A Message for Management: Keep Taking the Temperature

Norb Slowikowski / September 2018

No matter where you are, you’re never there!

If you rule with an iron fist where the only voices for change are at the top, you need to transition to an adaptive organization. This is a common-sense approach of envisioning the company’s future by creating an Action Plan for continuous improvement that focuses on four key factors: leadership, the customer, people and innovation
The enduring organization adapts to change every day. Following are the building blocks you need to transition into a more fluid workplace at every level of the job.

Building Blocks
Lay the foundation. Formulate a mission, vision and values that will never be compromised.
Establish a teamwork system.
Implement key job controls for each phase of the construction process.
Strive for excellence in everything you do.
Take the temperature. Initiate and implement a strategic planning method that continuously evaluates how the company is doing. The method should incorporate the following:

  • Strengths: What do you do better than anyone else? What is your company brand?
  • Weaknesses: What puts you at a disadvantage in the marketplace?
  • Opportunity: Be ready to take on projects that will increase profits.
  • Threats: Keep checking the environment. What are the external factors that could create trouble for building your business?

Envision the future. When you are managing and leading, you expect your people to do their best every day. You want them to operate at a peak performance level. Management must answer this question: What do we want to become? Once you identify the answer, engage your people to develop a continuous improvement action plan that makes your vision come alive.
Create a team organization. Develop your people with training and education.
Make sure the entire company team has a conceptual understanding of the organization.
Let your team know that it is OK to take risks, to experiment with the team processes and practices—innovation is a good thing.
All team members, from top to bottom, must commit to making the team organizational model come alive. Everyone is a part of making the company succeed as a whole.

Leader Behaviors
The following “leader behaviors” should be incorporated by people in management positions to make the team system come alive at all levels of the company:
Envision. To allow for these ideas to become reality, the leaders of the company have a daunting challenge to make it all work. Don’t get bogged down by challenging the status quo. If you can envision a more productive and fulfilling way to work together, then do it!
Unite. Leaders need to work with their people on the level that allows for team members to see how shared rewards come about when everyone works together. Working as a team helps individuals meet needs to achieve something as well as the chance to belong to something larger than themselves.
Empower. Successful leaders “walk the walk” as well as “talk the talk.” In working with your people, you need to foster innovation and learning. Everyone can always improve their skills in leadership, teamwork and managing conflict.
Explore. There is no script or recipe to become an outstanding team organization. The most practical forums of discussion must be allowed so that your people feel comfortable in coming forward to allow for optimal solutions that are optimal for your team.
Reflect. Constructing the team organization is a journey, not a destination. It requires ongoing attention in which people continually upgrade and improve themselves. Leaders need to encourage people to persist in overcoming old habits and develop new skills and ways to work more effectively.
In closing, know that using adaptive skills to transform your company requires courage, heart, taking risks and continuous improvement. Keep challenging the status quo, never give up, and always strive to give your people the best of what you have to offer.

Norb Slowikowski is president of Slowikowski & Associates, Inc., Darien, Ill. To contact him, email norbslow2@gmail.com.