The afternoon topics of the event will be covered in this issue. Starting off was Regina Gramola of NYCT-CPM, last year’s host, who introduced a job order cost team. The significant point was how a team of five workers defined the linkages of thirteen activities of a key work process and prioritized them in a sequence that began generating a return within two months of their initial efforts of $109k. The team plans to use the improvements of their first success in their second project that they expect to be even larger. With the skills and tools they have learned in PITT, resulting in the trust of communication between the team and executive management, the team leader is now able to streamline the overall job order cost process, saving the organization a significant amount of money, while reducing the time to execute a contract through the process..
Is cleaning a hotel room a process, an activity or a task? Does it make a difference to the supervisor or the housekeeper if it is one or the other? Does anyone really care? Candy Jones, General Manager for Holiday Inn, was faced with the challenge of increasing the productivity of the housekeeping staff so that they could clean rooms faster and individuals could clean more rooms. A team of housekeepers was assembled with their supervisor, as well as Candy, to look at how were the rooms being cleaned. The first question that I asked all of them was, “Is cleaning a room a process, an activity or a task?” I also raised this question to the audience at the Benchmarking Session. What we can agree on is that no one agreed. The real question is, does it matter how the management team and the workers viewed this piece of the work? How we think and talk about a piece of work that we do is significant. Whether it is a process (big picture), an activity (a section of the picture) or a task (the details of the picture) makes a significant difference in how people will view their work. When Candy’s team came to a consensus on this as it applied to cleaning the rooms, productivity increased significantly. The issues between management and workers were more clearly defined and they were better able to work together as a team.
Marshall Tarley, Director of Leadership Development for the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) did an excellent job presenting some of the fundamental principles of Mind Mapping and how he has used them for his leadership development program. Communication, teamwork and creativity of organizational teams has improved drastically. Marshall is doing some groundbreaking work in trying to bring critical thinking skills to ASCAP by tapping into the workforce’s natural creativity using their skills and knowledge to create better ways of doing business. He is enabling his workers to feel self-confident in initiating actions to implement change and they are finally feeling empowered to be accountable for the results of implementing these and producing a bottom line result. Notable to mention is that Marshall has worked out a licensing agreement with DCG so that he can teach the PITT skills to a larger audience of ASCAP employees with minimal dependency on outside consulting.
Tony Buzan, the world’s leading speaker on intellectual capital, provided a few significant lessons on the importance of linking memory and repetition. He emphasized how critical this is to leaders that are trying to make changes in their work cultures.
- Lesson 1: The importance of repeating a message that you’re giving.
- Lesson 2: In speaking with someone that you want to remember your goals, make sure that there are associations that are relevant to their life experience to get full comprehension and buy-in into achieving them.
- Lesson 3: Ensure that it stimulates some level of their imagination so that it sparks it. Make them see a benefit to themselves and create enthusiasm for what the benefits / results will be.
Tony demonstrated these points when he successfully predicted the results of a test that he gave to the 70+ participants with complete accuracy. He then followed this with an explanation as to the science of why he is able to predict with such accuracy. Obviously the message to the audience was clear … if knowing some of these points could help predict the results ahead of time, wouldn’t it be advantageous to utilize this information when trying to manage or lead change at the workplace? Tony’s closing comments were glowing praise to the presenters of the day and why the work they were doing was so pragmatic and related to the need of sustaining a change to an organization.
Mary Jane summarized the day’s events by highlighting key points and lessons learned. She describes PITT as a meteor of change. ConEd spun off a generation of employee challenges, deregulation and demographics. “PITT helps us to bring our management and employees together, to use their skills to improve efficiency and safety for our operations. I have been to lots of PITT workshops, each with a new insight. The workshop provides teams with the necessary tools and resources to face the challenges of change.”
What caught the attention of the attendees was Mary Jane’s description of her commitment and involvement with the Gas PITT Teams. She has them scheduled to review their results with her every six weeks and both Vice Presidents and General Managers are included in the audience. The teams have the skills and ability to communicate in such a focused way that she always learns something useful that helps her to be more effective in doing her job. One of the greatest results of PITT in ConEd is the communication …. people are talking and listening to each other.
The general feeling of the benchmarking attendees: every company dreams of having enthused, motivated and creative employees having fun at what they do. Can it happen? Where’s the evidence that you’re doing it? STOP has become the key word for many of the attendees and because of it, there will certainly be some new faces making presentations at next year’s event!‡
Tony Dottino, President, DCG
“The presenters’ application of learned principles to their daily work activities providing extraordinary results while impacting the bottom line was amazing enough, but their accompanying enthusiasm and insights far surpassed anything I’ve experienced in my thirty years of corporate life!”
Evelyn Walker, Human Resources Manager, I.B.M.