Developing High-Performance Work Teams Edited by Steven D. Jones and Michael
"From Supervisor to Team Manager"
is a case study by Allen Ferguson, Amy Hicks, and Steven D. Jones. It can
be found in the book Developing High-Performance Work Teams edited
by Steven D. Jones and Michael M. Beyerlein. It involves the Eastman Chemical
Company of Kingsport, Tennessee and their 1989 decision to move to team management
at the Kingsport headquarters. It illustrates an inside view as to how a traditional
supervisor was transformed into a team leader, by overcoming barriers and
going through critical training. This study provides landmarks in the development
process of a team leader, and other supervisors going through the process
may recognize the stages. It also provides information on the impact this
change had on the entire organization.
Because supervisors must take on more responsibility
and receive less recognition, they will feel threatened by the transition
It is important for management to provide direction,
guidance, and support for the actions of the team managers, but also to
make them accountable for their actions to increase feelings of personal
responsibility for the teams success.
Managers must receive training all through the transition
process, from computer training and cost management, to workplace communication
skills and other interpersonal training.
The supervisorís commitment is vital to help crews accept
the new structure; fear and lack of understanding will foster a resistance
to the change.
The new team culture must be compatible with the traditional
culture if the entire organization has not yet made the transition.
Interpersonal skills training is important to the new
crew teams, since they are communicating and interacting more.
New management roles include mentoring, coaching, and
facilitating information. Team managers must also be process oriented and
have meetings to clarify roles team roles.
"How Self-Managed Sales Teams Led
to Better Sales in a British Company" is a case study by Roger
Woodgate of ABA Consultants, and Niall Trafford and Angela Stephens of Marks
& Spence. This case study details the implementation of teams as part
of a change to an empowered work culture at Mark & Spence, a global retail
organization. They created a selling culture where every sales assistant is
allowed to anticipate and respond to customer needs while implementing their
own ideas about improving sales. This study illustrates their pilot program
and its problems and outcomes, as well as the organizational impact this transition
Do not define what teams should do, materials and resources
should only stimulate ideas.
Do not centrally impose models of change; let each store
approach the initiative differently.
Management must give genuine responsibility for change
to the staff members and to support them through the difficult times.
All staff, even those the initiative is not focused
on must be briefed and involved in some way or they may, innocently, sabotage
the change effort.
For real change to occur, management must hear from
the organization that it is all right for the teams to challenge rules,
policies, and procedures.
Credibility is added by having those directly involved
with a pilot activity compile training materials and resource guides.
To help generate new ideas and to keep the initiative
sustained and energized, membership in the teams must be changed every 4
to 5 months.
Teams must be composed of peers to allow them the freedom
to genuinely contribute without worrying that their ideas will be seen as
stupid or not achievable.
"Organizational Transformation for
Effectively Implementing a Team-Based Culture" is a case study
by Ed Rose, Steve Gilmore and Ray D. Odom. It involves the Harris Semiconductor
manufacturing company and their strategy for managing change during team implementation
and sets a standard for a proactive approach to change. The study includes
the four stage model that recognizes how psychological reaction to change
can be managed.
The development of an effective management to change
strategy starts by recognizing that now of change, management has little
control over predisposed feelings, sense of personal history, historical
events, and cultural beliefs.
Those closest to the work know best how to perform and
improve their jobs.
Most employees want to feel they own their jobs and
are making meaningful contributions to the effectiveness of their organizations.
Teams provide possibilities of empowerment that are
not available to individual employees.
Organizational changes require time and energy to be
successful and the implementation must be nurtured and supported.
The heart of every continuous improvement
activity is statistical process control.
is a case study by Berkeley J. Emmons which discusses the Canadian Imperial
Bank of Commerce and their implementation of teams viewed as a planned organizational
change. They began teams during reorganization and downsizing and the case
study includes the results of this process.
Clearly understood and articulated business reasons
for moving to a team-based environment are required before starting the
All levels of management must be fully committed to
teams before starting.
Most employees intrinsically buy into the principles
of employee involvement.
Training is more effective when delivered just-in-time
rather than the conventional approach of training everyone in everything.
Communication of work in progress, as well as the final
result, will increase buy-in and ownership of changes.
Baseline measures are a must if improvements are to
Leadership evolution must precede team evolution.
There must be a balance between a structured approach
and employee creativity within boundaries.
The implementation process takes a great deal of patience
and expectations must be managed.
