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LSI Solutions – Predetermined Time Systems and Workforce Management

Focusing now on labor standards, there are primarily two different approaches utilized to develop them: (i) using a predetermined time system (PDTS) and (ii) time study.
Newer to retail, but long valued by manufacturers, a PDTS epitomizes the “speed-to-value” philosophy. These systems use standard data, developed through thousands of time and motion studies conducted during the 20th century, to reflect a predetermined time for an average worker, working at an average pace, and in an average environment to perform manual work tasks. The final result is a solid, engineered labor standard that will withstand subject matter expert scrutiny and provide value to the organization in many ways.PDTS are a WFM Best Practice
An advantage of the PDTS standard data concept is that a user does not have to build everything from scratch; no wheel reinvention required! Micro-level data, like obtaining a small object within reach, walking one step, bending at the waist, pushing a button, writing a word, etc. is used to build higher level data elements. These elements of work, such as opening a cardboard case with a box cutter, scanning a small item, removing shrink wrap from a pallet of cases, affixing a label to an object, transporting a pallet using a pallet jack or forklift, stocking a shelf or peg item, or removing & replacing a trash can liner can all be used over and over again in the application, bringing great speed and unmatched consistency to the labor standards process.Higher level work standards, like stocking one case of hard fruit, making and serving a deli sandwich, par-bake and stocking a dozen donuts, cutting, processing & wrapping cuts of meat, scanning and bagging items at the checkstand, tendering a credit card transaction, and mopping one sq.ft. of tile flooring are built, element-by-element within the system.

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Another advantage is speed of implementation, since only one properly performed sample is needed to be observed (through direct observation or from videotape), the standard can be developed rapidly. Unlike proper time study, the user does not have to pace “rate” the employee, removing much subjectivity, while consistently producing a more accurate standard than time study. Maintenance of the system is also accomplished swiftly, as updates and edits are quick and easy to perform. Learning the application is simple and easy, with a mere threeday training course to get up to speed. Oh, and you don’t have to be a degreed industrial engineer either; it’s not that complicated. On the technical side, the labor standards reside in a relational database, which can easily be linked to other systems or databases. Within the system itself, all of the detail, or “method steps”, are visible, which
provides simplicity when reviewing contents – a person can “see” everything that makes up the standard, thus it shows what is and what is not included.Leverage your investment via process improvements
In addition to these inherent advantages of a PDTS, the scrutiny of detail facilitates other uses – process review, evaluation & improvement, modeling of future processes (“what if”? analyses), easy-to-calculate ROI analyses – it is a predictive or proactive tool in this case. Whereas time study only covers what is actually seen during the study and it can only be done properly in an environment where the process has been previously perfected. PDTS measures the amount of time that should be used to perform a task, as opposed to the amount of time that is currently being used. Do you want to know what you do, or what you
should do?Some of today’s PDTS provide for the inclusion of work instructions or other written information which can be electronically linked or integrated within each standard and included in the onscreen display. Video clips of the task can also be integrated and attached to the corresponding standard if desired. Pie charts and “value-added” vs. “non-value-added” work analyses can be quickly performed and displayed in these systems.”Well, I’ve never heard of such a system!” you exclaim. “What’s wrong with the old fashioned time study approach?” If you’re talking about a bona fide time study that desires to be statistically valid, then you will need many sample measurements (100’s at times), making this a time consuming and costly approach (low speed, low tech, and low value). Time study only produces a total time for the process, losing much of the detailed method steps that make up the process itself. This hampers process improvement / best practices efforts. As for maintenance, many companies have found it difficult to maintain time study standards and keep them current. Often, a complete re-do of the standard is required as processes change. As previously mentioned, if the study is executed properly, “rating” of the operator is required, which is very subjective and increases the margin of error (labor unions tend to frown upon this). Furthermore, time study cannot be used proactively, as in developing forward-looking models or “what-if” analysis. It can only be done accurately after a process has been perfected; measuring “what was seen”, it cannot take into account an occurrence that may happen infrequently during a task. When a time studier claims “it’s all in there”, what they really mean is that “everything they saw is in there”. I have found that over time, companies lose track of what time study standards represent, what is included in them, and basically lose faith in them, resulting in loss of credibility in labor measurement.

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Of course, there is no magic bullet. A license fee is attached to a PDTS, but the overall cost to fully implement is less than a statistically valid time study approach. Customer service and sales labor needs cannot be measured with a PDTS, since a predetermined time for speaking, customer engagement / communication and selling effort does not exist. However, there are other “speed-to-value” methods for accurately and scientifically capturing this very important component of the labor model puzzle. That topic will be discussed in another paper!

