Sunday, October 16, 2005

Breaking the Mould - Forword


Breaking the Mould is an extraordinary performance improvement process.

It is unique in that it does not use surveys, questionnaires, systems analysis or models for strategic change.
It sets out to change attitudes and relationships in the workplace.

It does not set out to change the organisation or the structure of the business, neither does it rationalise or downsize.

These experiences, which are Breaking The Mould, have been
documented and developed into a performance improvement process which is easily adaptable to any work situation, be it on the shop floor or in the office.

The stories are about the power of ordinary people when they are allowed to become powerful.

Breaking the Mould is what has to happen to make that change.
Most people want to do a good job, and want to be able to take pride in their work.

When they don't do a good job it is normally because they are being denied the support, the materials or the feedback that they need.

These are stories about what happens when people are allowed to become as good as they can be, when people stop telling them what to do and start to give them the tools they need to become powerful.

These tools are Support, Encouragement, Respect.

The stories concern themselves with events on Drilling Rigs in South America and the North Sea.
They tell of what occurred to allow the crews to take ownership of their work and some of the extraordinary performances which occurred when the old mould was broken.

An eighthundred percent performance improvement on one rig in three weeks was recorded, which new level of performance was then sustained.

There are accounts of how semi literate, inexperienced crews in the South American jungle were taken from the performance you would expect from them, to a sustained world record in only two months; of roughnecks in the North Sea saving their company 27% (£3.9 million) of their operating budget in a single year.

This book tells how these changes happened and how the same astonishing levels of performance are available for everybody wherever they work or live.

It is about people first and last and how to give them what they need to become extraordinary.

Involvement of the workforce is normally acknowledged as a vital
ingredient in the success or failure of most management driven
changes or initiatives, whether it is keeping the work site tidy,
discovering efficiencies in a production process or implementing a
safety programme.

In each case we only truly succeed in improving performance if we
generate a change in behaviour that sustains the change in performance in the long term.

To do this the work force must become involved, and in order to become involved there has to be something in it for them.

Nobody will change their behaviour unless they experience a "Win"
when they make a change.

There are many incentive and bonus schemes which work well in the short term.

The reward however soon becomes an expectation and loses its power to act as an incentive.

We humans as a species are fiendishly adept at defeating these engineered solutions with strategies which will allow us to continue to gather the reward without changing our behaviour.

The reward which cannot be bought costs nothing.

Imagine your department is due for a business review and you are well ahead of the curve with your preparation.
On Friday afternoon it is announced that the directors of the parent company will be in the country and the review will now take place on Tuesday instead of the following Friday, to allow them to be present.

Your boss asks you to bring your schedule forward, this requires you to work all weekend to be ready.

Your efforts allow you to make the presentation on time and you are
relieved that the directors do not appear displeased.

This is a familiar story of response to a pressure that is both difficult to resist and increasingly expected.

Now one of the directors walks across as you are packing away and says,
"I'm sorry I couldn't rearrange my schedule to fit in with your original
programme, thanks for your presentation, that was impressive."

Now, how do you feel?

The effort to give that feedback cost the director a few seconds of his time but the result is that now you can leap tall buildings.

Feedback which is Appropriate, Positive and Timely costs nothing.

Involvement is not an instant concept which can be bought.
It has to be built up slowly and is the result of repeated experience.

Practising feedback within the team on all sides makes each member of the team become more involved.

In time confidence in their value within the team will increase and individuals begin spontaneously to produce ideas and suggestions because they know their opinion will be listened to and respected.

This level of involvement is not a trick. It is the result of a long-term
change in the behaviour of the whole team.

How this change in behaviour is achieved is the real story.

Who it affects is the real audience.

Peter A Hunter

and at


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