The Appleton Greene Corporate Training Program (CTP) for Business Optimization is provided by Mr. Erickson MBHRM BSEE Certified Learning Provider (CLP). Program Specifications: Monthly cost USD$2,500.00; Monthly Workshops 6 hours; Monthly Support 4 hours; Program Duration 24 months; Program orders subject to ongoing availability.
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Mr. Erickson is a Certified Learning Provider (CLP) at Appleton Greene and has experience in management, human resources and production. He has achieved a Master in Business Human Resource Management and a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering. He has industry experience within the following sectors: Construction; Consultancy; Consumer Goods; Food & Beverage and Manufacturing. He has had commercial experience within the following countries: United States of America, Canada, Denmark, and Japan, or more specifically within the following cities: Minneapolis MN; Denver CO; Edmonton AB; Nakskov and Tokyo. His personal achievements include: growing $12M business to $40M; implementing financial management control processes; training founder to be CEO; reorganizing operating departments that improved throughput and established performance improvement processes. His service skills incorporate: business strategy; organizational development; business systems; leadership development and financial management.
This first workshop involves the top executive or Owner and his or her senior staff. The purpose of this workshop is to introduce this executive team to the components of the Business Optimization Process, referred to as the BOP, and to begin the first steps in implementing the BOP. The senior staff includes those who are responsible for the various disciplines within a company. These disciplines usually include sales, operations, distribution, financial management, and human resource management. Depending on the type and organizational structure of the company they can also include marketing, creative design, engineering and product development.
The BOP is mission driven. It is a corporate focused, team building process that teaches the types of skills needed to effectively improve an organization’s performance. It accomplishes this by training employees to systematically identify and solve the root cause of the problem that is most constraining the performance of the organization. It is a continuous improvement process that once implemented results in a higher level of satisfied customers and a more enjoyable work environment for the employees. These results lead to a financially stronger organization that brings long-term stability and better rewards and job security for everyone. The key components of the BOP include Systems Theory and Thinking, the Theory of Constraints, and Transformational Leadership principles.
The first objective in this workshop is to develop a mission statement for the BOP that is initiated by you, the Owner. This statement helps you explain why you are pursuing the BOP and provides clarity of purpose and direction for the organization during the implementation of the BOP.
Along with the BOP Mission Statement there needs to be a vision statement for the BOP. Whereas a mission statement clarifies the why, a vision statement shows the what. A vision inspires and challenges people to accomplish the mission. It is the vision that people grasp. Visions create the emotional energy necessary in motivating people to action. Visions let people see what it looks like when the mission is accomplished. Visions provide the realism and create the belief that accomplishing the mission is achievable. The BOP Vision Statement shows what it looks like when the mission of the BOP is accomplished.
Along with establishing the BOP Mission Statement and the BOP Vision Statement the participants in this workshop will begin to understand Systems Theory and Thinking as it applies to your organization. Organizations are systems and as such obey certain laws, have certain characteristics and follow certain principles that govern how systems function. Understanding these laws, characteristics, and principles make organizational change more successful. Therefore it is important that you begin to understand how the various parts of this organization interact and interconnect with each other.
In summary, the purpose of this workshop is to introduce you to the components of the BOP and guide you through the initial steps of the BOP beginning with developing the BOP Mission Statement and the BOP Vision Statement. Along with these initial steps you will learn the basics of System Theory and Thinking and how to incorporate System Theory and Thinking into your improvement efforts. Establishing a mission and vision at the beginning helps you tailor the BOP to the specific needs of your organization.
1) BOP Mission Statement: Develop the BOP Mission Statement that defines and clarifies why you, the Owner are implementing the BOP.
2) BOP Vision Statement: Develop the BOP Vision Statement that expands the mission statement with emotion-based and image-based words used to motivate and inspire the people in your organization to accomplish the BOP mission.
3) Initial Announcement: Develop a written introductory announcement explaining in general terms that your company is beginning the implementation of the BOP.
4) Top Concerns: A list from each participant of the top three concerns the participant has concerning the implementation of the BOP.
5) Suggestions: A list from each participant of three suggestions the participant thinks the company could do to overcome these concerns.
6) Entropy: A demonstrated understanding of organizational entropy with a list from each participant of four areas in which the participant believes entropy is most apparent within the organization.
7) Inertia: A demonstrated understanding of organizational inertia with a list from each participant of two areas in which the participant believes resistance to change will be the greatest and two where he or she thinks it will be the least resistant.
8) Synergy: A demonstrated understanding of organizational synergy with a list from each participant of two areas the participant believes synergy is the strongest and two areas the participant believes synergy is the weakest.
9) Permeability: A demonstrated understanding of permeability of the boundary that separates this company from the environment in which it exists with a list from each participant of two areas where the participant believes permeability is the best and where he or she thinks it is the poorest.
10) Controllability: A demonstrated understanding of the controllability of the permeability of organizational system boundaries with a list from each participant of the top three areas the participant believes employees have the greatest ability to affect and the least ability.
1) BOP Mission Statement:
a) A step-by-step process that guides you, the Owner in identifying your personal reasons for wanting to implement the BOP and using these personal reasons to create an initial draft of your mission statement for the BOP.
b) A step-by-step process that guides you and your senior staff is crafting a second draft of the BOP Mission Statement using your initial statement.
c) A process by which a few selected trusted and skilled employees edit this second draft that ends up being the approved BOP Mission Statement.
2) BOP Vision Statement
a) A step-by-step process that guides you and your senior staff in drafting the BOP Vision Statement based on the draft of the BOP Mission Statement.
b) A process by which a few selected trusted and skilled employees edit this second draft that ends up being the approved BOP Vision Statement.
3) Initial Announcement:
a) A process that guides you and your senior staff in drafting an initial communication message that gives an introduction of the BOP.
b) A process by which a few selected trusted and skilled employees edit this draft that ends up being approved for release to the rest of the organization.
4) Top Concerns: A form each participant fills out after the workshop after the mission and vision statements are approved. See Attached Form 1
5) Suggestions: The same form as above that each participant uses to list three suggestions the participant thinks would overcome these concerns. See Attached Form 1
6) Entropy: A form each participant follows after the workshop to review organizational entropy and to list three areas within the organization where the participant thinks entropy is the most apparent. See Attached Form 2
7) Inertia: A form that each participant follows after the workshop to review organizational inertia and to list two areas in which the participant believes resistance to change will be the greatest and two where he or she thinks it will be the least. See Attached Form 3
8) Synergy: A form that each participant uses after the workshop to review organizational synergy and to list two areas within the organization where the participant thinks synergy is the strongest and where he or she thinks it is the weakest. See Attached Form 4
See Attached Form 5
10) Controllability: A form that each participant uses after the workshop to review boundary characteristics and to list three areas within the organization where the participant thinks employees have the least ability to effect. See Attached Form 6
1) BOP Mission Statement:
a) Prior to the workshop the Owner uses the process explained in the Planning section of the Introduction and writes his or her initial draft of the BOP Mission Statement and brings this draft to the workshop.
b) Prior to the workshop members of the senior staff work through the last part of the same process and bring their ideas about what they would like to see from the BOP to the workshop.
c) During the workshop participants will follow a decision making process and use a mission statement template to write a draft of the mission statement.
d) After the workshop three qualified and trusted employees will review and wordsmith this draft to help ensure that the mission statement will be understood and received positively by the employees.
e) The Owner will review and approve this version making it the official mission statement for the BOP.
2) BOP Vision Statement:
a) During the workshop participants will follow a vision writing and decision making process and use a vision statement template to write a draft of the BOP Vision Statement.
b) After the workshop three qualified and trusted employees will wordsmith this to help ensure that the vision statement will be motivational and inspirational and received positively by the employees.
c) The Owner will review and approve this version making it the official vision statement for the BOP.
3) Initial Announcement:
a) During the workshop participants will follow an example for an initial announcement and write a draft of the initial announcement of the BOP.
b) After the workshop three qualified and trusted employees will wordsmith this draft to help ensure that the announcement gives a general introduction to the employees concerning the BOP in a way that will be received positively and alleviate any potentially concerning thoughts or anxiety on the part the employees.
c) The Owner will review and approve this wordsmithed version making it official and ready for release.
4) Top Concerns: Each participant after the workshop reviews the final approved mission and vision statements and using a form (See attached Form 1) lists three concerns he or she has about implementing the Business Optimization Process.
5) Suggestions: Each participant after the workshop reviews his or hers concerns and using the same form as above (See attached Form 1) lists three suggestions that he or she thinks would alleviate or overcome these concerns.
6) Entropy: Each participant reviews the definition of organizational entropy and using a form (See attached Form 2) lists three areas within the organization where he or she thinks it is the most apparent.
7) Inertia: Each participant reviews the definition of organizational inertia and using a form (See attached Form 3) lists two areas in which the participant believes resistance to change will be the greatest and two where he or she thinks it will be the least.
8) Synergy: Each participant reviews the definition of organizational synergy and using a form (See attached Form 4) lists two areas within the organization where he or she thinks employees have the greatest ability to effect and two where he or she thinks employees have the least ability.
9) Permeability: Each participant reviews the definitions of boundary permeability and using a form (See attached Form 5) lists two areas within the organization where the participant thinks permeability is the best and two areas where he or she thinks it is the poorest.
10) Controllability: Each participant reviews boundary characteristics and using a form (See attached Form 6 lists to areas within the organization where the participant thinks employees have the greatest ability to affect the way the company operates and two areas where employees have the least ability.
The first order of business during the workshop is to develop the mission statement for the BOP. The reason this is first is that it is important to set the stage upfront for why the Company is embarking on the BOP. It is also important that the mission be driven by the Owner since it is the Owner who has decided to implement the BOP.
In order to make the best of everyone’s time and in order to tackle an aggressive agenda it is important that the owner prepare an initial draft prior to the workshop. This draft will be the foundation for developing the BOP Mission Statement that will be used throughout the implementation of the BOP.
In order for a mission statement to be meaningful and effective it must be supported by the members of the organization. It must become a shared mission for those in the organization. The best way to accomplish this is to have multiple people involved in developing the mission. Therefore, it is important that everyone involved in the workshop contribute to the development of the BOP Mission Statement.
Writing the initial draft of the BOP Mission Statement is an individual exercise by the Owner that the Owner will then bring to the workshop. To help you, the Owner concentrate on this task, you should schedule time when you are the most creative and able to relax. Along with scheduling time, you should also find a place that is away from interruptions or distractions. It should be a place that is comfortable and in an environment that is conducive to thinking creatively. This exercise should not be stressful. It should be fun and informative.
In order to help you write your initial draft of the mission statement in a time effective manner you are given a process to follow. The whole process should require no more than an hour or so of your time.
Before you can write your draft of the BOP Mission Statement you need to understand your personal reasons for embarking on the BOP. Only you know what you want to accomplish with the BOP. In order for the BOP to be successful in your mind it must further the success of your company as you define success. Therefore, the process begins with you defining your personal reasons for choosing the BOP. This definition is your personal mission statement. This statement is your beginning point.
The process of writing the initial draft of the BOP Mission Statement starts by answering the five questions below. These questions are aimed at helping you understand your personal mission. You will then use your answers to these questions to complete the three statements that follow. Next, you will apply how you completed these statements to seven questions that relate specifically to this company. You will use your answers to these seven questions to formulate your initial draft of the BOP Mission Statement.
Don’t stop and overthink or analyze how you answer the questions or complete the statements. Just answer them as fast and as simply as you can, minimizing the number of words.
To begin the process, take a clean sheet of paper and write the first question shown below. Then write your answer. Then write down the second question shown below and your answer. Continue through all five questions. Use any writing method that suits you best. You can use a tablet of paper and hand write or you can use a computer or digital tablet. Use what works best for you. The important thing is to accurately record your thoughts. Once you are set up, begin by answering the following five questions.
1) “What is important to me?” Think past your company and your job. Think about your social and community activities, your family and other relationships, or organizations with which you are involved. List no more than three things.
2) “What principles do I try to live my life by?” These are those ideals and values that are morally important to you, things that reflect your values and that apply to your day-to-day activities. Do not over think. Just do a brain dump. Do not spend a lot of time. List no more than three that come to mind.
3) “What are the reasons I do the things I do? This relates to the above questions but gets you thinking about why you do what you do, about what motivates you. List no more than three reasons.
4) “What are the things I want to accomplish with my life?” List no more than three things. The answer to this question is based on your answers to what is important to you, the principles that you try to live by and the reason you do what you do.
5) “How can the BOP help me accomplish these things?” List no more than three things.
After you have answered the above five questions complete the following statements.
I) “Based on what is important to me I would like to see the BOP accomplish:” List no more than three accomplishments you want for the focus of the BOP.
II) “Based on the principles by which I try to live my life, I would like to see the BOP be implemented in the following manner:” This statement has to do with how you want your customers and employees to be effected by the BOP, your priorities, your company’s participation in community activities, etc. List no more than three reasons.