Engaged? How To Develop Communication Skills and Engagement in Management and Staff

The events sector has been successfully creating platforms for businesses to share its’ vision and plans with audiences for decades now. It is clear that audiences are becoming more and more sophisticated; you cannot just impress them with creative stages and amazing lighting. If you need a return on your investment it is essential to engage your audience early, which is not always easy with information packed sessions and limited time frames. The more engaged the workforce is, the greater the impact on their motivation and ultimately the bottom line.The big question is, to what extent is your workforce engaged? Workforces that have a higher percentage of employees who feel engaged with the vision and direction of the business will outperform those who feel disengaged. Standard Chartered Bank, is one business who are striding ahead in this arena, they use measures of engagement and have found that there is a strong correlation between performance and engagement.Some studies show that less than 20% of staff are actively engaged at work, with over 40% actively disengaged, that leaves a big percentage of the workforce ready and waiting to be activated in the right way, so they are engaged to use their resources and deliver on the companies objectives.

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One of the main issues for poor staff engagement is unskilled and poor managers. Managers are now said to be ‘very weak’, nor just ‘weak’, in a studies done in the UK and States, notes John Shenton of HR Evaluate. Weak and unskilled managers cost business £220bn through misunderstanding, poor communication, personality clashes and lack of leadership!So how do you train your managers to ensure that they can engage, inspire and lead their teams? How do make sure the communication skills and strategies they use are effective across all levels?One way to motivate your staff for the long term is to make use of a skilled facilitator and trainer, who specialises in soft skills, motivation and communication strategies. If team leaders can use language that really “speaks” to team members they are much more likely to engage them – an objective outsider can more easily highlight and develop constructive language and communication patterns with your workforce for everyone’s benefit. Over the last 10 years PJ Stevens, of LEAP, has worked with businesses, teams and leaders to help them create positive and engaging communication strategies, through conference presentations, seminars, development workshops and coaching sessions.With conference presentations, you can reach hundreds of people with the same message with potentially huge impact. PJ has ‘a great stage presence and charisma, which is utterly infectious, you can’t help but get caught up in it’ said one satisfied company sales director. Givenchy were blown away when he presented at their last conference, but more importantly 9 months on the attendees are still using the Champion Behaviours from the conference speech. And one top UK agent says of PJ’s training and development, ‘We trust him with our best clients in the full knowledge that he will deliver results’.’If businesses are serious about building teams and being more successful a hands on approach will get the results you need’ note Emma Palfrey, Director of Penguins. She continues, ‘Running interactive workshops, including Ice-Breakers, Outstanding Teamwork, Leadership Development and Winning Relationships will give you the opportunity to explore the teams’ areas for development and skill them to take performance and productivity to the next level.’ To measure the improvement in key competencies such as communication, difference management, trust, motivation and leadership; An Even Better Place to Work website offers fabulous interactive measurements, activities and development tools.

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If you want to engage with your most valuable resource – people – and have them fully engaged with their roles, goals and responsibilities then engage the services of a professional (external) facilitator, presenter and trainer and measure the positive results for yourself. As with any training, development and teambuilding, measurement, quantifiable results and return on investment is becoming more and more important. Team building for fun is important, team development that supports people, performance and productivity is vital!