"Are those Team Meetings Gonna Make
You Money?" is a case study by Stephen D. Hill. This study
discusses the implications of creating teams because of economic hardship,
and how one cross-functional team actually went to the customer to increase
sales. This study details their training and formation and the results of
Commitment is needed from the companyís leadership and
the individual team members o keep them from giving up prematurely, due
to negative individuals.
Leaders and followers in other fields can make valuable
contributions to improve organizational processes: Donít underestimate the
Production Supervisors will need support and direction
as they deal with new expectations and realities.
Teamwork requires a consistent, long term perspective
and should be viewed as a function, not another thing to do.
To succeed, team members need a meaningful, compelling
purpose to reach their full potential.
"The Facilitatorís Role in Team Breakthroughs"
is a case study by R. Glenn Ray and Karen Stapleton which explores the BorgWarner
Automotive company of Gallipolis, Ohio, and the effect of a facilitator had
on teams and the organization as a whole. Included in the study, are examples
of barriers to team implementation, the development of the facilitator, including
some of the techniques used.
A critical factor in enabling the transfer of a facilitatorís
training to the workplace is the immediate practice of the newly acquired
Small successes build the foundation to culture change
Facilitators must have positive, supportive mentors
for advice, and develop the appropriate skills, such as communication skills,
teaching and coaching skills, and knowledge of problem-solving techniques.
Qualities needed to be an effective facilitator are:
respect for all employees, assertiveness, persistence, desire to take risks,
a positive outlook, caring, a willingness to share information, honesty
and integrity, and a willingness to deal with conflict.
Facilitators must earn credibility and trust with every
A facilitator must be willing and able to practice the
skills taught in the training program immediately upon returning to the
The company must support the facilitator as they practice
The facilitator must internalize the communication concepts
involving nonverbal communication and small group processes.
"Integrated Health-Care Support Teams"
is a case study by Carrie McHale. In this study, the implications of integrating
formerly separate hospital departments and the development of teams during
reorganization are discussed. The different training efforts that were utilized
are detailed, and the cost savings by the organization are included.
All levels of leadership should be involved in the redesign
Leaders should communicate information consistently
to all employees, so everyone involved hears the same information.
Strong, motivated leaders are required in a successful
change management program, and should already be practicing basic skills,
such as time management, task prioritization, and handling difficult employees.
All leaders should be required to participate in a change
management workshop before redesign begins.
A thorough analysis of readiness to change at the employee
level should occur.
Time should be gives to test the true effectiveness
of a design structure before trying alternative designs.
"Building a Team Measurement and Feedback
System to Drive Performance" is a case study by Don Schilling.
The American Paper Company developed a process to measure the performance
of their teams. The performance measure, in the form of scorecards, are aligned
with the company objectives and provide a vehicle for feedback, goal setting
and problem solving to drive performance improvements. The study includes
information on all of these issues, their enhancements, and the results of
A run chart should be constructed for each performance
indicator to facilitate identification of trends or other patterns of performance.
Where possible, scales should be standardized to permit
Following the performance review, the teams should engage
in problem solving or activities directed at improving targeted performance.
Measurement and feedback play a greater role at the
team level than visions, missions, and strategies.
Setting more than one goal gives management a means
to communicate their expectations via the long-term goal, while providing
an opportunity for participative goal setting by the team via
the short-term goal.
"Strategic Planning and Performance
Measurement in an Academic Team" is a case study by Beverly
G. Burke, Sharon L. Wagner, and Judith L. Van Hein. This study was performed
at Middle Tennessee State University, and describes how a team in an academic
setting developed its own performance measures, and the efforts and results
over a four-year period.
Team development is an ongoing process in which there
will be mistakes and self-correction.
As the initial, obvious problems are addressed, more
difficult, complex problems emerge. These bring crisis points in which team
members fear failure, but working through these crisis points is a sign
of successful team functioning.
Planning and a performance feedback mechanism are necessary
for high performance, because they continuously guide efforts.
Self-created teams are possible and can reach high levels
of performance, but they need a high level of expertise.
Teams must question assumptions and be willing to break
traditional patterns of behavior in order to achieve the exceptional accomplishments
of a high-performance team.
Teams need a radical goal to stimulate the excitement
and urgency necessary for peak performance.
"Reach Out and Touch Your Team: Development
of a High-Performing Virtual Team" is a case study by Matthew
J. Ferrero and Donna Lewis. This case details the building of a virtual team
for the Internal Revenue Service and the issues associated with having a team
spread out 800 miles. This study also discusses the leadership issues and
Healthy team formation is not possible if there are
any problems with leader selection, there will be frustration, anger and
suspicion until the feelings are aired and the issue is resolved.
