The Development Process

The design process focuses on the technical aspects of improving business processes, structures and systems, while the development process focuses on improving the organization’s human resources. Physical, technological, and financial resources depreciate quickly, but people are the only resource within an organization which appreciates over time. For example, an employee who has been on the job for a year is expected to contribute more to the organization than when he/she had only been on the job for three months. Similarly, after three years of experience, development, and training, a person should be able to add even more value to the organization. The purpose of the development process is to leverage human capability, creating an organization which engages the intelligence, positive motivation, and commitment of every employee.In today’s fast changing business environment, companies that learn how to harness the collective genius of their people will race ahead of their competitors. The following steps provide a structured process to help leaders develop their human resources.

Step #1: Senior Leadership Team Development

There is a consistent need for the senior leadership of organizations to function as a cohesive team. As executive teams build experience and trust together, each member must learn to share responsibility for leading the entire enterprise, as well as managing his or her own specific area. For many leaders, the idea of sharing responsibility for managing the whole business requires a shift in thinking, from a functional to a holistic mindset. In addition, many senior leaders may also need to acquire a new set of interpersonal and team skills to help them collaborate more effectively. In short, executive groups, like teams at other levels of the organization, need to work at becoming an effective team. We believe that their becoming a cohesive team will not happen without some kind of directed development process.

The process of senior leadership development consists of a series of structured learning modules which the leadership team goes through together. These three-to-four-hour modules, spaced over time, help the leaders learn to work together as a High Performing team. The content is drawn from team development, collaborative team skills, interpersonal, and personal development material, and can be tailored to the specific development needs of each senior leadership team. The following modules can be included in senior leadership team development: Developing the Team Charter; Clarifying the Team’s Core Work; Building Trust; Exercising Responsibility; Identifying Major Initiatives; Clarifying Roles and Responsibilities; Planning and Managing Joint Projects; Conducting Effective Meetings; Team Decision Making; Team Problem Solving; Giving and Receiving Feedback; Resolving Conflicts; Understanding Group Dynamics; Empowering Others; and Setting Performance Expectations. A series of eight to twelve modules delivered weekly or monthly can significantly improve the focus and teamwork ability of the senior team.

Once the senior leadership team develops a high degree of trust and is effectively sharing management of the total enterprise together, individual managers can lead members of their own staff through a similar development process. When the leadership of the organization understands and practices constructive interpersonal and team principles, it is much easier for the rest of the organization to act like a team and become High Performing.

Step #2: Employee Orientation: Principles of High Performance

At some point, after senior leadership understands the transformation process and is committed to improving the organization, employees will need to be introduced the High Performance change process. Principles of High Performance is a dynamic orientation program designed to help participants understand High Performance and what it takes to achieve it within an organization. Employee groups of from twenty five to fifty people participate in a factory simulation where they learn first-hand the pitfalls of the control model versus the flexibility and power of High Performance/High Commitment model. This dynamic simulation is guaranteed to be an unforgettable experience for everyone involved! Participants will experience the characteristics of traditional and High Performance organizations, understand the leadership role shift required to move toward High Performance, and learn about the characteristics of High Performance teams.

Following the simulation, employees participate in a trust exercise to learn the importance of building trust in the organization. They are introduced to change models and tools which will help them begin their journey to High Performance. If senior leadership has clarified the strategy of the organization or created a charter for the change process, these may also be introduced and discussed with employees during the orientation to set the change process in motion. This orientation session will help employees understand the change process and commit them to being part of the solution, as they become involved and follow new leadership directions. It will begin to generate enthusiasm and commitment throughout the organization.

Step #3: Information Sharing and Communication System Development

The information sharing and communication system is the life-blood of a High Performance organization, so it is critical to establish it early in the transformation process. Leadership strategies, design decisions, and development plans all need to be communicated through an organization-wide information and communication system of some kind. Furthermore, with the growth of internet technologies, knowledge transfer and management has become critical for many companies to stay competitive.

One of the keys to empowerment is making people “contributing partners” in the business. When employees are given strategies, plans and information about the business in which they work, they become partners in helping build and improve the business. Within High Performance companies, every employee knows the strategy of the business and where it is headed. They understand the most important measures of business performance and how the business is doing against those measures. They know their customers and their key requirements. They understand the industry in which they work and are knowledgeable about changes in the organization’s environment which impact them. They are informed about major company events and what is going on within other parts of the organization. Sharing such information is an ongoing process. It requires not only sharing of information, but time with people to make sure they understand the information and have the necessary training to interpret and use it correctly. Developing and managing this system pays huge dividends as people feel trusted and respected, and respond with greater commitment, personal initiative, and understanding to make better business decisions.

The concept for an organization-wide information and communication system can be developed fairly quickly at the beginning of the change process. A cross-functional task force is formed to assess the current information, communication, and knowledge management needs throughout the organization. They develop a simple recommendation to establish a basic system to channel key information, decisions, and plans during the change process. Later, during the macro design session, an ideal version of the information and communication system, with more focus on knowledge management, is developed and put in place during implementation.