Entrepreneurial Management and Motviation

A quick explanation of EM2.EM2 is nothing more than the method that many successful entrepreneurs use to manage their people, and their business. It’s based on logic and experience. I as the author am a manager, and an entrepreneur. I’ve been managing people for fifteen years, and I’ve been a successful entrepreneur for more than ten. This book is not based on a study of thirty thousand managers, which then pulls information from all of them to arrive at a new theory of management that’s never been tested in the real world. This stuff works, and it works well.
The central theme of the book and the method is this; Identify your best people and keep them happy and productive. We refer to these people as HIHMs. Highly Intelligent, and/or Highly Motivated. We do this by rewarding them and giving them freedom and flexibility. If you accomplish nothing else make sure you take care of your top people.The reason we do this is to increase the bottom line.That is our ultimate goal.
Contrary to popular belief, we’re not here to build a team, make everyone feel good, or treat everyone the same. We’re here to make the owners and investors in this business a profit. The easiest way to do that is hire and retain the best people possible.
When we’ve stabilized and rewarded those at the top we make every effort to afford those in the middle the opportunity to join them.
With that accomplished we trim the fat at the bottom.Step 1; Define the peopleThe first step is to define our people. We want to know who is at the top, who is in the middle, and who is bringing up the rear. Create a simple list with three sections. Your top performs, average workers, and those that need help or need to be shown the door. After creating the list put it aside for a week and then re-evaluate. This will help to remove any emotion from the decision.
We start with those at the top in productivity and efficiency.
The highly intelligent workers
o Mastery of the job
o Ability to learn quickly
o Finding new ways of doing things
o Leading through the thought process
o Examples
o Programmer
o Accountant
o Engineer
o Attorney
o A Manager
o Technical support personNext we identify our highly motivated employees
Highly Motivated
o Always works hard
o But not workaholics.
o Does the job right
o Count on them in a pinch
o Customer First
o Trying to get promoted on merit not seniority
o Examples
o Customer service rep with excellent customer skills.
o Service provider to the end customer with great attitude (from plumber to consultant)
o Sales Person always meets or exceeds quota
o Field Technician customers love him.Do we have any employees who are highly motivated and highly intelligent?
Our average worker
o Does the work expected
o Doesn’t make many mistakes
o Shows up on time
o Doesn’t work much overtime
o Has a solid understanding of the job and decent mastery of skills required to perform.
o Complains only occasionally
Finally we take a look at the bottom.
o Makes a lot of mistakes
o Misses work
o Shows up late
o Not much initiative
o Constant complaining
o Resource hog (always needs more people and money to get the job done)
o Doesn’t get along with other employeesStep 2: Review your management processesConduct an honest and thorough review of what you’re doing and how well you’re doing it.
Measuring the success of the department
Before you can manage anything you have to be able to measure it. Do you really know how well you department is doing? Getting the job done and on time is only half the battle. You have to make a profit as well. Get a handle on your direct costs, and a solid picture of how much money your staff brings to the company. This isn’t always easy in big companies but hopefully you’ve got enough information to at least make a very solid estimate. An entrepreneur will only look at costs directly related to the specific department.You may have an associated overhead cost tied to your group that you really don’t have any control over, or any benefit from. Disregard this cost, especially if you aren’t responsible for pricing your product or service. A quick example would be another unrelated department perhaps implementing a new computer network. That cost should be tied directly to that department and not spread throughout the company.Review your hiring proceduresIf your department is filled with underachievers it may not be related to your day-to-day management capabilities as much as it is to your ability to find good people. Hire people who are honest about their skills, have a clear goal in mind when joining the company, and aren’t afraid to tell you what they want. If you employ a peer review when hiring don’t make it the sole determining factor. Balance it equally with your own instincts.Review your firing proceduresDo you pull the plug to quickly? Or are you like many other managers who keep someone around too long? Are there HIHMs in the group that should be fired? This can be the case if the person is disruptive to the point of decreasing everyone else’s productivity to the point of overrunning his own. If you have to fire a highly intelligent, highly motivated employee you must make sure you have given extraordinary effort to fixing the problem, and found a suitable replacement. Once the decision has been made it can take a year to actually make the move so that you can make sure company operations continue smoothly.