III) “Based on the reason behind what I do, I would like the reasons for implementing the BOP to be based on:” List no more than three reasons.
After you finish these three statements answer the following seven questions based on your responses above.
A) “What are the top three benefits I think my company provides?”
B) “What are the top three things I admire about my company relating to how it provides these benefits?”
C) “What do I see as my company’s three main successes pertaining to the recipients of these benefits?”
D) “What three things would I like for my company to do to expand its customer base as a result of the BOP?”
E) “What three things would I like my company to do to improve the environment for its employees as a result of the BOP?”
F) “What three things do I think my company should do to improve its profitability as a result of the BOP?”
G) “What one thing would I like to see my company accomplish outside of business related areas?” These include such things as contributions or involvement in charitable organizations, community functions, professional organizations and political action committees.
Now write down your thoughts in the form of an initial mission statement. This form should address four criteria: 1) a reflection of who your company is, its personality, character, etc.; 2) a description of how your customers will benefit from the BOP; 3) a description of how your employees will benefit from the BOP; and 4) a description of how you as the Owner will benefit from the BOP. The following is a suggested template:
“We are embarking upon the Business Optimization Process to help (Your Company Name) provide (Answers to Question A) by (Answers to Question B) which has resulted in (Answers to Question C). By implementing the BOP we will increase our customer base by (Answers to Question D) and improve our work environment by (Answers to Question E). We will increase our profitability by (Answers to Question F). In addition, it will help us contribute to an outside cause by (Answer to Question G).
When you have completed this exercise your initial statement should be able to explain your purpose for wanting to pursue the BOP. We live in a dynamic world where companies grow and change, where technologies change rapidly, and where marketplaces fluctuate. Therefore, in order for the mission statement to be effective it must be based on current business opportunities and challenges so that everyone involved knows why you wat to implement the BOP and the direction you want the BOP to take.
You are to bring your initial draft to the workshop.
Another thing you are to bring to the workshop is a template of a draft of an announcement that will be given to the people in your company after the workshop. The template is in an attached Word document. The use of this document is detailed in the Communication section the Course Manual and in the Communication section of the Project Study. See Illustration 1
As Owner you need to establish the direction for the BOP by articulating your thoughts. In order to ensure that your thoughts are best articulated and supported, you will be soliciting input from your senior staff during the workshop. During the workshop a process will be followed where all participants will contribute their thoughts concerning the mission statement. These thoughts will help you finalize a draft of the BOP Mission Statement. To this end, your senior staff member should come prepared to the workshop with their answers to the seven questions A – G.
After the draft of the mission statement is completed everyone will follow a similar process to develop a vision statement based on the consensus of what everyone feels it looks like when the BOP mission is accomplished. While the mission is based on your reasons for wanting to implement the BOP, developing the vision statement is a joint effort where everyone equality participates. This vision statement reflects how as a group you see your company when the mission is accomplished.
During the workshop and after completing a draft of the mission and vision statements, the basic concepts of Systems Theory and Thinking will be explored. By definition every system is a subsystem of the environment in which it exists. Since a company is an organization and since organizations are systems your company is a system that functions within a defined environment. This environment includes the marketplace, the country in which your company operates and the community in which it is located.
Every system by definition has a permeable boundary through which inputs and outputs transfer. Inputs include labor, raw materials, subcontractor or other types of outside services, and information. Outputs include finished products and services, information, and scrap and waste.
In addition to having permeable boundaries every system consists of interrelated and interdependent activities that convert inputs into outputs. Inputs are drawn from the environment and outputs are injected back into the environment through the permeable boundary. In order to control the way a system functions, systems have communications processes that communicate information to the environment, receive information from the environment, and process information within the boundary of the system.
Systems Theory and Thinking as it applies to business organizations state that in order for anything to be produced, whether a product or a service, there must be a set of interrelated and interconnected activities. These activities work in conjunction with each other within the boundary of the organization and across the boundary into the environment in which the organization exists. It further states that each activity contributes in some way to the output of the organization. In order to predict and control the output from the organization, the activities associated with the organization and their interrelatedness must be understood. The effectiveness of an organization can only be improved by improving the activities associated with the organization, how these activities interrelate with each other within the organization, and how the organization as a whole relates with the environment within which it exists. These system characteristics will be further expanded during the workshop.
Prior to the workshop someone needs to print copies of the attached draft and ensure these copies are brought to the workshop. This draft will be massaged during the workshop and will be the first communication given to the employees concerning the BOP. See Illustration 1
As explained in the Planning section, during this workshop a draft of the mission and vision statements for BOP will be developed. After these are developed you will be introduced to the concepts of Systems Theory and Thinking as they apply to organizations. You will begin to understand the nuances of systems as they apply to organizations and in particular how they apply to your company.
The first order of business as explained in the Planning section will be to develop the draft of the BOP Mission Statement. The reason this is first is that it is important that as the Owner you define the purpose for why you want to implement the BOP. This purpose is the driver behind the BOP. Without knowing the reason behind pursuing the BOP there will be confusion and lack of direction. This will at best make the results fall short of what they could be. At worst, not having an articulated and understood mission could create more problems than the process is designed to solve because of the potential non-productive distractions that could be created.
The process of finalizing the BOP Mission Statement starts with the draft you bring to the workshop. Your statement will form the foundation for the finalized draft of the mission statement that will come out of the workshop. The most effective mission statements are those where the mission is supported by the employees and becomes the shared mission of those in the organization. Because of this it is important that your senior staff have a role in formulating the final mission statement draft.
This does not mean that the mission should incorporate everyone’s ideas of how the mission statement should read. This would be impossible and futile.
One of the reasons why everyone needs to contribute to the BOP Mission Statement is because if your senior staff is working with those who have significantly different ideas on what the mission should be they will more likely be at odds with each other. When this happens at the senior level your company’s ability to accomplish all that it can is diminished. This does not mean that your staff only works with those who are just like them. This would be impossible and detrimental to the organization. What it means is that you need to make sure that what everyone wants the BOP to accomplish is in line with what everyone else wants it to accomplish. To ensure that this is the case, you and your staff need to be on the same page concerning what you want for your company from the BOP. Differences are natural and healthy. But in the end the mission must be such that everyone can support it wholeheartedly.
The first step in finalizing a draft of the BOP Mission Statement will be to review the initial draft of what you bring to the workshop. Each participant will share their individual answers to the seven A through G questions from the Planning section. It is important for everyone in the workshop to understand how each of you think about what the mission should be. As a group you will use a decision making process to boil down your individual thoughts into some common statements that are aligned with your initial draft. This will allow everyone to identify those areas in which each of you agree or mostly agree and those areas where there is disagreement.
As a group each of you need to understand what each other wrote down so you can begin to identify patterns that reflect your common thoughts. These common thoughts will become the key points you will want to include in the final draft. As a group you will follow a process that helps sort through these patterns to come up with key points upon which everyone agrees. You will identify areas where there is consensus as to what the purpose of the BOP should be. You will also discover areas where there is consensus about what the purpose should not be. Through this exercise you may even discover things about your company that you want to expand upon or want to minimize.
As you develop the draft of the BOP Mission Statement you will begin to articulate your company’s defining characteristics, those characteristics that make your company what it is. You will begin to better understand what differentiates your company from your competition. You will be able to focus on why your company is the way it is. You will understand those things that as an organization you are doing right and what you are not doing right.
Your company will begin to become more personal to you. You will be able to define the personality of your company’s organization. You will discover those things that you feel strongly about. You will arrive at a consensus about what you want to accomplish with the BOP regardless of the obstacles that may be in the path. You will begin to realize what your company can do to better serve its customers, to develop a better place for its employees to work and to link more closely with your suppliers. As you dialog among yourselves you will begin to build a consensus of what you want the BOP to accomplish, those key characteristics and purposes that align everyone in your company.
After the draft of the BOP Mission Statement is finalized the next step will be to develop the BOP Vision Statement. This vision statement is written to express what the company looks like when it has accomplished the BOP mission. The mission statement is extremely important; however mission statements basically do not motivate people. They simply clarify why you are doing what you are doing. In order for people to be motivated toward helping accomplish a mission they need to see what it looks like when the mission is achieved. They need a vision.
The vision is what inspires and challenges people to accomplish the mission. It is the vision that people can grasp. Visions create the feelings that are necessary to motivate people to action. Since visions let people see what it looks like when the mission is accomplished, visions provide the realism and create the belief in the people that accomplishing the mission is achievable. This is true with this group as well. Each of you needs to see the vision and believe in the possibility that with your leadership this company can achieve the mission.
Successful mission and vision statements are not just plaques on a wall that look good and that people read from time to time. The mission statement defines and clarifies the purpose of doing something. The vision statement shows everyone what success looks like. Therefore, these statements must be written in a way that rallies everyone in the organization together to accomplish the mission and achieve the vision.
Speaking in military terms, let’s say the mission is to “take the hill”. Though this is the mission, charging the hill will not be successful unless the soldiers and their leaders believe they can take the hill. This belief comes from seeing what it looks like when they achieve victory. Once the BOP mission is understood, the vision shows what it looks like when the “hill is taken”.
You will use a similar process as used to develop the BOP Mission Statement. The difference is that you start from scratch developing the BOP Vision Statement based on your finalized draft of the BOP Mission Statement, as opposed to starting with a draft that the Owner brings to the workshop.
During the workshop all of you will work together to brainstorm how the company looks when the BOP is completed. The mission clarifies the actions needed. The vision challenges people to take action. The vision shows what it looks like when the mission is accomplished. A mission informs. A vision inspires. Bottom line, it is the vision that people follow and it is the vision that leaders use to motivate their followers.
Because the vision paints a picture and identifies with people’s emotions it is important that as you develop this vision you use words that people can picture, that people can become attached to. Where the mission uses conceptual-based words the vision uses image-based words. After you have developed the BOP Mission Statement and the BOP Vision Statement the focus will move to the topic of Systems Theory and Thinking.
Through the mission and vision development process the concepts of System Theory and Thinking will be injected into the conversations. These conversations are aimed at helping you develop a deeper understanding of how organizations function. Specifically you will develop a growing understanding of how Systems Theory and Thinking apply to your company and how to apply these concepts when implementing a new process like the BOP.
Every system operates within an environment and receives inputs from this environment. Every system then uses these inputs to produce outputs that are released back into this environment. Every system is separated from its environment by a permeable boundary. It is through this permeable boundary that inputs and outputs pass.
It is at this boundary that a system and its environment interrelate. Therefore, every system must form a relationship with its environment. There are no exceptions. A system may have a positive relationship with its environment. These relationships come when the system produces desired outputs that the environment needs and that helps the environment improve and when the system’s environment is supportive of the needs of the system. A system may also have a negative relationship with its environment. A negative relationship comes from a system that is producing non-desired outputs that the environment does not need or that actually hurt the environment in which the system exists. These types of relationship can also come when a system’s environment is not supportive of the needs of the system. The issues that affect these types of relationships almost always happen at the boundary between the system and its environment. It is a two way street.
Systems also include autonomous activities within the boundary of the system. Once a system receives its required inputs it is no longer dependent on the environment within which it exists. That is, until if releases its outputs. But, from the time it receives its inputs and until it produces what it is releases back into the environment all the activities and interrelations are confined within the boundaries of the system.
Every organization is a system and every company is an organization. Therefore, every company is an organizational system that adheres to certain laws, characteristics and principles. During this workshop you will develop an understanding of these System Theory and Thinking terms and how they apply to any organizational system. This understanding will help you see the systemic reasons behind why your company is not performing better than it is. Along with this understanding you will develop tools that you can apply to not only better your understanding as to why your company functions as it does but how to systematically make the right kind of decisions and changes required to effectively improve your company’s performance.
In summary, during this workshop you will develop drafts of a meaningful BOP Mission Statement and a useful BOP Vision Statement. You will begin to develop an understanding of the laws, characteristics and principles of System Theory and Thinking and how these affect your organization, or any organization for that matter, and how these affect the way you go about improving your company’s performance. Using the process introduced during this workshop is designed to help you develop these drafts and to help you better understand your company from a systems standpoint. Along with developing drafts of the mission and vision statements, you will also develop a draft of an introductory communication letter that can be used to help squelch any rumors or increase in anxiety among the employees that may begin to appear as they see changes in your focus and behavior brought about by the BOP.
The draft of the BOP Mission Statement created during this workshop defines the reason you are implementing the BOP. It is used to help to keep each of you focused on what you want to see as the outcome of the BOP. This mission statement will be used throughout the implementation process to keep everyone on course. The BOP mission is the destination that all of you agree is to be the desired outcome of the BOP. It will communicate to the entire organization the reason behind why your company is undertaking the BOP. The mission will be the catalyst that will create unity and purpose for everyone in the company. This is why developing the BOP Mission Statement is the first step in the BOP. It defines the path on which the whole organization is to work. This brings to mind the old adage, “if you aim at nothing you are likely to hit nothing”. Having a well-articulated BOP Mission Statement will go a long way in making the BOP effective and enjoyable while preventing your company from not having a target to aim at.
