Implementing

 

1.      Introduction

 

Having set targets and planned the schedule of activities to achieve them, and thought through the process, it is now necessary for managers to implement their plans by organising both human and physical resources to follow the plan to reach the target.

 

One does this by considering the tasks that have to be done and deciding on the resources needed to accomplish these by the planned method.  These are:-

 

·    Equipment

·    Materials

·    Finance

·    Human

 

This might result in purchasing materials and equipment, raising finance, and recruiting people with appropriate knowledge, skills and attitudes (KSA).  However, in reality it is often the case that one has to make do with what is available.  This might mean that you adapt your planned work method and/or train the people you have. 

     

2.      Communications      (  Also see the article on "Interpersonal Communications" )

 

Trained or not, the most important factor in organising, is effective communications, to ensure everybody knows what they are doing.  Where possible, it is best to brief your team as a group rather than individually.  You do not have to rely solely on your voice, for visual aids are helpful such as; flip charts, providing each person with a handout or giving computer based presentations.  Note with the latter there is a danger of making them too complex and unreadable because the text on each slide is too small.

 

3.      Commitment

 

As well as getting the message across, effective communications also involves the receiver being able to respond favourably to the message.  In other words a manager needs to have committed followers.

 

A number of factors affect this level of commitment, all are inter-related:-

 

·    Motivational drives of the followers.

·    Personality: of the followers, as individuals and as a group, of the manager.                    

·    The leadership and persuasion skills of the manager

·    The design of the job

 

4.      Motivational Drives

 

Studies show that human beings have certain drives in common that motivate them into action; they are usually put into five categories:-

 

·    Physical - the basic survival needs for food, drink etc.

·    Security - the need for a sense of security, that things will be reasonably stable.

·    Social - the need to be accepted by others, the need to feel that you belong.

·    Self-esteem - the need for self-regard, to feel good about oneself.     

·    Self-actualisation - the need to gain a sense of achievement, self-satisfaction, to feel                            turned on to life.

 

The original concept by Abraham Maslow stated that these drives would be stimulated in order, with the physical being first and having to be satisfied before the next drive would be a factor.

 

In reality people are much more complex, for their moods and predominant drives can fluctuate even during a single day.  The way managers can use this knowledge is to tap into these drives to stimulate activity.  Many techniques have been used by managers over the years to stimulate work activity.  For example:-

 

·    The whip, rewards (such as money) - affects the physical drives.

·    The threat of being fired, rewards (such as money) - affects security needs.

·    Putting someone into a "good" group, rewards (such as money)   - affects social needs.

·    Praise, recognition, rewards (such as money) - taps into self-esteem needs

·    Providing interesting work into which a person can grow - helps self-actualisation needs,

 

For these techniques to work there are certain other factors one needs to remember:-

 

·         Expectations - the person must believe that there is a real prospect of gaining the reward being offered.

·         Perceptions - sometimes people do not understand their real needs therefore they may not see the advantages of certain potential reward                                              

·      Individual motivational level - although these five drives are probably in all of us, individuals will be more receptive to different drives than others, for example the need for security.  Therefore different motivational methods will work differently for different people. 

 

5.      Personalities

 

As well as having different motivational drive strengths, people's personalities and their attitudes towards work, the people they work with, and their relationship with their manager will affect commitment.

 

For instance, studies on groups show that morale and the standards the group have set themselves are of great importance.

 

6.      Leadership and Persuasion Skills of the Manager

 

In order to be good leaders, managers, need to be Situational Leaders. This is where managers adapt their leadership style to fit the situation.

 

The situation is largely determined by the level of commitment and competency the group or individual has towards the task in hand.  For instance, workers who have the ability to perform the task and who are motivated, need a manager who will let them get on with the job.  Workers who have problems in understanding how to do a task need a much more directive approach.  Workers who are poorly motivated are likely to need a manager who will handle the human relations problems involved.  For more details see the works by Hershey and Blanchard. Also Saville Consulting’s Leadership Report derived from their “Wave” personality questionnaire is based on Situational Leadership Theory.

 

 In addition to this it is important to have a good "power base".  This is the source of influence the person has over another and can be of several forms.

 

·         Usually the manager has some form of "Coercive Power" to make people work, however, this just leads to people "having" to work rather than wanting to and therefore it is not much help in terms of commitment. 