Step #4: High Performance Leadership Training

Leadership within a High Performance organization changes from controlling, directing, and top-down decision making to establishing direction and boundaries, encouraging participation, developing people, and providing resources to allow people at all levels of the organization to take greater responsibility for managing the business. It can be challenging for leaders to make this role shift. Many managers and supervisors are anxious about losing authority and control or not understanding their new role in a High Performance environment. They need focused training and support to help them make the transition successfully.

The program High Performance Leadership: From Control to Empowerment is designed to provide leaders with the tools and skills necessary to change from controlling and directing to coaching, facilitating, and empowering the teams and individuals they manage. The course consists of eight modules which can be delivered in a single two and one-half to three-day session, or spaced over time in two to four-hour sessions. The modules include numerous individual and group exercises which involve participants and ensure that they translate the principles into a personal plan of action. Participants will do the following during the program: learn principles and practices of empowering leaders; create their own compelling leadership vision; become familiar with the five leadership roles, assess themselves, and receive 360 feedback from others on their performance in the five roles; learn about the fundamentals of high performance teams; learn how to establish clear performance expectations and confront poor performance; and learn how to empower the individuals and teams they manage for success.

This program can be taught to a large group or even a single leader with the trainer acting as a personal coach. The structure, format, and number of participants per session can be tailored to fit the needs of the individual organization.

Step #5: Team Skills Training

The key to organization performance lies in the ability of organization members to work together effectively. The program Skills for High Performance Teamwork is specifically designed to help leaders and team members develop and practice teamwork and collaboration skills. It is highly interactive and involves participants in a variety of engaging exercises as they learn by doing. The seven three-hour modules in the program include the following: Basic Communication; Giving and Receiving Feedback; Group Dynamics; Team Decision Making; Team Problem Solving; Conflict Resolution; and Time Management.

Team skills training can be delivered in a single three-day session, or delivered module by module over a period of weeks or months. It is very effective for entire leadership teams, supervisory teams, or employee work teams. It can also be delivered to groups from different parts of the organization who may not be intact work teams. Skills for High Performance Teamwork gives team members the communication, decision-making, and conflict resolution skills they need to build and maintain a positive and productive work environment. This program is a favorite of most teams who go through it!

Step #6: Self Mastery– Personal Development Training

Masters are the victors of life, those who step up to the challenges and opportunities of life with courage, determination, and wisdom. Self Mastery is a personal development program which helps organization members learn to become the masters of their own lives, as they expand their visions and take personal responsibility for their choices, their personal growth, and for contributing to others around them. Participants who attend this course will learn a set of principles which will change they way they view their lives as well as their performance on the job. They will grow in self-understanding, confidence, personal effectiveness, and in their ability to handle the challenges/opportunities of the workplace. Such personal transformation forms a solid foundation for team and organization-wide transformation.

Self Mastery is an excellent leadership program because it helps leaders clarify their personal vision of who they are, teaches them to be proactive, not reactive with others, and shows them how to take responsibility for their decisions in the work place. It can also be a life changing experience for team members or individuals who need to better understand how to be more proactive and responsible as they seek to become contributing partners in the business. This program is highly interactive, involving participants in engaging group, one-on-one, and individual exercises throughout. There are eight three-hour modules in the program: The Integrity Model; Conquer Your Key Moments; Embrace Reality; Exercise Responsibility; Clarify Your Vision; Define Your Purpose; Act With Integrity; and Value Who You Are. The Self Mastery course can be taught as a three-day training session, or delivered in three-to-four hour modules spaced over time.

Step #7: The Trust Factor—Interpersonal Skills Training

Trust and interpersonal communication are essential to organizational success if employees are to be empowered and become contributing partners in building and managing the business. The Trust Factor: Creating Win/Win Relationships is a training program designed to dramatically increase leadership and employee effectiveness with others as they learn the principles and skills of trust and interpersonal dialogue. This is an excellent leadership program because it teaches leaders how to avoid negative relationship patterns, how to relate to others in strengthening ways, and how to harness harmful behavior without damaging the relationship with those they manage. It is a powerful employee development tool because it teaches them how to build trust with others and how to seek win/win relationships and outcomes with team members and others in the organization.

The Trust Factor consists of eight three-hour modules. These modules can be taught as a three-day session, or delivered sequentially over a period of weeks. During the course of the program, participants will learn the core elements of trust, and how to: break out of collusive relationship patterns; view others in ways that promote unity, trust, and good will; create safe and trusting conditions in which people can be open and honest; surface and resolve hidden resentment; share concerns and draw others out to create dialogue and discussion; and confront poor performance and behavior problems. This training is highly interactive. Participants are involved in experiential exercises and a number of role plays throughout the program to help them internalize the skills they are taught. This program can significantly change the communication culture of the organization, moving people to a higher level of trust, communication, and interpersonal problem-solving skills.

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