The draft of the BOP Vision Statement that you will also develop during the workshop is used to create the motivation and belief that the mission is not only doable but worthwhile. The vision paints the picture of success. It is used to rally people associated with the organization to accomplish the mission and is used in combination with the mission statement to communicate to the rest of the organization where the organization is headed. It is crucial for people to understand where the company is headed if they are expected to help the organization get to where the company’s leadership wants it to go. The mission explains the purpose behind why leadership is implementing the BOP. The vision shows what it looks like when the BOP is implemented.
The BOP mission will form the basis for strategies and goals and the development of key success drivers, key performance indicators and performance metrics. These strategies, goals, drivers, indicators, and metrics will be developed in subsequent workshops and used to focus your organization to the improvement desired. These strategies, goals, drivers, indicators and metrics will become critical in order to keep everyone in the organization focused on accomplishing the mission of the BOP.
As an example, let us say your mission is to reach a given destination at a certain time. In order to accomplish this mission you determine that you need to maintain a speed of 50 mph. In this example a key success driver is the need to maintain 50 mph. In order to maintain this speed you need to first know what your speed is before you can make the right decision on how far to depress the gas pedal. You need a speedometer. You will need other measurements or performance indicators as well such as an oil pressure gauge. However, it will be impossible to accurately maintain 50 mph if you are only measuring your oil pressure. Measuring oil pressure is important but this measurement will not provide the metric you need to maintain your speed. In this example you need to measure oil pressure to make sure the engine continues to operate because if it fails there is no way you are able to maintain your speed or reach your destination. You will eventually stop. But, in this case your key success driver is your speed and your key performance indicator is the measurement of this speed.
The BOP helps you use the mission, vision, strategies, goals, key success drivers, and key performance indicators and metrics as tools to systematically focus the resources of your entire organization. It applies these tools using the concepts of Systems Theory and Thinking.
This workshop introduces Systems Theory and Thinking and how it will be applied to the implementation of the BOP. Every company is an organization and every organization is a system. Therefore, in order to focus the resources of an organization the organization must be understood as a subsystem within the environment in which it exists. It must also be understood as a combination of subsystems that are interrelated and interdependent within the boundaries of the organization. The concepts of Systems Theory and Thinking that you will learn during this workshop will help you better understand the system nuances of your company. Learning these concepts will greatly aid you as you focus on accomplishing the mission and as you use the vision to lead your organization in implementing the BOP.
During this workshop you will learn about the three system laws, five system characteristics and eight system principles that apply to every organizational system. Some of these laws, characteristics and principles may be new to you or at least new in the way they are defined in organizational system theory. To begin applying System Theory and Thinking to your company we are starting with the definition of the three laws. These laws are entropy, inertia and synergy.
The term entropy is most associated with science. “Entropy is a tendency for a system’s outputs to decline when the inputs have remained the same. Most often associated with the Second Law of Thermodynamics, entropy measures the changes in the type and dispersion of energy within an observable system.” It is also defined as “the degree of disorder or uncertainty in a system, a process of degradation or running down.” It is a natural phenomenon where outputs from activities always move from a higher state to a lower state within a system unless energy is injected into the system. Entropy exists in all systems including organizational systems.
Organizational entropy is a measure of the disorder or randomness concerning how work is performed within an organization. An organization will, by its nature, seek to operate at the lowest possible level of energy. Organizational entropy is an important concept to understand because we often do not recognize why things within our companies are the way they are. We do not realize that over time our organizations have migrated to a lower energy state than what they used to be and that complacency and a lack of organizational alignment has set in. These changes are subtle and thus the root cause is hard to detect. Everyone seems focused on performing their job but not on how their job affects the company as a whole. This happens even in companies that have ongoing continuous improvement programs.
The way to overcome the effects of organizational entropy is to put the right kind of effort or attention into the organization, or using the science term, inject the right kind of energy. Without constant and proper energy being injected into their organizations, companies over time slowly move to lower and lower states of energy. Operational activities become disjointed. People accept this disjointedness as normal operating activities. Employees become increasingly complacent as they accept the status quo and performance slowly decreases. These subtle changes cause companies to lose their effectiveness and can eventually cause companies to slowly decline to the point where they cannot survive. The BOP is a process that not only controls the rate of organizational entropy but can actually reverse it by injecting positive energy, creative ideas and targeted process improvements into an organizational system. The result is a system that functions more effectively and where quality, productivity and output capability continue to improve.
The term inertia is most often associated with physics. “Inertia is the resistance of any physical object to any change in its state of motion; this includes changes to its speed, direction, or state of rest. It is the tendency of objects to keep moving in a straight line at constant velocity. The law of inertia is one of the fundamental laws of classical physics that are used to describe the motion of objects and how they are affected by applied forces.”
System inertia is the resistance by a system to any outside force that is trying to change the way that system operates. Organizational system inertia is the underlying cause why organizations resist change. It is also the underlying reason why it is important to understand and apply the right kind of “forces” whenever leadership is trying to implement organizational change. In other words, system inertia always causes systems to counter act any force that is trying to change how that system is operating. This is true for all systems, including all organizations. Organizational inertia is the force or resistance that tries to maintain the status quo. In order to overcome any inertia the right kind of force needs to be applied at the right rate in order to efficiently overcome a system’s inertia.
The third system law that affects the BOP is Synergy. The level of synergy has a direct impact on the performance of an organization. Synergy is “when the combined actions or operations of two or more organizations, substances, or other agents produce an effect greater than the sum of their separate effects.” Synergy has to do with synchronization. When the elements of a system interrelate and interconnect in a synchronized manner the system functions as a fine tuned watch. When one or more of the elements are out of sync the whole system suffers and its output is diminished.
In organizations synergy implies effective teamwork. Effective teams are those whose members share common values, have a common purpose and possess complimentary skills. The first application of the BOP Mission Statement and the BOP Vision Statement is to create synergy with the participants of this workshop. These statements are used to provide focus and team direction at the top of the organization. The Leadership Team, which is the first team that is formed during the implementation of the BOP, will be formed from the participants of this workshop. As with any team, the mission statement provides the ability for team members to identify their common values, to ensure that they understand and have a common purpose, and that the skill set of team members are complementary to achieving the purpose of the team.
Applying Systems Theory and Thinking is one of three concepts that the BOP uses to improve company performance. The other two concepts are the Theory of Constraints and Transformational Leadership. These concepts will be part of the next two workshops. However, before these concepts can be applied effectively, the BOP Mission Statement and the BOP Vision Statement need to be established for reasons stated above. These establish the targets and define the destination that you, the Owner and your senior staff want for the BOP.
The BOP is a process that begins with you and your senior staff and moves down through your organization involving an array of employees at all levels of the organization. Depending on the type of company this array could include department managers, supervisors, engineers, designers, technical personnel, line, clerical or support employees, and representatives from the human resource area. Because of how the BOP involves these types of employees, just about every part or subsystem of the organization will be involved to some degree with the BOP. Since the mission and vision define the destination, the application of System Theory and Thinking form the basis for applying the Theory of Constraints and Transformational Leadership principles, which are the basic tools used to implement the BOP. These tools will become clearer in the coming two workshops.
The BOP Mission Statement and BOP Vision need to be well thought through since you are setting the stage for the implementation of the BOP. They form the very cornerstone of what you and the rest of this organization will be focusing on through the BOP. This is the reason that it is important for everyone in this group to agree with the BOP Mission Statement and the BOP Vision Statement. This does not mean that everyone necessarily agrees with every part of them but it does mean that everyone must be able to whole heartedly support them. Since they are the cornerstone, everything going forward will refer to them to define the direction and purpose of the BOP. During the fourth workshop you will be explaining the total BOP concept and schedule to the rest of the company. This will include the BOP Mission Statement and the BOP Vision Statement. This explanation will also include the concepts of Systems Theory and Thinking as they apply to this company along with Theory of Constraints and Transformational Leadership that will be learned and applied during workshops two and three.
Managing the BOP will likely require some different management techniques than are currently being use in this company. The reason for needing different management techniques is the way the BOP is implemented. The major component that separates the BOP from other process change programs is that it is a corporate focused, team building process that teaches the types of skills needed to effectively improve an organization’s performance. It is through the team building process that organizational synergy is created.
Organizational synergy implies effective teamwork. In other words, in order to have a high performance organization the employees need to be organized and functioning as members of highly effective teams. To this end, the BOP uses a hierarchy of teams to effectively create the improvements required to accomplish the BOP mission. It is this hierarchy of teams that will cause you to change some of your management techniques. With the BOP, teams learn to manage other teams. This is different than managing just a hierarchy of individuals.
The team building process begins in this workshop even though it is not specially called team building. You, the Owner and your senior staff are the Executive Team. The processes used to develop the BOP Mission Statement and the BOP Vision Statement are designed to bring all of you together to make team decisions. The process will force you to become team focused because each of you has a say in the decision made as a team and will use a process that helps bring consensus to these decisions.
This concept does not mean that you forego your rights as Owner. What it means is that as Owner you should allow your senior staff to contribute equally to the ideas that are being presented and to the decisions that are being made. The Owner always has final say or veto power.
This is the first workshop and as such is the starting point for implementing the BOP in your company and changing your management habits. The fact that you are embarking on the BOP means that you believe, at least conceptually that this process will be beneficial to your organization. As an Owner you likely have a combination of leadership styles with some styles being more prominent than others. The basic types of leadership styles are Laissez-Faire, Autocratic, Participative, Transactional and Transformational. These styles will be further explored and leveraged into the leadership of this company and the BOP during the third workshop. For now we are talking about these styles only to say that if your style is more laissez-faire, autocratic or transactional you will have a more difficult time adjusting to and accepting the leadership skills that are taught during the BOP. If your style is more participative and transformational you will have an easier time adjusting to and accepting the leadership principles that are taught during the BOP.
During this first workshop you begin to understand how the process works and what types of adjustment you will need to make, if any, to be the team leader of the Executive Team within the BOP.
One of the adjustments that all you will likely need to make is that of time management. You currently have daily, weekly and monthly routines that are part of your job. You also likely do not see yourself as having extra time for things outside of these routines. However, apparently you also feel that the approach the BOP takes will be beneficial both in the short run and, more importantly, in the longer run. This means that you likely are feeling the need to invest the time into the BOP but also feeling the pressure to continue with your routine. This is your status quo and is likely contributing to entropy that is affecting you because in a way you are your own system. It is going to take an injection of the right kind of energy to tackle and reverse this entropy. It is also going to take the right amount of energy to effectively overcome the inertia that is keeping you doing what you are doing. This is why there are structured steps in implementing the BOP. As the Executive Committee you are involved in the first three workshops. If you are part of the Leadership Team, which is determine during the third workshop you will also be involved in workshops four through seven.
When it comes to having to juggle a plethora of activities I am reminded of Stephen R. Covey’s book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. In this book he shares his thoughts toward time management by saying that we really do not manage time but we manage ourselves. He goes on to define two types of activities that we spend our time doing. One type is urgent activities and the other type is important activities. He defines urgent activities as those that need to be handled now. They are “things that act on us”. He defines important activities as those that have to do with results. According to Mr. Covey, “If something is important it contributes to your mission, your values, your high priority goals.”
From these definitions be builds a quadrant that he calls “The Time Management Matrix”. The matrix places the type of an activity into one of the quadrants. Quadrant I activities are Important and Urgent, Quadrant II activities are Important and Not Urgent, Quadrant III activities are Not Important and Urgent and Quadrant IV activities are Not Important and Not Urgent.
He goes on to say that “Important matters that are not urgent require more initiative, more proactivity. We must act to seize opportunity, to make things happen.” He further says that “. . if we don’t have a clear idea of what is important, or the results we desire in our lives, we are easily diverted into responding to the urgent.”
The reason I bring up Mr. Covey’s thoughts is that the way all of you approach your assignments and prioritize your efforts in this and the next two workshops, will have a direct bearing on the quality and effectiveness of the BOP for your company. It will also have a direct bearing on your understanding of your company as a system, which will have a direct bearing at how effective you are at managing the BOP within your company.
The first sentence of the definition of the BOP is that it is mission driven. This means that the BOP Mission Statement developed during the workshop drives the implementation of the BOP. It is the mission that management looks to when making decisions.
As a team each of you has individual responsibilities and group responsibilities. These responsibilities start with your preparation for the workshop. In other words, each of you has a homework assignment that is due at the beginning of the workshop. Your only deadline is to have your homework with you when you come to class. As the Owner you have the largest amount of pre-workshop work to do for this particular workshop. Your assignment is to have a draft of a mission statement that you bring to the workshop. In order to have this draft you need to go through the questions and statements in sequential order as laid out in the Planning section.