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Scheduling your peopleIt’s not just making sure you have all of the projects covered. You also need to make sure you have the right person on the right job. It’s also a good idea to move people to different projects to try and get a burst of productivity and keep them interested in their work. Scheduling time (as opposed to people) is a great way to allow your staff more freedom and flexibility. The due date is important, not the time or manner in which your employees get there. To avoid Chaos set specific target dates for each phase of the project and then check in on the progress. If the target dates are being met you know you’ve found an employee who is quite capable of scheduling his own time.MotivatingAre you doing anything now to further motivate your employees? If the answer is no, don’t worry many managers, if not most, never really think about it. Chapter seven covers entrepreneurial motivation styles, and we’ll touch on it later in this chapter. For right now just make a quick note of what you do or don’t do to motivate your employees. Then take a minute and ask yourself, “Is it really working to build this department in the long run?”You may be making the mistake of motivating only when you absolutely have to. If you’re behind schedule on a project you offer something to get everyone pumped up to get the project done on time. When that project is done, the reward has been paid and productivity drops back down to the previous level.Developing careersAre you working with your staff to determine their goals and objectives? Have you laid out any specific career paths for them? If so, are any of them attaining these objectives?Tracking progressDo you know if your department is making progress? How do you know if the department is getting better, getting worse, or stagnant?CompensationIs your staff paid at a fair value? Use tools like monster.com to find out if your salary structure is in line with similar positions in similar geographic areas. A high turnover problem may be related to pay out of line with what others are paying. You may be paying too much in a current economic condition and be able to replace higher paid, but lower productive people, with better people at a lower cost. This is another of those areas managers don’t want to acknowledge but it’s critically important to the ultimate success of your business. If your pay scale is low and you’re losing people, don’t bury your head in the sand and hope the problem goes away. It won’t.Just as important, you can’t be afraid to hold down or eliminate altogether a pay increase for an average, or below average employee who can be replaced at significantly less money. I know these are not fun decisions to make but if you don’t you’re going to stabilize growth, and then begin to slide. There is no way around this. There is nothing at all morally or ethically objectionable with this. In fact, the biggest sin is to let the company become unprofitable and put everyone’s job in jeopardy just to save a few people who aren’t carrying their share of the load in proportion to what they receive.Step 3; Develop and Test your new methods.What is your plan for the department?
Do you have a specific plan with goals and how to reach them for your entire department? I’m not referring just to yearly objectives but how you react in certain situations, Is a structure already in place if you get busy with other responsibilities of the small business? Have you defined people on your staff that you can rely on for information, or go to workers if something needs to be done in a crunch? In step 3 we’re going to develop our Small Business management plan.The fist thing we need to do is separate your employees into 3 groups using the information gathered in step 1.o The highly intelligent highly motivatedo The average workero The bottom of the barrel.If at all possible have someone from outside your team perform the same exercise on your staff. This may cause you to take a second look at someone you’ve placed in a particular position based more on emotion than logic.Pick one highly effective person from the top of the group and do these things.o Acknowledge the person as highly effective and let them know you value, and in fact need their input.o Ask the person on the top of the list what motivates them. This is a point blank question and must be phrased as such. Fishing, or leading here is a big mistake.o Ask them to write down a few ideas to make the group better. Not any formal approach, and aside from any company wide productivity plans or approaches.1. What do we do with these ideas?a. What ever motivates them most let’s address it. This may mean we’re giving out a raise or giving a little time off to someone who may have no vacation coming.o Set them free. Not just flex time. If you’ve just hired someone who has had three jobs in the last 5 years consider boredom as one of the top reasons they’ve moved so often. Allow them to move from project to project in as short a period of time as possible.
Set boundaries with the playing field but within those your staff makes the decisions not you.b. Examples of boundarieso Moneyo Time (get it done in this time frame)o Who works on the project with them?o Then try and remove or repair the situation that’s sapping the energy out of our top peopleo The service industry often requires employees to directly work with the customer. Sometimes the match doesn’t work. With good people we usually use the catchall phrase “personality conflict”. This may or may not be the case. The important thing to remember is that not every one of your employees will fit with every one of your customers. Nothing will drive a person away from your business faster than placing them in a situation they hate. It’s not going to do any good for your customer either.o We’ve obtained a lot of information now we need to put together a concrete plan. Executing the changes is even more important than figuring out what to do.2. The HIHM has hopefully bought into this approach and is going to be a partner in developing our philosophy.3. Those who are determined to be HIHMs are the future of the company. They protect your stock, and the company as a whole. Start developing leadership abilities in these people on day one. Without continuity execution of company strategy becomes much more difficult.4. We need to meet with him for a few minutes at least every week so that he can measure our progress.5. If he’s going off track or losing interest we may need to start evaluating HIHM number two.6. What am I going to give? What am I going to get? How will I measure my success?7. Environment changesa. Windows, chairs, cubiclesb. People he/she works withc. Hours of work ( 10 hours a day is 10 hours)8. Tools to get the job done.a. New computerb. More staff?c. TrainingStep 4;Take actionWhen you’ve defined your people according to their level of ability and motivation, reviewed your current processes, developed a plan for helping your staff advance their careers, and developed a simple operating plan for your department you’re ready to take specific steps to manage your people much more effectively, and increase your bottom line. At the end of this chapter are several ready to use forms to get you started quickly. A big part of taking action is measuring the results of those actions. When you make a change measure frequently at the start, then diminish to perhaps quarterly, and ultimately yearly if at all. An example of this is in your scheduling changes. When you allow your top people to schedule their own time you may want to track progress weekly for the first month or two. If all is going well you only need to review every month or so to make sure long-term projects are staying on track. If you’re satisfied after six months to a year that the employee is able to successfully schedule his own time, you don’t need to waste your valuable time checking on them.Step 4; Manage the entire departmentThroughout the process we’ve focused most of our energy on managing those at the top of the department. All that we’ve really done for the rest of the group is define them as average or below average. As an entrepreneur, my goal is to have an entire company filled with HIHMs. But I know that’s not realistic. I still have to manage the average worker, and the business itself. Projects must be managed, leaders developed, and the political rules inside your organization still have to be dealt with.
The Entrepreneur doesn’t completely disregard the rest of his workforce even though he’s giving special attention to a select few. When we begin to give special treatment to the top tier of the group what happens to everyone else? We’ve touched on this somewhat in previous chapters, but now we need to take a more in depth look of how we’re going to manage the exceptional people and how we’re going to deal with everyone else.Managing the exceptional people inside the group.o It’s OK to play favorites. We’ve made conscious decision to treat these top performers differently.o How do you define an effective leader? Their willing to make decisions. Grant this power.o Stick to your decisions and plans outlined in Step 3. Feelings will get hurt and egos bruised. That’s ok, we’re going to give everyone a fair chance to reap the same rewards.
How do you manage the rest of the team as they relate to the highly efficient members of the team?o As word gets out that top people are receiving top treatment you need to let the middle of the road people know they’re very close to the top. Some are lacking the skills needed to get to the next level, and we’re going to help them attain those skills.o We need to let the bottom of the pack know that they’re not pulling their weight. Be honest with them and tell them if things don’t improve a change will have to be made. Too many managers spend too much time on these people. Lay out your expectations, and tell them you want them met now. The only motivation necessary for these people is a kick in the pants, and the threat of losing their job. If that doesn’t work nothing else will so why waste your time? We can expend more energy on them when they at least get to the middle of the pack.

