What to Expect When Moving Towards a Self Managing Work Team Culture
We are often asked at Perception Mapping what our research and employee surveys show about the effects of an organization moving towards a more self managing work team culture. Well, if the move happens to a well designed plan then it seems the organization can expect to see the following cultural shifts as a minimum outcome.
1. Organizational performance improves immediately the shift to self managing teams is made. We have found no down time or lost productivity in the groups who have planned and executed their move in a systematic way.
2. Managers, at all levels, begin to 'walk the talk'. They tend to change their conversations from trying to control staff behaviours to more asking “what can I do to help the team succeed?” Some even begin symbolic changes by removing the icons of 'them and us', like dispensing with separate eating areas, special parking bays and some, even ditch the company car.
3. There seems to be an immediate shift to building the business literacy of each staff member. All employees are given the 'big financial picture' and they get to know how the organization makes its money and where they, as workers, fit into the complex wheel of profit and loss. They seem to rapidly understand how the business structure and systems should work.
4. The organization shifts immediately from an emphasis on just training in the workplace for skill development to a more whole learning process where employees are encouraged to build their own, individual learning plans, with a focus on a blend of technical, business, social, career and lifestyle skills. The organization becomes a learning organization in the true sense of the words.
5. Communication in the workplace appears to improve dramatically and employees immediately become included in all the critical decision making processes. No person, no matter how insignificant they may seem to others, is left out. Our employee attitude surveys show a very strong correlation between improvements in communication and staff developing more positive perceptions of their organization.
6. The most overtly obvious characteristic of the self managing cultural shift reported in our culture surveys is a noticeable move in management behavior from being hierarchical to being more informal. People begin to interact as colleagues and partners in teamwork rather than as supervisor-subordinate, boss-worker, master-slave. People begin to dress more comfortably.