Flashback- Another Rummler Ripple Hit My Shoreline – a 1990s Mashup of sorts

This American Thanksgiving Season I wish to thank all in my fields of “ISD – Instructional Systems Design” and “HPT – Human Performance Technology” who SHARE. Thanks to you all!!!

Probably the one person who has had the greatest influence on my professional work – and others who have influenced me – is Geary A. Rummler, CPT, Ph.D of the Performance Design Lab.

My association with Dr. Rummler started at Wickes Lumber in Saginaw Michigan in 1979 in my first post-college job in the Training Services Department.

Geary’s brother-in-law, Roger worked there in the A/V group of the department – and he was instrumental in bringing in a new manager for the instructional development group based on Geary’s and Geary’s brother Rick’s recommendation. Karen Kennedy worked at Blue Cross Blue Shield in Detroit where Rick Rummler worked. Karen brought in Gail Tornga from “the Blues” and was “given me” by the VP of HR. I had spent 2.5 years in the field at one of the Do-It-Yourself — DIY Lumber Centers in Lawrence KS as a part-time counter sales person while getting my degree in Radio-TV-Film. There we practiced a derivative (of a derivative?) of the Praxis stuff, a firm headed by Geary Rummler and Tom Gilbert in the 1970s.

Then I went to work at Motorola’s Training & Education Center (MTEC) that later became Motorola University. There I worked as one of the original 13 Training Project Supervisors at the new corporate training function – it had been disbanded and decentralized to the Business Sectors 10 years early – but the recent pressure from Japan’s rivals in the world of electronics had caused the CEO, Bob Galvin, to rethink that approach.

I had Geary as “my consultant” on several projects – I temporarily direct-reported to Bill Wiggenhorn for 9 months and headed the efforts for all Manufacturing/Materials and Purchasing T&D – performance-based T&D – coming from HQ. Carol Panza was working with Geary at that time and she was on most of those projects too.

At MTEC I was being exposed to and worked with both Rummler and Neil Rackham (of SPIN fame) and the world-wide quality movement gurus’ work from Deming and Juran (to name but two).

I wrote and published and disseminated an un-requested “White Paper” entitled: Participative Management of the Performance System, in May 1982 where I suggested that we undertake an effort to combine the Rummler-stuff and the Rackham stuff and all of the quality stuff. Motorola was really into “Participative Management” as an approach to get good ideas and real feedback from the frontline troops to the top level executives. As well as higher levels of effort – when working smarter. As might be expected, it wasn’t fully embraced enthusiastically by most long-term Motorolans of any management level.

I had recently gotten a boss, a 20-year Manufacturing veteran of Motorola, Paul Heidenreich. Paul took my White paper and came up with an idea that we began working on with Bill Wiggenhorn and Geary Rummler, something Paul called the D-I-Y Geary Rummler Consulting Kit. We could practice what Rummler preached and minimize our expense – and we really couldn’t spread Geary around enough to all of our pressing projects. So the thought was – teach everyone to be a junior Geary Rummler. It was a subset of my White Paper idea.

In the middle of that DIY-Rummler Consulting Kit effort, to the surprise of many, I left Motorola after 18 months, to join Ray Svenson and my wife (at the time) Karen Kennedy at R. A. Svenson & Associates. But the effort at Motorola continued. It became a course OPS (I think). That morphed into an “Action Learning” meeting effort – as many Motorolan’s were tired of “courses” – and that morphed again.

Geary’s current business partner, Alan Ramius, also one of those original 13 Training Project Supervisors with me at MTEC wrote about the efforts as it continued and merged with other disciplines/tools in his article: The Mists of Six Sigma. Many things have been written about the development of Six Sigma. This adds to the complex story of how the Motorola effort actually unfolded.

Geary A. Rummler…

Geary’s 1990 book, coauthored with his business partner at the time- Alan P. Brache: Improving Performance is a classic for those wanting to improve performance at the organization, process and individual levels.