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o How do we get the middle to the top? If you’re thinking motivation you’ve got the cart before the horse. You may not be dealing with a problem of motivation. Make sure the person has the skills to do the job and the proper direction. As you fine tune your management skills you’ll discover that you need to spend less time with the top people, because they have been given the freedom and flexibility to manage their own projects to a very large extent. You’ll spend less time managing the bottom of the barrel, because you’ve told them what to do and when you expect it. If they don’t start producing we just show them the door. That should free up time to focus on greatly increasing profit and productivity by upgrading a few of those average workers to HIHMs.o Get your staff to help with marketing and sales. Without these two key elements it doesn’t matter how good our product or service is. No one will know about it. A really great manager gets his department moving in the direction of growth at all times. If it’s at all possible this should be an important piece of your overall management strategy.o Take care of any red tape you can for all of your staff. It may be putting time sheets on the web so they’re easier to fill out, or putting in requests to human resources for them. But find a way to keep the bureaucracy to a minimum.Step 5: Entrepreneurial MotivationAs a manager is it really your job to motivate? The straight answer is no. I see far too many companies that turn the job of manager into motivational carnival barker. We are supposed to be managing adults who have chosen their own careers. If they are even average employees they should have an internal sense of motivation just to do the job. Giving your top producing computer programmer or customer service rep a wooden nickel for $10 off of company merchandise is not motivation, it’s a carnival contest. And I think for many employees it’s more demeaning than it is motivating.
Real motivation is simply setting goals and establishing rewards when the goals are met.There is of course negative motivation, which we’ve already dealt with for our employees at the bottom. You produce or we fire.
The motivation we’re concerned with starts at the top. We reward our very productive HIHMs based on one thing and one thing only. We give them what they want. You can’t really do that with a company wide motivational program, because everyone wants something a little different. In my experience most employees want either money or time. But there are some who want a fast track promotion, training outside their traditional skill set, or sundry other rewards for performing above and beyond the call of duty.Motivating an employee effectively really only takes on thing. You have to listen.What does the employee want? What do we need him to do? Is what we need him to do worth the reward?
Over the last couple of years I’ve seen a new trend emerging. While on the surface it looks great, there is one big hidden problem. I’m talking about turning everything into a reward. All of the employees make a relatively low salary. They are then given bonuses every month or so based on their performance. This is one area where I diverge from an entrepreneurial approach. I’ve only seen this take place at small companies. The problem with the approach is there is never a reward based on some level of security. If you have fifty great months and then get sick, or have a personal problem that is a distraction for a month or two you pay a heavy price. Even if the situation is not your fault, sales may be down for a few months for some reason, you effectively take a pay cut until things pick up. Because of this I’d be very careful with this type of approach. If your company is going through a short period where things are tough, you don’t want to make it worse by losing good people.SummaryThis is a quick outline more than a comprehensive approach. It’s not meant to be enough to turn your entire management career around, but it is a good start. You have to do the hard work, keep your mind focused, and ask questions from people who’ve been there and done it. If you want to boil it down even further I’ll do that as well.
The key to EM2 and very successful business is this.o Take care of your best people first.o Constantly strive to increase the productivity of those in the middle of the pack.o Get rid of those at the bottom.o Understand the numbers of your department.o Help out with sales and marketing if at all possibleo Enjoy your life, you might get hit by a bus tomorrow.

Josiah Wedgwood – The Manager and Entrepreneur

Most of us have our favorites; be they sporting heroes, politicians, film stars, chefs, and so on. It’s as if our selection of a particular person reflects positively on us-our perspicuity, insightfulness, and plain good taste. In the world of management, for example, we’ve had our flavors-of-the-moment. At one stage it was ‘the celebrity CEO’ (until we realized that they, too, were fallible). We even tried to uncover leadership lessons from figures as diverse as Chief Sitting Bull, Attila the Hun, ‘Stormin’ Norman What’sHisName, and Winnie the Pooh.Amid all this exploration it is inevitable that some people deserving of recognition and their moments in the sun go unnoticed. One such person is Josiah Wedgwood (1730-1795)-master potter, founder of the Wedgwood Company, and grandfather of Charles Darwin.Wedgwood employed work practices and introduced innovations hundred years before they became accepted parts of everyday organizational life. And in the process, he grew his 20-pound inheritance into 500,000 pounds.Here are 10 of Wedgwood’s qualities that have contributed to management as it now practiced. [1] He embraced change
The Industrial Revolution brought with it enormous social, industrial, and economic changes. In the early 18th Century, pottery had been functional, mainly crude vessels for storing and carrying. The pottery industry was dirty and squalid, and its people and work practices coarse and primitive: the industry was ripe for change. Wedgwood embraced many of the changes influencing the ways that his products were made and sold: craftsmanship, designs, processes, and innovation flourished.The size and sophistication of the market developed throughout the 18th Century. Industrial wages were paid creating increased sources of wealth and disposable incomes. Stylish table accessories were in huge demand in the burgeoning industrial cities and increasingly wealthy colonies. The imbibing of tea and coffee joined the traditional pastime of beer drinking as a national characteristic.The Industrial Revolution brought with it the opportunity for the pottery industry to replace traditional water-driven mills and windmills with coal-fired steam engines. In 1782 Wedgwood bought one of James Watt’s steam engines. The rest of the industry was quick to follow his lead.Wedgwood moved in liberal reformer society, too. He applied the principles of the division of labor espoused by his contemporary Adam Smith. He was an avid reader of Paine and Rousseau. He supported the American War of Independence and was an ardent member of the Anti-Slavery Committee. He built and maintained productive relationships
Today, Wedgwood would be described as a ‘Renaissance Man’. He was a master networker and collaborator. He valued and nurtured friendships and personal connections, many of whom possessed quite diverse interests. For example, he collaborated with leaders in the Arts and Scientific communities towards even better designs for his products. His friend and business partner, Thomas Bentley, expertly read social trends that enabled Wedgwood to produce fine things that were in demand. The marketplace was amazed at how Wedgwood was able to read and respond to social trends that ultimately resulted in increased sales.