 

·         Managers also have "Position power" that stems from a general acceptance that they are entitled to give orders.  However, once again, this will not give much commitment for long. 

 

·    "Reward power" is more useful, and often the manager can help here.  Rewards do not always have to be money or promotion but can be giving praise and recognition, showing the individual is important by discussing work issues with each person and trying to give the job meaning and interest. 

 

·    "Expertise power" is also important for managers need to be credible in the eyes of the followers.  Therefore it is important that the managers have some strong competencies either technically or managerially. 

 

·    "Charismatic power" this is when people are willing to follow someone because there is something almost magical about them.  Although useful, this is not necessary.  In fact on its own it can be dangerous for often charisma without any rewards for the followers tends to be short lived. 

 

The manager also needs to develop persuasion skills.  Persuasion methods are many, some are more successful than others.  These include:-

 

·    Threats

·    Rewards

·    Reasoning

·    Getting participation

·    Being enthusiastic

·    "Selling" to the person's value system

·    Unfreeze, move, refreeze ( ref. K Leven)

·    Using the concept of "triggers" and "reinforcers"

 

Often these are used in combination. 

 

Threats - this has already been mentioned under power, it can work, but it makes reluctant followers.  Often potential threat is more valuable than a real one, for once the threat is carried out it can often lose much of its power as a motivator. 

 

Rewards - Again this has already been mentioned.  Rewards or "positive strokes" are very powerful.  Especially powerful is praise.  This is demonstrated in the book "The One Minute Manager".

 

Reasoning - This can be very powerful if you can demonstrate a good logical reason for doing something, especially if you can prove it mathematically.  However, often reasoning and emotions are closely linked.

 

Participating - Sales people know that if they can get a person involved with whatever they are trying to sell them there is a better chance of success.  Examples are:-

 

·    Free trials.

 

·    Getting the potential buyer into discussions about their wants, asking questions   where the likely answer is "yes".  You can do the same with your staff by involving   them in decisions.  For example, the layout of a room, resources required, etc.

 

·    "Empowering" people, which can be seen as a form of participation.

 

Being Enthusiastic - an important element in persuasion is "cognitive balance".  In other words the workers should believe that you believe in what you are "selling".  Therefore you need to show enthusiasm. 

 

Selling to a person's value system - as mentioned emotions are often involved in a persuasion situation, not just logic or reasoning.  Therefore you must be aware of what appeals to a person.  One or more of the following value systems seem to affect people:

 

·         Artistic - if a person is strong in this and you want to persuade them to buy a car would concentrate on looks and design. 

 

·         Practical/Economic - for example concentrate on fuel consumption, repair cost, insurance premiums, resale value, ease of purchasing, delivery, etc.

 

·      Societal- concern for society e.g.  environmental effect of the car.

 

·      Political - status e.g. we often do not admit this when justifying a purchase but in fact it is a powerful factor - who would want to buy a Mercedes car that did not look like one?

 

·     Scientific/Theoretical - e.g. concentrate on the type of engine, drive, electronics, suspension etc. 

 

Freeze, Melt, Refreeze - This is a technique that is often used in overcoming resistance to change, and is based on the fact that before people will change, they need to be dissatisfied with their current situation.  This is made up of our perception of ourselves in relation to the outside world.  Therefore the first step of the persuader is to disconcert a person's own self-image.  This is done by withdrawing the social support we all need to constantly reinforce this self-image.  For example the way we view certain foods. 

 

Once people start feeling dissatisfied, they are said to be in a "melting" phase.  It is then possible for a persuader to offer a solution to the person's dilemma.  If the solution is accepted it is then very important for the persuader to support the person in this decision in order to make them feel good again, rather than slip back into self-doubt.

 

Triggers and Reinforcers – ( ref Skinner) This is based on the idea that a person's behaviour is a reaction to triggers, and that this behaviour will continue if it is reinforced by some sort of reward.

 

Therefore we should be aware of what triggers desirable and undesirable behaviour in a person, and use only the appropriate triggers.

 

We also should make sure that we are not reinforcing undesirable behaviour by rewarding it in some way, and discouraging desirable behaviour by not rewarding it. Rather, we should ensure that desirable behaviour is seen by the person as being worthwhile and undesirable behaviour has being personally worthless.

 

Design of the Job

 

Although under the heading of "commitment", this is in fact a vital element in the whole process of organising and implementing, for emphasis now is on developing the optimal "socio - technical system".  This means ensuring that the job is designed in such a way that it both gives a high motivational potential score (MPS) and is ergonomically designed to make the maximum use of the necessary human resource. 