Since the BOP is mission driven, the amount of thought given to defining the mission is extremely important. The mission is the bedrock upon which the BOP is built. As the Owner, you need to spend some concentrated time making sure that your initial mission says what you want it to say. The members of your senior staff will also need to give thought to the seven A – G questions in the Planning section and come to the workshop with their answers to these questions.
It is important that none of you wait until the last minute and then “cram for the exam”. If you do your ideas may be less than ideal. This will lead to a less than ideal mission statement. Giving the thought needed will require discipline on everyone’s part to ensure that your ideas are well thought through. It is recommended that you set aside some time and quickly do what you have been assigned to do. After you have answered all the questions set your answers aside for a couple of days and then revisit them. Quickly go through them again and see if you want to modify or change any of your original answers. If you think that your answers are as good as they can be then you can consider yourself done with the assignment. If not have another go at it. When completed file your assignment in a place you can quickly find. The rest of the work will be done during the workshop. After the workshop you will review what you did and have the opportunity to tweak the results before the next workshop.
The success of the BOP rests on the ability of this group to direct the efforts of your organization through the implementation process. The BOP is a change process. It will require some changes in your thinking and your management technics. The exciting part is that the BOP is a methodical process that walks you and others within your company through the necessary activities and trains everyone in incremental steps where each step builds on previous steps. This allows you to change your management habits over time.
At this point in time this may seem overwhelming. However, the BOP is designed to not be overwhelming or a burden on your time or a distraction from the critical day-to-day requirements of this company. It may redirect some of your efforts and activities but at the end of the day you should have more time available to focus on those activities that provide you with the greatest results, those that are the most important.
This company is an organizational system that is trying to maintain status quo. It will take energy to overcome the inertia of this status quo. During this workshop you will gain a better understanding of organizational status quo and what needs to happen within this company to overcome this status quo. You will also understand your role as the Executive Team and the role that each of you as members have on this team.
In order for any team to be effective its members must understand the purpose for the team and be committed to its purpose. Understanding and commitment are the two most critical components when it comes to having successful teams. Without a thorough understanding of the purpose for the BOP and a vision of what success looks and feels like it is difficult for any of you or anyone in your company, for that matter to develop a deep commitment to its purpose. Without a commitment to and belief in the cause it is almost impossible to have the determination needed to lead an organization through the change process.
Many companies fail to make significant and long lasting improvements. The reason is almost always rooted in a lack of understanding and commitment among those given the responsibilities to make the desired improvements. In order for any team or individual to be successful as measured against the effectiveness of achieving the mission, the mission needs to be understood by everyone on the team. There must also be a commitment by everyone on the team to being successful. Once there is this understanding and commitment, alignment of activities will happen. This is important if your company is to accomplish what it needs to accomplish in order to achieve the mission of the BOP.
It is important that you set up a time to complete your individual assignments before the class begins. These are Quadrant II activities because they are important but on a daily basis against the Quadrant I important and urgent they can appear as not being important. The best way to manage around this is to set aside time as you would if you were in an important meeting. Then during this time complete your first pass at the questions. Then schedule another meeting with yourself to review your first pass and update your answers as needed. If you need to schedule another “meeting” get it on your calendar. In order to prevent procrastination or the need to “cram for the exam” schedule these meetings so your last meeting is at least three days before the workshop. Remember, the BOP is mission driven. It is critical that the BOP Mission Statement you and your senior staff develop is well thought through.
During this workshop you, as Owner and your senior staff will have developed drafts of the BOP Mission Statement and the BOP Vision Statement. You will have gained a fundamental understanding of Systems Theory and Thinking and will have been introduced to the five phases of the implementation of the BOP.
Due to the aggressive agenda of this workshop there will be little time during the workshop to do much wordsmithing of the draft of the BOP Mission Statement. Wordsmithing will need to happen after this workshop and before the second workshop. After the workshop the mission statement will need to be reviewed and wordsmithed as appropriate so that as Owner, with support from your senior staff you are satisfied with the message and how it is written. The best way to accomplish this is for everyone to take a step back and review the draft of the BOP Mission Statement with a critical eye. As explained in the Planning section every mission statement should address four criteria. These criteria are that a mission statement should be a reflection of who your company is and a description of how your customers, employees and owners benefit from accomplishing the mission.
The BOP Mission Statement will need to accurately and succinctly satisfy these four criteria in a way that reflects what you expect as a result of implementing the BOP. It needs to effectively articulate the reason the BOP is being pursued. It needs to explain what you want it to accomplish for the company as a whole, its customers, its employees, and yourself as Owner. It also needs to be such that it can be presented to the entire organization in a way that adequately explains to the rest of management, along with the rank and file employees the reason for the BOP and how it will benefit everyone in the company.
The BOP Mission Statement provides direction to everyone that is to be involved in the BOP. It is a guide and forms the framework around which all decisions are to be made during the implementation of the BOP. It is used as a communication tool to the rest of the organization. Therefore, it is important that the BOP Mission Statement accurately states why you are pursuing the BOP and what you expect your company to achieve through the BOP.
After the workshop, each member of your senior staff should read the draft of the BOP Mission Statement one last time and make any last minute suggestions they may have. These suggestions should be turned into you for your consideration before these drafts become final. This will ensure that all possible thoughts have been taken into consideration before the final version of the draft is released to be written for publication. Having a well thought through mission statement early on will make for a smoother and non-confusing implementation of the BOP.
After everyone on your senior staff has given you their suggestions, as Owner you will review these suggestions and decide if or how they should be incorporated into the final statement. You will then assign a committee of three individuals to perform a final edit and give you a statement that you will be able to approve. This is explained more thoroughly in the Resource section of the Project Study.
By the end of this workshop you will have created a draft of the BOP Vision Statement also. This statement paints a picture of what it looks like when the BOP is fully implemented. Whereas the mission statement is used to guide the decisions made during the BOP, the vision statement is used as a leadership tool to provide motivation for your employees. The vision statement needs to be written so that it creates emotional energy in the people within your company. The level of this emotional energy along with the leadership principles applied to the organization are major factors in determining how effectively your organization will accomplish the mission of the BOP. Therefore, it is important that the vision connects your employees emotionally to the mission statement.
The vision needs to be written in such a way that it creates this emotional energy for you and those throughout the rest of the organization. In order to help ensure that this happens each of your senior staff will also be asked to review the draft of the BOP Vision Statement and make notes concerning their suggestions as to how they think it should be refined, if at all. Everyone’s suggestions will also need to be passed on to you. Part of reviewing the draft of the BOP Vision Statement is to make sure that it uses words that, in your opinion create an emotional connection to the mission and that show your employees what they will be gaining as a result of the BOP.
As with the mission statement you will assign a committee of three individuals to perform a final edit of the vision statement and give their edited statement to you for approval. This is explained more thoroughly in the Resource section of the Project Study.
During this workshop you will also learn the fundamental concepts of System Theory and Thinking. You will understand how these concepts apply to this company, your role in this company and the role of the other employees, and how they apply to working with organizations to create the kind of change that is necessary to accomplish the mission. You will have begun to define the environment in which this company exists and the role your company plays as a system within this environment. You will have gained a better understanding of the boundaries that exist between the environment and your company. The knowledge you will have gained will help you define the inputs into the company and the outputs from the company as defined by systems theory. Understanding System Theory and Thinking is important as this company begins its journey toward the destination you defined with the BOP Mission Statement.
During the workshop you will learn and will have begun to apply some of the system laws, characteristics and principles. It is important that each of you are comfortable with your understanding and with using these terms as you go forward with the BOP.
It is recommended that you review the information on System Theory and Thinking and study the meaning of the terms that are introduced during the workshop. These terms include the three laws of organizational systems; entropy, inertia and synergy. They also include the five characteristic of organizational systems; 1) Environment, 2) Input-Throughput-Output, 3) Dynamic Homeostasis and Feedback, 4) Equivocality and Requisite Variety, and 5) Statistical Fluctuation and Covariance. Finally, they include the eight principles of organizational systems; 1) The activities within a system define the system and are interrelated and interdependent on each other; 2) The effectiveness of how an overall system functions is determined by how its subsystems function; 3) Inputs move into the system and outputs move out of the system through permeable and defined boundaries; 4) The permeability of the boundary can be controlled by the system; 5) It takes positive energy injected into the system to overcome entropy; 6) Levels of synergy are inherent in how interactive and interdependent parts of a system are with each other; 7) There are multiple ways to reach a desired outcome, in other words, there is no “one best way”; and 8) Subsystems exit within a larger system and have the same characteristics and principles as the larger system.
The focus of this first workshop is taking the first steps in the BOP. This includes creating drafts of the BOP Mission Statement and the BOP Vision Statement and to help you gain an understanding of Systems Theory and Thinking. It is also the beginning if modeling how future workshops are to be structured. This structure is important because not only is the BOP mission driven; it is also a corporate focused team building and skill development process. During the workshop you will begin to see how the process works. As the Executive Team you will learn part of the team building approach that the BOP uses as it applies to how you develop the drafts of the mission and vision statements.
You will be introduced to how the hierarchy of teams is used to accomplish the mission of the BOP. You will also be introduced to the five phases used to implement the BOP, how these phases are used during the implementation of the BOP. Phase I includes the first three workshops and involves you, the Owner and your senior staff, or the Executive Team. Phase II includes workshops four, five and six and involves the formation and training of and the activities required from the Leadership Team. The Leadership Team is formed out of member from the Executive Team. Phase III includes workshops seven through ten and involves the formation and training of and the activities required from the Management Team. The Management Team reports to the Leadership Team. Phase IV includes workshops eleven through twenty-two and involves the formation and training of and the activities required from the Project Team(s). The Project Team(s) report to the Management Team and is the people that will identify the cause behind the constraint and fix the problem.
The BOP is mission driven. One of the things mission driven means is that every team will begin by developing its charter or mission. The formation of each team at the beginning of each Phase includes a mini process similar to the process that this group used to establish the BOP Mission Statement and the BOP Vision Statement. This process will not be as extensive as the process used during this workshop because the focus of future teams will have a narrower scope than this group.
Reviewing the drafts of the BOP Mission Statement and BOP Vision Statement has a targeted purpose of refining, wordsmithing as necessary and approving the mission and vision statements that were developed during the workshop. This includes separate committees editing as necessary and presenting the Owner with a draft that the Owner can approve. This extra step helps ensure that these statements say what you want them to say and in the way you want them to say it.
Reviewing Systems Theory and Thinking involves studying the systems concepts presented during this workshop and to refresh your memory about the three laws, five characteristics and eight principles that are present in any organizational system. It will also help everyone think of ways that you can apply these laws, characteristics and principles to your understanding of how this company operates.
Just because this workshop places a lot of attention on creating a meaningful mission statement and a useful vision statement does not mean that understanding Systems Theory and Thinking is less important than the mission and vision statements to the overall success of the BOP. On the contrary, even though the BOP is mission driven, what you learn about and apply from your understanding of System Theory and Thinking is foundational to how you will approach implementing the BOP or any other business improvement process.
Toward the end of the workshop as the Executive Team you will craft a draft of an announcement that will be used to inform everyone in your company about the BOP. It will be general in nature since this is the first workshop and more detail will become available during the next two workshops. As members of the Executive Team each of you should also review this draft and share any suggestions you may have with the Owner. As the Owner you will again assign three people to a committee. This committee edits the draft of the announcement and presents you with its recommendations similar to the editing process of the mission and vision statements. This is explained more thoroughly in the Resource section of the Project Study.
As stated before, if you have any questions your Appleton Green BOP facilitator is available to help or to answer any questions you may have. Please see the Distance Learning Guide, the Tutorial Support or the How to Study guides for further help and explanation.
The BOP concept began in 2009. Mr. Erickson developed a business consulting process to help owners of small businesses improve the performance and ease of operations of their companies. The process grew into the BOP.
His consulting services initially focused on helping these owners learn how to better operate their businesses by applying sound business principles to their sales, operations, distribution, and financial management areas. Mr. Erickson’s knowledge and experience has come from years of working in various technical, managerial and executive positions in large and medium sized corporations. He decided that the best way to effectively apply these business principles was to integrate the application of Systems Theory and Thinking, the Theory of Constraints, and Transformational Leadership.
Systems Theory and Thinking apply to the way any organization operates. Organizations are systems and thus are influenced by certain laws, characteristics and principles. Change becomes easier when these laws, characteristics and principles are understood as they apply to a given organization. The Theory of Constraints applies to any organization and, in a nutshell, says that the output or performance of any organization is limited by a single constraining point. Finding and correcting this constraining point immediately improves a company’s throughput capacity and thus its performance. This means that by focusing the resources of a company on finding and fixing the constraining point, a company’s performance is quickly and efficiently improved. Transformational Leadership is a style of leadership that effectively creates focus throughout an organization by having a clear vision of what needs to be accomplished. This vision is the driver behind the leadership efforts and is effective at motivating the people throughout the organization to accomplish the improvements needed.