Even when team members are distanced it is possible
to have meetings and share information, either by e-mail, conference calls,
or teleconferences on an electronic bulletin board.
For measures and feedback, a rating scale can be completed
by customers on three main areas: the consulting process, consultant effectiveness,
Support and investment by management at all levels will
provide an opportunity for the team to excel.
"Developing an Empowered Work Team"
is a case study by Bob Carroll. This study discusses the 1987 development
of an empowered cross-functional team, through management intervention. It
describes the actual interventions used during critical times during a five-year
period and the major improvements that were made to produce an exceptional
product from a troubled one.
The team should be composed of individuals who have
a common task and who must interact with one another to accomplish this
Have several different meetings each with different
purposes including an overview meeting, continuous improvement meeting and
a meeting to set objectives and constraints. The study gives great detail
into each of these meetings and their purposes.
Nothing is more destructive to the team development
process than for the team to repeatedly work up improvements only to be
told it violates some rule, requires some management approvals they did
not know about, or does not meet some management expectation, so during
the first 3 or 4 meetings, the team must be given a very clear set of tasks
to accomplish and information on all their constraints; legal, organizational,
contractual, and managerial.
Since cross-training eliminates the need for part-time
support personnel, empowered teams force job enlargements.
The objective of training should be to give the team
the skills it needs when it needs them, not before.
Teams can grow, only by developing the ability to solve
its own problems, make its own decisions, and manage its own activities.
"Cross-Functional Support Teams in a Manufacturing
Environment" is a case study by Diane Hertel and Susan Schober
Murray. In this study, the restrictive union agreements, hierarchical management
structure, and obsolete equipment and systems were part of a problem that
was solved when the company relocated and instigated cross-functional support
teams. This study includes the definition and design of the teams as well
as a case example.
When creating an Information Systems support team, train
employees from different areas, then send them back out into their functional
teams to train other members, thus creating an IS team that will allow them
to sidestep an organizational dependence on either the supplier or the IS
To implements cross-functional teams; develop a mission
statement and boundaries, establish team objectives and measurements, define
team roles and responsibilities, identify team procedures, assign priorities
and accountabilities, and identify resources needed, including training.
Management must give up some control or trust their
employees more, or teams will have problems with management and get off
to a slow start.
Managers seemed to have the most difficulty allowing
teams to take charge in their area of expertise, but where the teams were
allowed to, they rose to the task and learned what they needed to know.
"High Performance Teams in the Construction
Industry" is a case study by Kathleen Chapman and GiGi Gerson
which involves the BE&K Construction company and their problem of
locating enough qualified workers. One of the challenges of developing high-performance
work teams is that these workers are only hired for the duration of a project,
usually 6 to 24 months. To combat these problems, BE&K decided to design
a high-performance work team model specifically for BE&K Construction.
This study illustrates the effectiveness of the team, its necessary modifications
and its implementation on a larger project.
Teams may not be able to control certain factors if
the company is not the primary contractor.
Commitment to and implementation of comprehensive work
team curriculum and continuation throughout the project is necessary, because
leaders and members did not get the work team training needed to see profound
and universal behavior change, and new hires were left out of initial training.
Since an end-of-project incentive is not enough to attract
the best workers, offer travel/lodging per diem, or higher pay scale.
Not every worker is suited to work in a work team environment,
use work team selection processes.
Extensive use of a multicraft approach will improve
Job planning should have input from team leaders and
Employ an extensive measurement system including predata
to show value of the process.
"TwinStar, an International Joint
Venture" is a case study by Ronald Shenberger. In this study,
Hitachi, a Japanese company, and Texas Instruments, a US company, form a joint
venture into the semiconductor industry and implement work teams. Culture,
leadership, recruitment and selection, and training are all issues addressed,
as is the concept of Total Quality Management. Attrition is still a problem
faced by the company.
Leaders must demonstrate less desire to control and
more desire to lead through influence and participation.
By providing opportunities for the employees to grow
in both depth and breadth, the organization will stay flat.
Be careful while participating in cross-cultural communication.
Determine effectively that everything is understood on both sides.
When two companies merge, be certain that process definition
is the same.
It is important to define in-process customers and who
needs to be involved early, including suppliers.
Define the major objectives up front and understand