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His collaborating with leaders in their fields at the time, enabled Wedgwood to replace (with confidence) the drab, coarse, and everyday with a huge range of beautiful and affordable products. He worked also with fellow Staffordshire potters to solve common technical problems. In 1775, for example, he initiated what was probably the world’s first collaborative industrial research project. He practiced MBWA
The term Management-By-Walking-Around (MBWA), borrowed from Hewlett-Packard and enshrined by Tom Peters and Bob Watermanin in the first business bestseller In Search of Excellence , was practiced by Josiah Wedgwood almost two hundred years earlier. Wedgwood believed in and practiced being visible to his workers-mentoring and coaching rather than ‘snoopervising’. His practice of MBWA enabled him to produce a highly detailed ‘Potters Instructions’ developed from over the 30 years of his on-the-job experiences.An initial drawback was a weakened knee-a leftover of childhood smallpox. When the knee began to hamper his ability to walk around the factory, Wedgwood decided to have his leg amputated. With that inconvenience dealt with, he strapped on a wooden leg and continued his practice of MBWA. He insisted on WH&S
Wedgwood was conscious of health and safety, especially to the ever-present dangers of lead poisoning. He insisted on proper cleaning methods, work attire, and washing facilities. Substance abuse was not tolerated. He instituted a complete ban on drinking alcohol. Punctuality was demanded. Constant attendance was encouraged. Fixed hours and a primitive check-in system were introduced. Wedgwood was scrupulous about cleanliness and avoiding waste. Workers were heavily fined for leaving scraps of material around. He led by example
Wedgwood began work as a potter aged 11 (his father died when Josiah was 9 leaving him the youngest of 13 children). He knew all of the ‘tricks-of-the-trade’. His ‘Potters Instructions’ covered detailed explanations of every process to be undertaken and every trick used by the workforce to cut corners.Wedgwood was hard working, driven, demanding, intellectually curious questioning established practices, and always on the lookout for better ways of dong things. He was highly ambitious and fastidious about quality doing everything exceptionally well. And he expected the same from his workers.Wedgwood’s persistence is legendary. His favorite motto was ‘everything yields to experiment’. Even though Edison’s efforts in perfecting the light bulb is familiar to most people (although the number of failed attempts is open to conjecture), Wedgwood’s persistence almost one hundred years earlier in producing Jasper have gone largely unrecognized. After more than 5,000 recorded experiments, Wedgwood (1775) produced Jasper, a product described as one of the most significant innovations since the Chinese invention of porcelain nearly 1,000 years earlier. He pioneered productive work practices
When Wedgwood founded his main factory (Etruria), he set out to industrialize what was a peasant industry. He applied the principles of the Adam Smith’s division of labor by involving specialists concentrated on one specific element of the production process resulting in enhanced efficiency. Training and skill development were important features of this process. In 1790, nearly one-quarter of his workforce were apprentices, many of them female.The factory system at the time had no tradition of foremen, clerks, or managers to exert discipline. In a precursor to what was to become Scientific Management in the early 20th Century, he produced highly detailed ‘Potters Instructions’ based on the regulations and rules he had developed over the 30 years of his experiences.. They covered detailed explanations of every process to be undertaken, every trick used by the workforce to cut corners, and instructions on how to reward high performers and reprimand poor ones.Through their flexibility, the Wedgwood factories were able to produce short runs of highly varied goods, quickly changing color, fashion, style, and price as the market dictated. His production system minimized proprietary risk, reduced fixed costs, and maximized input from skilled labor. He was fastidious about quality
Wedgwood was a visionary: he wanted to leave the world a better place as a result of his contributions. One of his boasts was that he ‘made artists out of mere men’. To that end (and others, of course), he was famously intolerant of poor quality. He would prowl the factory smashing substandard pots and writing in chalk on offending workbenches, ‘this will not do for Josiah Wedgwood’. Workers were fined for breaches of his demand for quality.He was, however, committed to training his workers and providing them with the best quality raw materials. He supported an apprenticeship system, he invested in education, health, diet, and housing of his employees. In what today would be called ‘global sourcing’, he purchased clay from America in a deal struck with the Cherokee nation, from Canton in China, and from Sydney Cove through his contact with Joseph Banks. He used marketing to create demand and increase sales
Wedgwood provided the pièce de résistance of marketing to a world where ‘take-it-or-leave-it’ was the operative. He opened new showrooms in London and allowed customers’ comments to inform design and production. He introduced self-service, catalogue-selling, pattern books, free carriage of goods, money-back guarantees, regular sales, all aiming in Wedgwood’s words ‘to amuse, and divert, and please, and astonish, and even to ravish the ladies’.