As his client base grew Mr. Erickson became aware that many business owners, regardless of the size or type of company were not preparing themselves or their businesses for their eventual exit from their companies. It was further determined that a business that had its key functions optimized in the way they operated and in the way they interacted with the other key functions went a long way in helping the owner prepare their company for their eventual exit. Whether an owner exits at the timing of their choosing or due to disability or death every owner will eventually exit their business. Thus, they and their business need to be prepared for this event regardless of the circumstances for their exit.
As a result of this growing awareness Mr. Erickson began to expand his approach to the way he provided consulting services. The approach evolved into four phases all interrelated and interconnected. These phases were specifically developed to help owners create the improvements needed in their business so they would have the freedom to do what they would want with their business. This four phase process guided business owners in effectively improving their business from how their business was currently operating to how it needed to operate in order to meet the owner’s goals.
The first phase was the Planning phase. This phase included a combination of Ownership Planning and Business Planning. The philosophy was that a business is basically one of several tools an owner chose to help them achieve their personal goals. Therefore, business planning was driven by the results of ownership planning. Ownership planning was the owner assessing what they want from life and how their business fits into their wants.
Planning led to the second phase, which was Optimization. During this phase the flow of work through the sales, operations, distribution, and financial areas of the company was first balanced and then systematically increased to improve the capacity, throughput and profitability of the company. This phase included improving operating processes and philosophies as well as applying cash management principles to the financial management practices so that targeted cash flow was realized from these profits.
The third phase was Building Value, which had to do with building sustainable and growing business value so the owner had various options when it came to the type of exit available to them. This phase included lessening the dependence of the business on the owner, developing managerial depth and processes, and implementing business communication tools that allowed those within the business to know what was expected of them and to give them feedback on the results of their efforts. Since any successful exit must provide the owner with the financial resources they will need after their exit, the fourth phase was Exiting. Exiting included a process of ensuring that the owner had the proper financial base and documentation in place to ensure a smooth transition and successful exit.
As Mr. Erickson applied the principles to a growing number of businesses the need for teaching change management principles became more apparent. Most people, especially those in an ownership or executive management position understand the difficulty that change brings to any organization. The concept of resistance to change is all too apparent anytime an organization goes through change. Mr. Erickson used his corporate experiences in having led change efforts in large and medium sized companies and the knowledge gained through a formal post graduate business education to expand on the processes he used.
The process started by helping a client to understand their goals and their reason for having a business. It progressed from there to helping the client understand what the business has to accomplish in order for it to meet the client’s expectations. It helped the client implement the changes needed to accomplish these expectations. It accomplished this by working through optimization and value building processes so that the business performed as needed to meet the objectives of the client.
Business Optimization – Current Position
The BOP is a corporate focused training program that effectively creates change throughout a company. One of the problems many companies have with their current training programs are they tend to focus on one area of the company. Their training focus is on improving that one area with the idea that if that area is improved the whole company should improve. This may be true to some degree for the types of programs that focus on specific technical aspects of a company such as legal, product development, financial systems and marketing. Often, however, company leadership believes the key problem lies in one area when in fact it may lie in a completely different area. When this happens, the effect from the training efforts are diminished and results in little to no real improvement in the overall performance of the company. The Business Owner ends up being disappointed and may even lose faith in investing in future training efforts.
There are two prevalent reasons training efforts fail. These reasons are that the focus is on the wrong area and the training itself involves a limited number of employees. Owners who want to see improvement in the overall performance of their companies need to implement training processes that address the company as a whole and that are deigned to find and correct the right area. The BOP does just that.
As explained in the previous section the BOP is an improvement process that starts at the top of an organization and systematically focuses the entire organization on solving the one issue that is most limiting the performance of a company. In this way the whole organization is involved at different levels and each person involved learns the improvement process as it applies to their function within the company. Focusing on discovering and solving the number one constraint is effective and efficient and allows a company to significantly improve its performance by solving the problem that is causing the constraint. It is also a way to focus everyone’s efforts on solving the most critical problem. This approach puts everyone in the same boat and rowing in the same direction.
In the fast-pace world of competitive businesses it is becoming harder to find ways to effectively increase revenues and profits and to retain qualified employees. It is becoming increasingly important that companies find ways to increase their performance while achieving a quick return on every training dollar they spend. It is also becoming increasingly important that companies create a working environment that is conducive to a high level of employee retention. Solving these types of problems are some of the benefits a company can realize by implementing the BOP.
The effectiveness of the BOP is due to the quick improvements that companies see from the BOP thus achieving a rapid return on their investment. These improvements are the result of the way the BOP is designed. One of its design features is the way it guides a company through the process of implementing change. The BOP is a process that involves employees from just about every job level beginning with the Owner and working its way through management, supervision and the rank and file employees.
Another feature of the BOP is the way it combines the application of three different, yet related theories. The first is Systems Theory and Thinking, the second is the Theory of Constraints and the third is Transformational Leadership. The BOP intertwines these established theories into a process that focuses the resources of a company to achieving a single goal. This goal is finding and fixing the problem that is most limiting or constraining a company from improving its performance.
A third feature of the BOP is the way it focuses company resources so that they are able to find and fix the problem that is most causing the constraint. Implementing the BOP involves every layer within a company’s organizational structure. The first layer is the Owner and his or her senior staff. The next layer is comprised of the managers that report to individual senior staff members. The next layer is the supervisory or staff personnel that report to these managers. The final layer is the rank and file employees who report to or work alongside these people. Using this approach allows the focus to systematically funnel down to those who have the greatest impact on solving the problem that is most affecting the performance of a company.
The BOP provides another benefit that is often lacking in many training programs. This is being able to create significant changes to the way a company performs without creating a lot resistance to change that companies often experience. Dealing with resistance to change can end up being expensive in the form of lost production and increased human resource and management issues, not to mention delays in achieving the benefits realized when the change is fully implemented.
Owners who are looking for ways to create significant improvements are also looking for ways to create these improvements cost effectively while minimizing any disruption caused by people who are not enthusiastic or cooperative. They are also looking for ways that are not disruptive because working on the wrong problems or making the wrong decisions can end up actually hurting the performance of a company rather than improving it.
The BOP is the solution for Owners who want to see their companies improve in a way that not only increases profits but also impacts customer service, quality, employee retention, ease of operations, and operating efficiencies. The BOP can also be used to help the Owner prepare for their eventual exit from their companies if this is a foreseeable goal.
The BOP is also a process that engages the employees in a way that reduces employee issues while creating skilled teams of employees that effectively and continually improve the company. This makes it easier to hire and retain employees, which reduces turnover. Reduced turnover has a direct impact on future training costs and a company’s ability to compete in today’s world of growing economies and opportunities. The BOP is a process that once learned can be repeated over and over again. It is an ongoing process that allows companies to rapidly identify and solve the current problem that is most constraining or limiting its ability to continually improve. The BOP gives companies an unsurpassed way to accelerate their performance, which can give them a competitive edge in today’s marketplace.
Business Optimization – Future Outlook
Business training in the future will face growing challenge. The team-approach the BOP uses addresses many of these challenges. The growth in the number of Millennials is predicted to increase from about thirty-three percent of the work force today to close to seventy-five percent by 2025. This increase obviously means that the percentage of Baby Boomers and the X-Generation will decrease. These changes are created by a growing diversity of values among employees. This diversity has already impacted the way companies approach their training efforts. Knowing how to implement effective training programs with a growing and diverse employee base while accomplishing company goals will continue to be a challenge.
As the worldwide economy improves, competition continues to increase. In order for companies to compete in this environment it will become more and more important for companies to focus their training efforts on skills that result in enhanced organizational effectiveness. As competition grows it will become important for training efforts be as time efficient as possible both for the trainees as well as for the company as a whole.
The speed at which technology and market trends are changing is putting increased pressure on how companies utilize their employees. In many cases, especially as technology and operating processes become more complicated, many business owners struggle with knowing where to put their training efforts. For the future, this means it is going to be more challenging for business owners and executives to know the best way to invest their training dollars. The BOP addresses this problem by giving business owners and executives a process that brings organizational resources together and points everyone toward accomplishing the same goal of effectively improving organizational performance.
Loyalty of employees toward their employers (and vice versa) seems to be waning. This is happening at the same time that competition for skilled employees is on the rise. Companies not only need skilled workers they also need organizational effectiveness to ensure that every worker is contributing to the goals and objectives of the company. Employees will continue to expect more from their employers when it comes to training and increasing their skill sets. Employee retention will become crucial to a company’s ability to function in the most cost effective manner. Companies who build employee loyalty by showing their employees that they care about them as demonstrated through enhancing job skills will have an advantage in this area over those companies that do have this attitude. The BOP team building approach creates synergy and builds job skills. This approach not only develops the skills needed but also builds loyalty and improves employee retention.
Companies are facing growing competition not only for highly skilled employees but for the company’s products and services as well. It is becoming and will continue to be more difficult for the consumer to differentiate between competing products and services. This means that a company’s organizational effectiveness, quality, service, and pricing structure will become even more important in determining its competitive advantage. The BOP is designed to enhance organizational effective, quality and service. When these factors are enhanced a company has more latitude in their pricing structure.
As we move into the future, corporate training will need to be increasingly focused on moving the whole organization toward achieving its goals. It will become more and more important to include and solicit participation from all employees from top executives to line or staff employees. One of the growing challenges will be implementing effective training in a way that creates minimal to no disruption of existing business requirements.
In order to effectively impact the performance of a company as a whole, it is becoming increasingly important that future corporate training involves people throughout the whole organization. The BOP does this. It will become more and more important to have articulated goals that are established at the top. These goals must be apparent to everyone throughout the organization and must drive the training focus. In order to have a positive effect on the whole organization, and thus improve overall performance, corporate training must be geared to the company as a whole as opposed to selected disciplines.
In order for training to become more effective new ways of integrating training processes will need to be developed. Regardless of the growth in technology, companies still need to apply time-tested principals to how they create change. These time-tested principals include the role of leadership in providing direction to an organization, the importance of teams in organizational effectiveness and the need for people to have the necessary skills while feeling they are an important part of the organization to which they belong.
The time-tested principles that the BOP uses are Systems Theory and Thinking, the Theory of Constraints and Transformational Leadership. Integrating these principles makes the BOP ideal for those companies who want to improve their overall organizational effectiveness. Because the process systematically works its way down through an organization it aligns everyone in the organization to contribute toward reaching corporate goals. It helps Owners develop, quantify and articulate goals. It helps develop varying leadership skills with individuals throughout the organization. It creates synergy among employees by developing effective team work at all levels. As a result it develops effective and efficient organizations, and it does this in a systematic way that creates little to no disruption, nor adds undue burden to any employee, from the top of the organization to the bottom.
As competitive pressure continues to increase, companies will need to continue to improve their marketing, human resource, operational, and technical areas. There are training programs that focus on these specific areas. However, they do not address organizations as the BOP does. The growing challenges that companies face will continue to be in knowing on which areas to focus their training efforts. One of the benefits from the BOP is that it can help determine which of these particular areas company leadership should focus on.
As the world changes, it will become increasingly important for companies to improve their overall organization effectiveness, beginning at the top and including people throughout the organization. The solution to improving this organizational effectiveness will be significantly helped by processes like the BOP.
As a result of going through this first workshop you will more fully understand the BOP and the potential impact it can have on your organization. The key will be to follow the process as laid out. The BOP will, along with creating improve business operations will foster more open communications and build trust throughout your organization. This means that managers will no longer just be fixated on their own area of responsibilities. It means that messages will be heard and messengers will not be shot. It means that your company will foster the attitude that everyone is in this together and rowing in the same direction. To be successful in an ever changing world will demand that companies develop more of the characteristics and culture as described above.
Thank you for enrolling in Appleton Greene’s BOP. We are sure that you will find this journey exciting and rewarding to both you as an individual and for your company as a whole.
The BOP training program is a twenty-four step process that is presented through Appleton Greene’s distant learning method. This method requires the participants who are involved in the various workshops to take more responsibility for their learning than in the more traditional training methods. With the distant learning method you will be doing a combination of group classroom learning, individual and group study and preparation outside of the class room.
This method may take some getting used to because a lot of the learning will happen outside of the classroom. This being the case, in order to be the most successful you will need to hold yourself accountable plus you will be part of teams that will hold each other accountable. This Distance Learning Guide explains how this method works and what is required on your part to be successful.
You have been assigned an Appleton Greens BOP facilitator. This person is responsible for supporting you and helping you achieve maximum benefits from the BOP. Please see the following Tutorial Support section for further explanation.
