies. Offer vision, direction, meaning and focus to the organization. A leaders should inspire people to think about their role in the organization. How do your tasks help it achieve its goals? And how do they fit in the systems and processes?

How can I be more effective and more efficient within this process?

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And finally, what feedback and information do I need to know that I am doing a great job? Take step back and observe the system. What is the goal of the system? Take a step forward and look into the system. Use input from customers, employees and suppliers to map the current system and identify wastes. Describe the future, ideal system. Imagine the current systems were destroyed and you had the possibility to design them from scratch, how would the system achieve its goals?

Use tools like a tree diagram to define actions that are small enough to manage und use PERT charts or Gantt charts to define the critical path of the actions and the dependency between them. Mobilize the required resources and start execution.


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Use project teams to change the system into the direction of the ideal system. Use what is improved as input for the next cycle of improvements. Never stop improving the system after the first round of improvements. Define the goal of the system. Again, we start with the goal question. Who benefits form this system and what is it used for?

Define one measurable target on which the system should focus on, what Rother describes as the target condition. How do we know the system is performing well? Define the goal of each process within the system. For each process, we need to define what is important to be able to meet the goal of the entire system?

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Identify the KPI that can be used within the processes that help you achieve the goal. As a leader, you have to be able to explain why a KPI is important and for what it is used. Make sure the new KPI fits in the entire system. Define operational definitions for each KPI.

What can the team of a process do to improve the performance? Plan for data collection. Control charts and checklists can be used to measure performance.


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  • Start small, for instance one KPI for one team, and then gradually increase the measurements. Use the PDSA cycle to improve the data collection system.

    The leader's handbook : making things happen getting things done

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      The Leader's Handbook: Making Things Happen, Getting Things Done

      Author Publisher: New York N. Description: XVI, p. Note: Includes bibliographical references and index Subject: Leadership. New York N.