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He assiduously sought patronage from aristocrats and politicians and exploited their orders as testimonials are used today. When Queen Charlotte, wife of George III, ordered a tea service in 1776, he trumpeted the royal endorsement on his letterhead, in his showroom, and in his advertising. Calling his cream colored line, ‘Queen’s Ware’, he excited the aspirations of its users. For the privilege, he charged premium prices, compared to those of his competitors, for those wishing to eat off plates fit for a Queen. On another occasion, he made a 932-piece service for Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia. People (including royalty) cued outside his London store to see the sensation. He chose open innovation over intellectual property
Wedgwood was inspired by the work of others and, to that end, he was flattered by others copying his work. He was less concerned about maintaining intellectual capital that he was about contributing to the development and enhancement of relationships, as this example illustrates.One of the perennial challenges of making ceramics was measuring high temperatures in kilns in order to control the production process. Wedgwood invented a pyrometer, or thermometer, that recorded these temperatures. In true Wedgwood fashion, he did not try to retain the technology for himself. He also provided fellow scientists with specially designed experimental apparatus. He was the master of logistics and infrastructure
No stone was left unturned by Wedgwood in his pursuit of excellence in product and sales. He devoted enormous amounts of time and money to improving communications and transportation, especially with the ports that brought him raw materials and provided his routes to market. He promoted the development of turnpike roads and was treasurer of the construction of the Grand Trunk Canal, an extraordinary engineering feat 93 miles long, linking Staffordshire with the ports of Liverpool in the West and Hull in the East. It is estimated that following the completion of the canal, freight rates reduced by ninety percent.1. Ockham’s Razor, Radio National, Australia: ‘An innovator for the ages’, 14 December 2008, presented by Professor Mark Dodgson, Director of the Technology and Innovation Management Centre at the University of Queensland, Australia.

The Fundamentals of Workforce Management Solutions

Workforce management solutions can be considered as the procedure that is used by employers to manage the schedules and operations of their staff, this is necessary for the business to run effectively and to maximize the production level. While management software are mainly geared towards scheduling, they are also used for many other forms of staff optimization.When a company employs several staff, the only way to effectively monitor staff productivity is through the use of workforce management solutions, to include management software.An example of workforce management software would be Field service management. As the name suggests, this software manages the efficiencies of the field technicians as they visit the company’s customers. It is also meant to monitor whether each technician’s vehicle is adequately stocked.

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Across a variety of industries management solutions assesses whether or not an individual is suitably qualified for a specific job. Management solutions are not only used in large organizations as the system is also effective in managing staff of small businesses. Management solutions is just as useful to small companies in handling employees as they are for larger companies. Also, management software is equipped for the following actions: allowing staff to at times set their own work hours, and enables management to monitor levels of work output from each employee.Though in its embryonic stage, more and more companies have sought to custom create management software for their businesses.Making use of a software remedy for pressure inured workforce management, The operators of these business can certainly improve staffing by designing and managing the scheduling of activities that continually adapt as close as attainable to the actual expectation. Concurrently, Workforce management solutions enables users to adhere to and work with all relevant laws, inside agreements and the contracts of each employee, which includes time at work and time at home level standards. An essential element of managing workforce is scheduling. This is gained by confirming probable need by weighing historical data composing of the quantity and duration of client contacts, sales figures, other operations or purchases to be managed. Several workforce management software additionally supply manual adjustment functions. The determined envisage values are then transformed into precise staffing needs due to the analysis and strategising of the data that is received from the software based on monitoring.

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Staffing requirement for now and the future, times when more work is to be done because of peak hours, the availability of staff to be scheduled and quite a few other factors such as payroll and performance monitoring, and also salary and agreement terms can be integrated into the arrangement and formulation of your workforce management software to ensure that the array of your workforce is of prime value.