In order to effectively implement the BOP it is important that everyone involved in a workshop learn all they can prior to and during a workshop. This involves reviewing and understanding the materials presented during a workshop as well as preparing for the workshop by studying the material required prior to each workshop. All the materials available prior to, during and after each workshop are designed to reinforce what you learned during a workshop to help ensure that you are prepared for the next step in the process.
The Introduction material is designed to help each participant better prepare for the workshop so they learn more and are better able to contribute to the discussions during each workshop. Participation from everyone attending a given workshop is essential if you are to reap the most from the BOP. Some workshops will have exercises that the participants will be asked to complete prior to the workshop. If the material is not clear to you or if you need help to better understand the pre-workshop exercises you are asked to contact your Appleton Green BOP facilitator for clarification and guidance. Please refer to the Tutorial Support section for guidelines concerning the process to be used when contacting your Appleton Greene BOP facilitator.
As Team Members
In order to effectively implement the BOP it is also important that as a group everyone involved in a workshop learn all they can from the workshop and as a group be ready for your next workshop. This involves team learning and team accountability. Learning is individual but applying this learning is only beneficial if it helps the team.
Your individual learning is dependent on how you personally study and learn. Some of what you learn is applicable to you individually. Most of what you learn, however, is aimed at learning how to apply your individual knowledge to a team setting. The focus here is making sure that everyone in a workshop understands the subject matter. If you are unclear or confused you need to speak up and ask questions within the workshop setting. Your Appleton Greene BOP facilitator is available to help you or your team members clarify what is expected of you. This will need to be scheduled in advance and at a time that works for everyone involve, making it more productive for everyone and giving your facilitator proper time to prepare. Please see the Tutorial Support section for suggested timing requirements.
One of the challenges of receiving training through the distance learning method is that you are more on your own than if you are strictly working with a facilitator in a classroom setting. It is up to you to evaluate your progress. It is up to you to be truthful with yourself concerning your level of understanding of what you have been taught. If you are uncertain you need to reach out to your Appleton Green BOP facilitator or talk with others who are in the same workshop as you. You will not be given any tests in order to move on to the next workshop. It is up to you to determine your level of understanding and to be sure to ask questions about what you do not understand. This can be a trying situation for some people who are used to being given clear direction concerning their job tasks. This can also be intimidating to those who do not have as much self-confidence as others. One of the main purposes of the BOP is to create synergy through effective teamwork throughout a company. Remember, everyone is in the same boat. You are all learning together. There is no reason for any of you to feel intimidated or that you lack what others may have. Everyone is different in varying respects and possesses different skill sets. These differences are in large part what make teams so effective.
It is important that you discipline yourself to stay on track with what you are learning. If you do not stay current you will not only hurt yourself because you are not gaining the type of understanding you need but you are also hurting the other members in your team.
The distance learning method allows you some freedom to study when you want and the ability to work around a more flexible schedule. However, it does require more self-discipline to ensure you stay on course. It also requires a more truthful self-assessment than if you are in a more structured learning environment. Not only does it require a more truthful self-assessment, it requires a more open atmosphere among the team you are part of. As team members you will need to rely on each other to ensure that not only as individuals you are gaining the understanding you need but as teams you are gaining the combined knowledge necessary to make the BOP as successful as it can be.
The BOP is systematic where each monthly workshop builds on the previous workshop. It is important that participants understand the content of each workshop before moving to the next. To help ensure this happens you have been assigned an Appleton Greene BOP facilitator. This facilitator is responsible for supporting you and helping you achieve maximum benefits from the BOP. To make the best use of your time and your facilitator’s time we encourage anyone participating in a workshop to record any questions they would like for your facilitator to answer. You will need to designate a person to be the focal point to collect these questions and email to your facilitator. This person manages the communication to and from your facilitator and gives an authorized channel through which all communications travel.
Each workshop consists of six course work sections. Each section includes a course manual followed by exercises. The exercises are designed to help you apply what you learned during the course work. As questions arise during the workshop it is important that someone record these questions. Immediately after each workshop this person or another designated person needs to organize these questions using MS Word or similar type of program. The questions should be in sentences format and no more than 50 words per question. Questions should be written as distinct as possible so they fully communicate the information sought. This will enable your facilitator to effectively provide the information you are looking for. Within a day after the workshop the designated person should email these questions to your facilitator.
The designated person can simply copy and paste the questions into the body of an email. The subject line of the emails needs to read “Appleton Greene Tutorial Support Request: Business Optimization Process, Your Company’s Name, Date”.
In the body of the email and before the list of questions insert the following:
1. Appleton Greene Business Optimization Process Tutorial Support Request
2. Your Company’s Name
3. Sender’s Name
4. Date of Tutorial Support request
5. Preferred email address
6. Backup email address
7. Course manual workshop name
Upon receiving the email your facilitator will review the questions. Please understand that our facilitators are experts in multiple training programs and therefore work with multiple companies at a time. Please allow up to ten business days for your facilitator to reply to your email. Emails are always answered as soon as possible and in the order received. This ten business day window is needed to ensure that your facilitator is able to respond within a time frame that you expect. The amount of time required for a reply depends on the number of emails that are currently in your facilitator’s queue.
Since you know that the facilitator will respond within ten working days you can then schedule a time slot to review the reply from your facilitator prior to the next workshop. This routine gives you the ability to schedule further contact with your facilitator if needed. This contact can be via telephone or a go-to-meeting with your facilitator. The type of communications tools used will depend on what is needed to ensure everyone receives the understanding and knowledge expected out of the workshop.
It is recommended that you schedule your workshops on a four week cycle. This makes it easier for everyone involved to schedule their time. It is also recommended that by the end of the day following the workshop the person responsible sends the email to your Appleton Greene facilitator. This provides a consistent schedule for the facilitator which will help him or her better serve you.
The participants of the first workshop should prepare for this workshop at least three weeks prior when the first workshop is to be held. Preparation includes reading the MOST, Executive Summary, and Supporting Documents sections. Anyone who has any questions from the Introduction material should pass their questions on to the designated person. The designated person needs to be able to email these questions to your facilitator by the Friday that is three weeks before the workshop. You should pay especial attention to the Planning section of the Introduction since it explains the work that you need to do prior to the workshop.
The following is a recommended schedule outline to use during the BOP. You can tweak it based on your business requirements.
Week 1 1st Wednesday of the Month is Workshop
Next day Thursday Post-workshop email to facilitator with questions, note if asking for conference call
Week 2 Monday Schedule set for conference call with facilitator if requested (conference call can be anytime during coming two weeks)
Monday – Thursday Read Project Study section for the workshop
Prepare for next workshop by reading the MOST, Executive Summary, and Supporting Documents sections.
Friday Email questions from Project Study or pre-workshop questions to facilitator.
Week 3 Thursday Receive answers to post-workshop email from facilitator
Week 4 Thursday Receive answers to pre-workshop email from facilitator
Week 1 1st Wednesday of New Month
Monday & Tuesday before prepare for workshop material as needed
Wednesday is Workshop
Thursday Post-workshop email to facilitator with questions, note if asking for conference call
Repeat above cycle
This type of schedule gives those involved with the BOP a predictable schedule around which they can schedule their other duties. It also gives those involved time to format and submit their questions and it gives your Appleton Greene BOP facilitator a schedule that will allow him or her to respond within the required timeframe. Both are important if your company is going to stay on track with monthly workshops. Obviously, however, the needs of your business and its routines will impact the exact days, etc. that will work best for your company.
As stated earlier, the BOP is implemented via distance learning techniques. It is important that participants understand the requirements placed on them due to the nature of the distance learning process. Having said this, your facilitator is available for onsite visits and facilitation as well. This is recommended for at least the first workshop in each phase of the BOP. These phases are explained later in this workshop. An onsite facilitator may be needed at other times to ensure that the implementation of the BOP remains on track. An onsite facilitator would involve extra fees to cover travel expenses and the onsite time of the facilitator. If you desire to have your facilitator facilitate an onsite session please make special arrangements with Appleton Greene. Having your facilitator on site should not add to the amount of time required on your part.
The How to Study guide delves more deeply into your responsibilities as your organization works through the BOP. It breaks down in more detail how the participants in each workshop should prepare prior to a workshop. It helps each participant better understand and visualize what is required to achieve the full benefits from distance learning training techniques.
The following are some suggestions that will make this process enjoyable, rewarding, and beneficial to you and your organization and that will allow you to maximize the benefits you receive from the tutorial support portion of the BOP.
Prior to each workshop each participant should review the MOST in order to become familiar with the focus of the workshop. If there is any reading or other types of information recommended, participants should ensure that they are familiar with this information prior to the workshop. It is recommended that you read this material at least three weeks prior to the workshop in case you have questions that need the attention of your Appleton Greene BOP Facilitator.
If you are a participant in a particular workshop you need to agree to participate in that workshop openly and honestly with all other participants. If there are issues among members or between individuals these issues must be resolved or at least tabled during the workshop sessions. If this is difficult then an upper management person needs to sit in during the workshop to encourage and ensure that there is freedom for all the participants to be open and honest during each workshop phase.
By following the above guidelines the BOP will be productive and constructive and will bring to your company the results expected. Please use the Distance Learning and the Tutorial Support sections to their fullest.
The information contained in the Distance Learning and Tutorial Support sections is designed to help you better understand the nuances in using this structured distance learning process and how to best use your Appleton Greene BOP facilitator. This section on How to Study is designed to help you integrate your study time with distance learning and tutorial support to give you suggestions on how to learn the most from the materials presented and the workshop sessions. The results you achieve from this learning process come from implementing what you learn. The more you learn, and the deeper your understanding, the more successful the implementation will be.
The value from the BOP is the knowledge that you will gain and apply to problem identification and solving methodologies. Effective learning not only involves putting the time and effort necessary to learn the material but also going through and learning the thinking processes necessary to apply what you learn.
Effective studying requires that you understand how best you learn. Some people enjoy background music, some require complete silence; some like early morning, some like late afternoon, and some like times in between. Regardless of your preferences you will need to determine and schedule a time during which you are your most creative and a time you are most able to relax. Along with scheduling your time, you should also find a place that is away from those things that are interruptions or distractions to you. It should be a place that is comfortable and in an environment that is conducive to you being able to absorb new ideas and where you are most able to think creatively. There is no set rule or guideline to follow other than it is important that you absorb and understand the materials presented in both written format as well as the information presented during the workshops.
Studying should not be stressful. In fact it should be fun and informative. Some research recommends that you use a tablet of paper and a pen or pencil and hand write your initial notes. These studies say that we retain more of our thoughts when we hand write notes than when we type them into a computer, laptop or tablet. If this fits with who you are, you can always transfer your notes to a digital format using programs similar to Microsoft Excel or Word. Excel type programs are better if you want to be able to sort, prioritize, categorize, etc. your notes. However, being the individuals we all are, it is most important that you use a process that helps you best retain what you read and hear.
You are reading and studying to learn content as opposed to reading an enjoyable novel where you can skim over certain parts. During your study time you will be reading to learn as much detail as you can as it applies to the subject matter.
The most effective way to accomplish this is, after you have found a place where you can concentrate and not be distracted is to speed read through the material. You should read just fast enough to where you do not stop and concentrate on a specific word or sentence. The purpose of this first pass is to give you a good overview and feel for the material. Speed reading appeals to the memory part of the brain. Do not be concerned about how much you retain. You will be surprised how much of what you see actually sticks.
After you speed read through the material it is time to read for content. You accomplish this by reading a section more slowly and taking notes on what you read. You should organize your notes in three columns under the headings “Interpretation”, “Questions” and “Tasks”. The reason for these headings is to help you think through what you have read in a way that helps you explain it. This exercise leads to better learning. As you read you will want to absorb the information presented and write any questions that may arise. Finally, you will want to think through any action steps that you may want to take based on your interpretation and questions. Taking these types of notes will help you better understand the material. It will also help you better interpret what you read which will help you frame any questions you may have. It also helps you organize your thinking around what you learn so you are more able to contribute during the workshops in which you participate.
Once you have completed the content reading exercise of a section you will want to copy your notes into an Excel type program or database program so you can search, sort, and reorder your notes as you may want to do. These notes should be organized in a folder that is specifically dedicated to the training you are going through and organized so you can readily find the file you are looking for. Each person has a slightly different approach to how they organize their files. If you are having difficulty in this process your Appleton Greene BOP facilitator will be able to give you some guidance in this area. Or, you may be able to solicit help from a friend or coworker.
Pre Workshop Session
It is important that each person be well versed on the subject matter and objectives of the workshop before the workshop. This will require each participant to have an understanding of the Mission, Objectives, Strategies, Tasks, and Introduction for each workshop. This will require that each participant spend time becoming familiar with this course material prior to the workshop. Some workshops may require some specific preparation that you will need to complete before attending the workshop.