In 1994 the 3 partners at SWI – Svenson & Wallace Inc. wrote our book: The Quality Roadmap (currently out of print) where we proposed a derivative of some of Geary’s thought about processes in his book.

That became what I now call the L-C-S Model – a WBS (Work Breakdown Structure) approach for looking at common/shared and unique processes up and down an organization. More on that later.

In my 3rd book T&D Systems View I used the Clockface Model that I had been playing with – a way to turn the L-C-S Model, which I really liked and used in my consulting gigs, into a visual tool with my clients and the Master Performers that I had asked for of my Project Steering Teams in my project efforts for our clients at SWI.

I did it for the “center space” of the Clockface – more on that later too.

On the cover of my 4th book “Management Areas of Performance” I went back to the L-C-S model to depict how one might first start to do a WBS for management responsibilities which I call “Areas of Performance” -with the “fourth” tier of the process that any manager’s department staff works in – that are both owned and/or supported (not owned) by that manager. As in – when a department’s people work on some other cross-functional process that their department does not own.

The Ishikawa Diagram, from the 1950s, is key to my thinking about Process Improvement, but I found it limiting as anything more than a graphic for initial dialogue with clients and staff.

I needed something to demonstrate more of the complexity and the scalability for this evolving concept of getting a handle on the complexity of processes.

This next graphic wasn’t it. This graphic was intended to convey the thought of: Processes and Outputs as Inputs.

This next graphic wasn’t it either – but is an updated view of the prior graphic.

This graphic was intended to convey some initial thoughts about process complexity in the real world.

This next graphic is my “big picture view” of Enterprise Process Performance ImprovementEPPI.

One must look at 1- the Process Design itself (or processes themselves), and then 2- at the Human Assets that enable the processes – or don’t enable, and 3- the Environmental Assets that also enable or don’t. It takes all three to be as right as needed – and not necessarily “perfect/Six Sigma” either – just close enough. Another three-legged stool to keep in balance.

The smart thing to do is first focus on the Process. Is it “even” designed in the first place (tight enough and loose enough) to meet the balanced requirements of its STAKEHOLDERS – where the customer is of course important – but the Customer Isn’t King.

The above graphic is but “one version” of a Stakeholder Hierarchy.

Do your own. It’s probably different!

With this approach one can start wherever in the big Enterprise that it makes sense to start – from a ROI – Risk/Reward perspective.

And to start a look at any department (or higher level function or lower level teams) using the L-C-S with the 4th tier of the specific CORE processes of that entity (function/department/team – whatever).

I needed a way to tease out both the common and unique processes/AoPs. Especially those that are owned outside of the organizational entity we were focused on in our efforts.

Again, I would then, as needed – not every effort required this – turn the L-C-S model into a Clockface Model. To discuss intra-process things or inter-process things.

Here is a simple framework for looking intra…at Outputs as Inputs…or an Output as Inputs…

Here is a more complex view of an L-C-S at an Enterprise level…where the Enterprise isn’t so complex as one with many Sectors/Business Units/SBUs, etc., etc.

Notice the “many hands on this type of Clockface View (above).

So the L-C-S and Clockface Views are interchangeable.

Here below is an Organization Chart of L-C-Ss. Where the Leadership and Support levels would be the same for all entities – but the Core would be unique to each entity.

Here below is an Organization Chart of boxes of Clockfaces. Where the Leadership and Support levels would be the same for all entities – but the Core would be unique to each entity.

And as many organizational entities have processes that feed other’s processes with their Outputs As Inputs…one can now name and number those entities and their processes and tag each Output as an Input(s) for getting your arms around and hands on the process complexity where you need to focus.

In Summary- Thanks!
Thanks again to all who have shared their thoughts and models with me. Some directly…and many others indirectly.

So “indirectly” that I often don’t know whom to credit. Those were pebbles and/or big rocks tossed into the bigger waters of my professional life, where the ripple effect and uneven shoreline makes it almost impossible to determine their sources. Sorry about that!

But thank you very much anyway!

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