Effective Leading, Managing and Supervising – What It Takes

If you search for “effective leadership” on the Internet, you come upon 1,680,000 hits. “Effective management” produces a list of 4,060,000 sites and “effective supervision” points to 237,0000 references. Amazon lists over 10,000 books on leadership, managing and supervising. One would think that most organizational leaders, managers and supervisors would have, by now, internalized enough information about effective leadership, management and supervision to take their rightful place in the Great Leaders, Managers and Supervisors Hall of Fame. Unfortunately, this is not the case.In spite of the wealth of information, many leaders, managers and supervisors are challenged when it comes to a clear understanding of what it is that defines high performance.Businesses, groups and organizations spend billions of dollars every year on education, training and development for leaders, managers and supervisors often with less-than-expected appreciable outcomes. There’s certainly no dearth of training and development programs, workshops, seminars, and courses. The reality is that so many of these efforts are too involved, too complex, too unwieldy or far too simple to create any positive, practical and long-lasting change or transformation.So, the question remains: “What in fact works when it comes to developing high performance leaders managers and supervisors?”In my coaching experiences over the years, I’ve found five qualities that characterize high performance leaders, managers and supervisors. These qualities most often permeate the workplace context and culture regardless of whatever the company, organization or group is focused on: quality improvement, customer service, client relations, teamwork, process improvement, etc.

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These five qualities are: Focus, Authenticity, Courage, Empathy and TimingFocusHigh performance leaders, managers and supervisors focus on outcomes and results. Outcomes are the beacons which guide their efforts and support them to stay on track. High performance leaders, managers and supervisors communicate their focus on outcomes by proactively adhering to, and living, the company, organizational or group values which are also included in their mission and vision statements. This focus on outcomes drives high performance leaders, manages and supervisors to ensure their workforce has the appropriate knowledge, skills and tools to move the organization in the direction of realized outcomes. Focus on outcomes allows high performance leaders, managers and supervisors to be resilient, responsible, change-oriented, and creative as opposed to being chained to unrealistic and unreasonable rules, regulations, and needless bureaucratic, control-oriented, policies, processes and procedures.AuthenticityAuthenticity is “showing up” as one’s true and real self, as one really is, in integrity, vulnerable, not as an imposter, not wearing masks. Authentic high performance leaders, managers and supervisors are magnetic; they attract followers who want to follow, followers who know what to expect and who are supportive, reliable and dependable in good times and in not-so-good times. Authentic leaders, managers and supervisors create a culture of openness, transparency and trust. They are open, honest and direct. And a culture of openness, honesty and trust is what creates buy-in from stakeholders.CourageLeaders, managers and supervisors today are consistently challenged by their teams, clients, customers, the public, the media and other stakeholders. Often, what’s required to face and overcome challenge is intestinal fortitude, self-discipline and courage. Courage means standing tall, firm and strong in the face of confrontation, challenge and conflict. Courage also means being able to admit one’s missteps and mistakes. Courage means both making, and acting on, decisions rather than merely paying lip service to visions, ideas and plans. Courage means being demanding of others, expecting others to tell the truth and expecting others to work in integrity.EmpathyEmpathy is the ability to feel what another person is feeling, and why. It is the ability to recognize the emotions in others and to “feel with someone.” Empathic leaders, managers and supervisors are powerful listeners; they listen for understanding. They listen “at level three” above the words and even above the meaning of the words, to the feelings between and underneath the words. They care about someone “as a person.” Empathic leaders, managers and supervisors facilitate teamwork, motivate others and serve as inspirational role models for others. Empathic leaders, managers and supervisors listen to the ideas of others, and proactively acknowledge and reward others for their ideas, input and contributions.TimingIn today’s fast-paced environment, time is of the essence. With change happening at lightning speed, the timing of decisions (both making and not making decisions) is critical to the success or failure of business. None of the four qualities mentioned will lead to high performance leadership, managing or supervising, if poor decision-making is sabotaging the organization. High performance leaders, managers and supervisors are consciously conscious of when and how to act. They have their finger on the “pulse of the clock” and know when to act, when to wait, and when to defer. They know not only how to plan, organize, prioritize and execute but, more importantly, when.

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So, some $10 food for thought questions are:· On a scale of 1-10, how focused am I?· Do I walk our mission-vision-values talk?· Do I inspire others? How do I know?· Do I support others to focus? How so?· Do I perpetuate needless and outdated bureaucracies, processes, policies and procedures?· Do people see me as being authentic? How do I know. How do I feel about asking my colleagues if they perceive me as being authentic? If not, what’s my resistance all about?· Am I the same person at work as I am when I’m standing naked in my bedroom at 4:00 in the morning when no one can see me? Am I really two different people? Do I wear masks? If so, why?· Do I live the courage of my convictions? Do I wilt under criticism?· How do I act when I’m wrong and I know it?· On a scale of 1-10, how empathic am I? Would others agree with me?· Do I “listen to” or “hear” others? Do I know the difference?· Do I promote a sense of community and inclusiveness in my workplace?· Do I foster open and honest dialogue? If not, why not?· Do I make and execute decisions in a timely manner?· Am I creating a culture of high performance?· How do I feel after asking myself these questions? Did I have the courage to answer honestly, sincerely and self-responsibly?