In order for a workshop to be successful each participant needs to understand the objectives of the workshop and be able to apply what they learn. This will not happen if you are ill prepared prior to a workshop. You need to do everything in your power to learn as much as you can prior to a workshop.
During Workshop Sessions
During each workshop you will be presented with course manual material and accompanying exercises to help reinforce the content from the course manual. This material is designed to complement what you study prior to the workshop. The purpose of the workshop is to solidify the content so that participants come out of each workshop with an understanding of all the material and being able to apply this understanding into definable results. In order for the workshop sessions to be the most effective it is important that every participant be able to set aside dedicated time where they can commit to being able to provide their undivided attention without being disturbed or distracted with their routine job duties.
After each workshop it will be important for every participant to review the course manual and the results from the exercises that were conducted during the workshop. This post workshop review is aided by the Project Study section presented after the Course Manual section. This review can involve both individuals and groups, depending on the content of the workshop. It is also a time where, if there is any level of uncertainty or confusion, you will need to contact your Appleton Greene BOP facilitator. Please refer to your Distance Leaning Guide and Tutorial Support information.
During this workshop you will be laying the foundation for and taking the first steps in the implementation of the BOP. You will do this by first learning how to and then developing your BOP Mission Statement and the BOP Vision Statement. In conjunction with these activities you will begin to develop an understanding and appreciation of System Theory and Thinking and how it applies to your company and the BOP.
Prior to the workshop session the Owner develops an initial draft of the BOP Mission Statement. This will be massaged during the workshop with contributions from the other participants with the expectation of producing a finalized draft of the BOP Mission Statement by the end of the workshop. Along with the BOP Mission Statement the participants will create a draft of the BOP Vision Statement. Please see the Planning section of the Introduction.
The words “Mission”, “Vision”, “Strategy” and “Goals” mean different things to different people. They are often intermingled with each other or used intermittently to mean the same things. To ensure that everyone is on the same page and understands these terms in the same way we will use the following definitions during the BOP.
A Mission defines and clarifies a purpose. A Vision paints a picture so people can visualize what it looks like when the mission is accomplished. Missions clarify, visions inspire. Strategies are the approach or game plan that you will use to accomplish the mission and thus achieve the vision. Goals are short-term targets used to keep everyone in a company on track and to measure the effectiveness of the strategies.
During the Introduction and the workshop session you will learn how Systems Theory and Thinking applies to business organizations. You will learn about the laws, characteristics and principles that apply to organizational systems. Any organization in order to produce an output requires interconnected and interrelated activities working in conjunction with each other where each activity contributes in some way to the output of the organization as a whole. In order to predict and control the output from the system, the activities within the system and how they are interconnected and interrelated with each other must be understood and controlled. The effectiveness of a system can only be improved by improving how the activities within the system are interconnected, interrelated, or both.
The laws that apply to any system are entropy, inertia and synergy. These laws have their roots in science. System Theory and Thinking applies these laws to how systems function and the processes by which systems are effectively improved. The BOP applies these to organizational systems.
Entropy is the tendency for a system’s outputs to decline when the inputs have remained the same. Activities in a system always move from a higher state to a lower state within a system unless energy is injected into the system. System inertia is the reason that systems try to maintain status quo. It’s seen as resistance within a system against change.
Synergy is when the output of the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. In an organization it is where two or more people or groups combine their efforts in a way that accomplishes more than they can separately. Synergy implies effective team work where people can get more done working together than they can when working apart. A synergistic organization is where the interaction of people, processes, procedures and policies all work together to provide an output greater than what individuals alone could produce. Entropy, inertia, and degrees of synergy exist in all systems including organizational systems.
Along with three laws every system has five main characteristics. The first is that every system is a subsystem within the environment in which it exits and is separated from its environment with a permeable boundary.
The second is “Input-Throughput-Output”. Inputs are the resources from the environment that go into the system. “Throughput” is the activities within the boundaries of the system that convert Input to Output. “Output” is the product or service the organization produces and delivers back into the environment.
The third characteristic is “Dynamic Homeostasis and Feedback”. This is where, though the system tries to change in order to better serve the environment, the activities within the system try to maintain the status quo. Feedback is the information process that either encourages the system to change (positive feedback) or reinforces why the system should not change (negative feedback).
The fourth characteristic is known as “Equivocality and Requisite Variety”. Equivocality means that information and communications are always open to various interpretations which are often in conflict and often designed to confuse or hide the truth. Requisite variety means that variety is required to overcome variety. In other words, in order to solve complex or high variety problems, the right variety of people or the requisite variety of individuals, is needed to effectively solve the problem.
The fifth characteristic is Statistical Fluctuation and Covariance. Statistical fluctuation is where the activity or throughput in any part of a system fluctuates within certain natural parameters. Covariance is the affect that fluctuations that occur in activities upstream have on the fluctuations that occurs downstream stream.
Understanding these laws and characteristics as they apply to organizations is important because if real and sustainable improvements are to be made leadership needs to address the organization as a system as opposed to a group of individuals. In order to create effective change it is important that the right type of energy be injected into the system at the right place and in the right amount.
In addition to these laws and characteristic every system adheres to eight principles. The first principle is that activities within a system define the system and are interrelated and interdependent on each other. The second principle is the effectiveness of how an overall system functions is determined by how its subsystems function. The third is inputs move into the system and outputs move out of the system through permeable and defined boundaries. The fourth is the permeability of the boundary can be controlled by the system. The fifth is it takes positive energy injected into the system to overcome entropy. The sixth is levels of synergy are inherent in how interactive and interdependent parts of a system are with each other. The seventh is there are multiple ways to reach a desired outcome, in other words, there is no “one best way”; and the eighth is subsystems exit within a larger system and adhere to the same rules, characteristics and principles as the larger system.
The purposes of this workshop are to end up with a meaningful draft of the mission statement and the vision statement for the BOP and to begin understanding System Theory and Thinking and how its concepts apply to this company.
The writing of the mission statement begins with an initial draft that you, the Owner write prior to the workshop. This draft is to clarify to your senior staff the reasons you are pursuing the BOP. The writing of this initial statement starts with you identifying your personal reasons for choosing the BOP. Identifying your personal reasons, or your personal mission, begins the process of writing the draft of the BOP Mission Statement.
During this workshop some of the ideas from your senior staff are integrated into your initial draft. The combination of these ideas leads to a draft of the BOP Mission Statement. Once the mission is articulated the BOP Vision Statement is written. The vision reinforces the mission and is the basic tool that leadership uses to inspire, motivate and lead the people within the organization toward accomplishing the mission.
Pictorially the process for this workshop looks like the following flowchart.
The BOP is a twenty four month process that systematically focuses the resources of your organization to effectively identify and solve the problem that is most constraining or limiting the throughput capabilities of this organization. It is a mission driven, corporate focused team building and skill development process that effectively improves an organization’s performance.
This workshop is the starting point for this process and begins with your initial draft of the mission statement. Prior to the workshop you will have written your initial draft of what you want the BOP Mission Statement to say. The first thing that happens during the workshop is that everyone reads your draft. This draft is then discussed among the participants who share their thoughts concerning your draft of the BOP Mission Statement. In order to make the best use of everyone’s time each participant needs to have at least answered the seven questions A – G as explained in the Planning section of the Introduction.
You as the Owner are the one that establishes the BOP mission and ensures that your thoughts are understood and supported by your senior staff. Ideally, your thoughts reflect a commonality of what your senior staff would like to see accomplished by the BOP. Following the process defined in the Planning section of the Introduction gives everyone a better understanding of how you would like the BOP Mission Statement to read.
Going through at least the last seven questions A – G will give each senior staff member a better feel for what they would like to see from the BOP. This will help them be better able to comment on your initial draft. Your initial draft defines the foundational purpose behind the BOP and tells everyone in this workshop what you are expecting. It also gives everyone the ability to compare their ideas to yours.
The most meaningful and effective mission statements are those that reflect the thoughts of everyone involved in leading your company. The results from using a process that helps everyone better understand what is to be accomplished is more likely to lead to a mission statement that is easily supported and that will better align the various disciplines within your company around organizational goals. Missions developed in this way make it easier for people to understand, connect with and support the mission. It also makes the ideas behind the mission easier and more able to be effectively communicated to those within your organization.
As important and meaningful mission statements are, mission statements by themselves tend to fall short when it comes to creating the emotion needed for people to enthusiastically strive toward accomplishing a defined mission. Meaningful mission statements are not complete until they are accompanied by a meaningful vision statement. Whereas mission statements clarify and explain the purpose, vision statements help create the emotional attachment and the visualization needed to inspire people to accomplish the mission. Mission statements speak to the head and provide the understanding as to why you are doing what you are doing. Vision statements speak to the heart and provide the emotional connection for doing what you are doing. People need both. They need to know the why and they need to see the what.
It is impossible to have an effective vision without having a well understood mission. Therefore, your BOP Mission Statement needs to effectively explain the reason you are pursuing the BOP and how this reason compliments the purpose behind your company at large. If the mission is not fully understood then you cannot paint a clear picture of what it looks like when the mission is accomplished. Without a vision that people can emotionally attach to it is very difficult for leadership to provide the inspiration required to effectively rally the people to accomplish the mission.
Another reason for having a clearly stated mission is that it is difficult to determine the types of resources that will be required to accomplish the mission if the mission is not clearly understood. During the next workshop you will be identifying two of the main resources that are required to improve business performance. These resources are business throughput capacity coupled with operating activities. It is important to understand business throughput requirements because without adequate throughput it is impossible to accomplish any mission. Knowing business throughput requirements is important because without this knowledge it is almost impossible to determine the types of operating activities that will be required to achieve the required business throughput.
The more personal a mission statement is the more support it creates. Therefore, having a meaningful and useful BOP Mission Statement begins with you understanding your personal reasons for why you want to pursue the BOP. This is why the BOP starts at the personal level of the Owner and builds with input from others to the point that you have a meaningful BOP Mission Statement. From this you then develop a meaningful BOP Vision Statement.
This exercise addresses the “Mission Development & Buy-in” step shown in the process map for this workshop. Based on the instructions given in the Planning section of the Introduction you, the Owner and your senior staff have come to the workshop prepared to develop a draft of the BOP Mission Statement. You have come prepared with your initial draft of your thoughts about the mission statement. Your senior staff should have also come prepared with at least their answers to the seven questions A – G.
Just prior to the beginning of the workshop the person assigned to write on the flipcharts writes your initial draft of the mission statement on a flipchart and tapes it to a wall for all to see. This statement should read similar to the following:
“We are embarking upon the Business Optimization Process to help (Your Company Name) provide (Answers to Question A) by (Answers to Question B) resulting in (Answers to Question C).
By implementing the BOP we will increase our customer base by (Answers to Question D) and improve our work environment by (Answers to Question E). We will increase our profitability by (Answers to Question F).
In addition, it will help us contribute to an outside cause by (Answer to Question G).”
Exercises – Process Mapping
On the top of a fresh flipchart “Question A – Top 3 Benefits” is written. Starting with a volunteer each participant gives one of his or her answers to Question A. This answer is written on the flipchart. Each participant in turn shares their answer to Question A. Each participant can only present one of their answers at a time and only if someone else has not shared a similar answer. The goal is to list at least six separate benefits.
As a flipchart sheet fills up it is removed and tape to a wall. A clean flipchart sheet is titled as a continuation of the sheet removed with a page number so that the sheets can remain organized as they are taped to a wall.
When all the unique answers to Question A are recorded on a flipchart, the last sheet is removed and taped to a wall. Starting with a fresh flipchart “Question B – How Benefits are Provided” is written across the top of the flipchart. The process used to record the answers to Question A is repeated until all the unique answers to Question B are recorded on a flipchart. This process continues until all seven questions A – G have a list of unique answers under the heading of the question.
After all seven questions have their list of unique answers everyone focuses on the answers to Question A. Everyone who has a similar answer, whether their answer is on the flipchart or not, raises their hand. The number of hands raised is counted and this number is written and circled next to each answer. The highest priority answer is the answer that has the highest number written next to, the next priority has the next highest and the third highest priority has the third highest.
Then you, the Owner comments on the top three answers to see if any answer are in conflict with what you see as your reasons for wanting to implement the BOP. Answers that complement your answer are discussed. The group may suggest modifications to the answer based on this discussion. The purpose of this discussion is to come to a consensus of what the group feels are the top three benefits this company provides.
On the white board the person writes “We are embarking upon the Business Optimization Process to help (Your Company Name) improve the way we provide (the three benefits that are determined by the above process)”. If this group is better suited to use a projector and computer this method can be used in place of the white board.
Next, everyone focuses on the answers to Question B and repeats the process. Once there is a consensus of the top three most admired ways that this company provides these benefits the whiteboard is modified by adding “by (the three methods that are most admired by this group)”.
Everyone then focuses on the answers to Question C and repeats the process. Once there is a consensus about the top three successes the whiteboard is modified by adding “resulting in (the three results that are determined by the group)”.
Everyone then focuses on the answers to Question D and repeats the process. Once there is a consensus about the top three things that this company could do to expand its customer base the whiteboard is modified by starting a new paragraph that reads “By implementing the BOP we will increase our customer base by (the three things that you feel this company could do)”.
Everyone then focuses on the answers to Question E and repeats the process. Once there is a consensus about the top three things this company could do to improve the work environment the whiteboard is modified by adding “It will improve its work environment by (the three things this company could do).”
Everyone then focuses on the answers to Question F and repeats the process. Once there is a consensus about the top one or two things that this company could do to improve its profitability the whiteboard is modified by adding “We will increase our profitability by (the three things you feel this company could do)”.
Everyone then focuses on the answers to Question G and repeats the process. Once there is a consensus about the top thing that this company could do to contribute to an outside cause, the whiteboard is modified by starting a new paragraph that reads “In addition, it will help us contribute to an outside cause by (Answer to Question G).
At the conclusion of this exercise the BOP Mission Statement should read similar to the following:
“We are embarking upon the Business Optimization Process to help (Your Company Name) provide (the three benefits from Question A) by (the three methods from Question B) resulting in (the three results from Question C).
By implementing the BOP we will increase our customer base by (the three things from Question D) and improve our work environment by (the three things from Question E). We will increase our profitability by (the three things from Question F).
In addition, it will help us contribute to an outside cause by (Answer to Question G).”
Course Manual – Process Analysis
Effective mission statements define success in a personal, clear, focused, and realistic manner. Meaningful mission statement are purpose and value driven, memorable, organization specific, doable, and based on the current situation. They communicate the root values of the Owner so that their people understand what it is that he or she wants for their company.
There is always a personal reason behind why someone wants to accomplish something. It is important to understand this reason before creating a mission statement. When the personal reasons are understood the mission statement more accurately communicates the real purpose behind an endeavor. The BOB takes this approach. It helps business Owners build a mission statement for the BOB.
People define company missions and visions in various ways. Some believe that the vision is an overarching statement that defines the overall direction for their company. People with this definition tend to blend their mission and vision into one idea. They define their vision as a dream or high level goal of what the business should achieve or become at some undefined distant point in time. People with this belief tend to either believe that the vision defines a company’s purpose and the mission more clearly defines the components of the vision or the mission is a statement of goals under the umbrella of the vision. In many situations the vision is seen as standing on its own and is unrelated to the mission statement. In other situations people combine the mission and vision statement into a single mission/vision or vision/mission statement where it is difficult to separate the “mission” portion from the “vision” portion.
The entrepreneurial dream is a powerful thing and has driven the growth of many successful companies. There are also examples however of entrepreneurs who have had dreams that have not developed into successful companies. In order for a company to be successful the entrepreneurial dream must be able to be defined so that people inside and outside of the organization understand the purpose of the company. This definition of purpose is what we define as a company’s mission. Regardless of where a company is along the growth spectrum, stakeholders of a company need to understand and believe in the mission or purpose of the company in which they are stakeholders. Meaningful mission statements do this.
Some business owners simply feel they need to have a mission statement and/or vision statement because it is the thing to do. They do not fully believe in their importance. They probably read somewhere that every company should have one or someone of higher influence told them they had to have one. These types of mission and/or vision statements do not effectively serve the purpose they are designed to serve. They are often generic and confusing. They do little to communicate the purpose of the organization and they do little to inspire or motivate the workforce to excel in their performance.
People with this attitude are interested in creating a statement so they have a statement they can show. They do not place importance on understanding the real purpose behind the statement. In these situations management usually comes up with a flowery, generic sounding mission and/or vision statement that may sound pretty but does a poor job of communicating who the company is, why it exists and what it wants to accomplish. Managers with is attitude may spend an inordinate amount of time beating their mission and/or vision statements to death. They spend too much time wordsmithing a statement and not enough time focusing on understanding or articulating their purpose for their business.
Other mission and/or vision statements fail or are fairly meaningless because they are developed in the “Ivory Tower”, made to look pretty to impress people and then displayed for all to see. As a result, the people in organizations where this occurs do not understand nor are they inspired by the mission and/or the vision statement. They see these statements as something handed down “from-on-high”. The people do not buy into them and they certainly do not relate with or take any ownership because to them. What they read is to them just a statement that is “from-on-high”.
When the mission and/or vision statement falls into one of the above categories they do not provide guidance for a company or drive the decision making process. In these cases it is better to not have a statement at all. Coming up with a disingenuous mission and/or vision statement not only wastes management time; it can actually have a negative effect on those that management is trying to impress.
Mission and/or vision statements in order to be effective need to become an integral part of an organization. They must be part of what drives the organization. They must be a unifying force that provides direction. They must help create the energy that drives a company forward.
We believe that a mission statement and the vision statement serve two distinct but complimentary purposes. A good mission statement clarifies and communicates the purpose behind something. A good vision statement inspires and motivates people to accomplish the mission. Both are equally important and when developed together for these purposes are meaningful and important to a company’s success.
Mission statements define the purpose and provide direction whereas vision statements show the outcome of the efforts and provide inspiration and motivation. Owners develop mission statements to communicate why they are doing what they are doing. These statements explain why people are being asked to do what they are being asked to do. Leaders share the vision with their followers so their followers become emotionally attached to and engaged in accomplishing the mission. The vision allows followers to see what the end result looks like so they believe that accomplishing the mission is doable and rewarding.
Managers can manage tasks without a vision but leaders cannot lead a group of people without a vision. People follow the vision of a leader and not necessarily the person. Without a vision there is nothing around which people can rally and there is little incentive to expend the energy required to accomplish the mission.
This is why the BOP uses the process it does by first developing the mission statement for the BOP and then developing its vision statement.
This exercise addresses the “Vision Development & Buy-in” step shown in the process map for this workshop. It follows the development of the BOP Mission Statement. The purpose of the BOP Vision Statement is to inspire and challenge you and the rest of the organization to accomplish the mission. As stated earlier, a vision needs to be written in a way that allows people to be able to emotionally and visually grasp hold of the mission statement. A good vision statement creates the feelings that are necessary to motivate people to action. Vision statements let people see what it looks like when the mission is accomplished. They provide the realism and create the belief in the people that accomplishing the mission is doable and rewarding.
Because the vision statement paints a picture and identifies with people’s emotions it is important that as you develop the vision statement you use words that people can picture, identify with and become attached to. Where the mission statement uses conceptual based words the vision statement uses emotion based and image based words. These types of words should help create an emotional attachment to and a mental image of what it feels like and looks like when the mission is accomplished. These emotion based and image based words need to clearly depict the end result in a way that creates the energy necessary for everyone to rally together to accomplish the mission.
The challenge is to identify meaningful words that will inspire everyone within your company to rally behind and enthusiastically support the implementation of the BOP. Therefore, the process you are going to use to develop the vision statement begins with attaching emotion based and image based words to the results expected when the BOP mission is accomplished. This exercise uses the BOP mission and develops a list of emotion based and image based words that are then used to develop the BOP Vision Statement.
Exercises – Process Analysis
To begin each of you are to write across the top of a fresh tablet of paper or electronic devise, depending on what works best for you, the word “Emotion Words” and under this write “Personal”. The next step is for each of you to think about this company in the after math of accomplishing the BOP mission. As you think about the after math quickly write down no more than three words that immediately come to mind that express how you will feel. Do not over think. There is no right or wrong answer. Just write down the first words that come to mind as fast as you can.
Next write “Mgmt/Tec” on your tablet and quickly list no more than three words that express how you think managerial, supervisory and technical employees throughout the organization will feel when the mission is accomplished.
Then write “Staff/Support” and quickly list how you think staff, line and support personnel throughout the organization will feel when the mission is accomplished.
Now write on your tablet “Image Words” and under this write “Personal”. Picture three images that visually come to your mind as you look forward to accomplishing the mission. Quickly write down no more than three of these images. Again, do not over think. There is no right or wrong answer. Just write down the first images that come to mind as fast as you can.
Next write “Mgmt/Tec” and quickly list how you think the company will look to the managerial, supervisory and technical employees throughout the organization when the mission is accomplished.
Then write “Staff/Support” and quickly list how you think the company will look to staff, line and support personnel throughout the organization when the mission is accomplished.
After everyone is finished the person who is responsible for writing on the flipcharts writes at the top center of one chart “Emotion” and under “Emotion” makes three column headings: “Personal”, “Mgmt-Tech”, and “Staff-Line”.
Starting with a volunteer this person shares an emotion word he or she wrote on their tablet under “Personal”. This emotion word is recorded on the flipchart under “Personal”. Following this person, the next volunteer shares an emotion word he or she wrote down. If an emotion word has already been written on the flipchart it is not written down again.
Once everyone has contributed their emotion words under “Personal” a volunteer shares an emotion word they wrote for “Mgmt-Tech” employees. This word is written under “Mgmt-Tech” on the flipchart. The process continues for Mgmt-Tech and for “Staff-Line”.
As a flipchart sheet fills up it is removed and tape to a wall. A clean flipchart sheet is titled as a continuation of the sheet removed. A page number is written on the sheet so the sheets can remain organized as they are taped to a wall. After this process is completed the last sheet is removed and taped to a wall.
The person at the flipchart writes at the top center of a clean flipchart “Image” and under “Image” the three column headings “Personal”, “Mgmt-Tech” and “ Staff-Line” as before. Starting with a volunteer this person shares an image word he or she wrote on their tablet under “Personal”. The process used for capturing the emotion words is repeated for your image words. After the entire list of image words are written on the flip chart the last sheet is removed and taped to a wall.
The next step is for each of you to write “Customers” on your tablet and then quickly list how you think the company looks to your customers after the BOP is implemented. Again, do not over think. There is no right or wrong answer. Just write down as fast as you can the first three words that come to mine.
Next, quickly list up to three changes you think will be seen as positive changes by your employees and those that will be best received. Use image based words as much as possible.
The person at the flipchart uses a clean flipchart and writes “Images” on the top center. Under “Images” he or she writes the column headings: “Customers” and “Employees”.
Using the same process as earlier, each of you shares your image words under “Customers” and your thoughts on the changes you think will be seen as positive changes by your employees. These are listed under “Employees”.
After these steps are complete everyone discusses the words written on the flipcharts. If there is consensus by this group concerning words that should be removed these words are crossed off. Once there is consensus that the remaining words on the flipcharts are meaningful any sheet still on the flipchart is removed and taped to a wall. These flipchart sheets will be used in the next exercise.
Course Manual – Process Re-Design
Along with developing drafts of the mission and vision statements this workshop introduces you to the meaning and the application of the first concept of the BOP, System Theory and Thinking.
Every business is an organization and every organization is a system. Understanding this gives each of you an overall framework within which to better understand why your company functions the way it does. It also helps explain why every company faces the challenges they face when they try to improve the way they operate. The ultimate goal of every organization is to produce a desired outcome. Since companies are organizations it is important that everyone understands your company from an organizational system perspective. There will be a lot of words and their definitions introduced in this workshop. These words are not intended to confuse. Rather they are intended to give you a basis from which you can gain a perspective on what an organizational system is and how to apply this perspective to give you a better understanding of your company. The meaning and application of these words will become more apparent as we progress through the BOP.
The old adage that we cannot manage people but only the systems in which they work is true. This is why applying System Theories and Thinking when making improvement is so important. The focus must be on changing the system rather than just focusing on changing the people without addressing their role as part of a system.
This obviously does not mean that people do not need to be supervised. Nor does it mean that people do not impact the way your company performs or that some do not need to change. What it means is that your employees are part of a system as are other parts such as work rules, scheduling, work order or design processes, company policies, management processes, etc. As part of the system the way your employees are able to perform are impacted by the laws, characteristics and principles that affect your organizational system.
Your employees are the most important part of your company. As such how they are utilized is critical to your success. How they are treated determines if and how they will either support your efforts or fight against them. The way they are utilized affects how they are able to perform their role in the system. Their understanding of their place within the organization and where the organization is headed is important because it better enables employees to contribute to the success of the BOP. They can either be a catalyst that helps the change process or then be a determent to the change process.
This is the reason the BOP includes the concepts of System Theory and Thinking in this first workshop. It is important that you understand your organization as a system, a system that adheres to certain laws, characteristics and principles. There are three laws, six characteristics and eight general principles associated with any organizational systems.
The three laws are organizational entropy, inertia and synergy. The way an organization functions is determined by how well the organization controls the rate of entropy and the effects from inertia. They either do this effectively or they allow the influence of entropy and inertia to erode the performance of the organization. Synergistic organizations control the effects of entropy and overcome inertia far more effectively than non-synergistic organizations.
The six system characteristics are Environment, Input-Throughput-Output, Dynamic Homeostasis and Feedback, Equivocality and Requisite Variety, and Statist