 

Ergonomics involves ensuring that the human "machine" is properly served, for example comfortable chairs, right height of desk or equipment, well designed tools, items in easy reach, good food etc. 

 

The MPS has developed from studies of motivation.  Herzburg's research has shown that there are two main factors to be considered:-

 

The Context of the job (hygiene factors) - such as conditions of service, relationship with the manager, physical conditions, pay. 

 

These items are very important for if they are wrong they are a source of great dissatisfaction.  However, if they are right they will not motivate people to work enthusiastically, rather people will perform to a standard sufficient to avoid losing these benefits.

 

The Content of the job (motivators) - in order to get people really enthusiastic and keen, the job itself needs to be intrinsically interesting.

 

This has led Hackman to develop the Motivational Potential Score (MPS) of a job.  This is based on judging how much of the following characteristics are contained in the job: 

 

·    Meaning - which comes from skill variety, task identity, task significance.

·    Autonomy - leading to a sense of responsibility

·    Feedback - so people know how well they have done.

 

Naturally this means that managers have a vital part to play for they can influence all these characteristics.

 

Summary

 

The classic video called "Where There's a Will" (Video Arts) summarised the above by saying that the job of managers is to give their workforce certain types of confidence:-

 

Confidence in the value of their job:-

Explaining the context of the job.

Setting an example of a positive attitude to the job.

Stressing the importance of the job.  

Confidence in their values as individuals

Challenging them to realise their potential.

Praising them when it is deserved.

Showing concern for their welfare.

 

Providing Confidence in their value as a team, helping employees to:-

Feel as a team

Think like a team

Work like a team    

   

Developing Systems

 

The thinking involved in project management, method study, job design and Process Management should be used to ensure that the work to be done is arranged in a systematic way so that activities of one person fit neatly into the work of the next.  The classic example is a car production line.  However, an oil refinery works in a similar way with the raw materials going in at one end, it being treated in certain ways, and the product coming out at the  other end.  Japan has developed the concept of the "U" shape line and America is developing computerised integrated machines.

 

In a similar way the work of a section should be following a systematic path, unfortunately, some sections just operate in an ad-hoc fashion with no co-ordination.  In other words the "left hand does not know what the right hand is doing".

 

It is therefore vital that managers view the whole process in their section to see what is going on, managers also need to relate the work to other sections/departments. Each needs to work together to achieve the organization’s objectives.  It is also important that individual workers have a basic understanding of the whole process, in order to see where their contribution fits in, and enable them to make sure that what they are doing is right for the next person in line rather than relying fully on some quality control check at the end of the process.  In "Total Quality" terms this is called building quality into the system.  Also, employees participating in the whole process prevent the problem of alienation occurring where a worker feels divorced from the work and just operates blindly. 

 

Once there is a system in place, it can be studied in order to see if it can be improved. 

 

Job Analysis

 

Very much connected with systems thinking is the skill of job analysis which is a very useful organising tool for the manager, for often it is necessary to analyse the job.  This can be at the macro level (the work of the whole section) and the micro (individual jobs or even tasks).  As a tool it can be used for:-

 

Workforce planning

Improving the work system

Selecting people

Planning Training

Providing workers with clear instructions of how to do the job

Designing new equipment to do the job

 

In essence job analysis is breaking the job down into various parts.  The way and degree this is divided up will depend on why you are doing it.  Examples are:-

 

To explain in outline the main duties of a job to potential applicants

To examine a complicated task that must be done in a certain order

To provide a list of job priorities

To provide an instruction card, for example, like a cooking recipe

To decide which person you want for a job

 

The usual terms used in job analysis are:-

 

Job Description

 

This provides a general overview of the job and usually consists of:  job title, reporting relationships, for whom you are responsible, purpose, main duties or responsibilities, any special conditions.

 

Some people are afraid of writing these, because it appears to them to be some special art form, for some people reading them are pedantic and will argue where an item goes.  Remember this is a tool to be used, not a test in semantics.

     

Basically, the main parts of any job description are:-

 

The title

The purpose - overall aims of the job

The duties - the main activities involved in the job (NB start each one with the word "to" then you are bound to follow with an action verb).

 

Make sure that the language used is simple enough for the reader to understand. 

 

5.2 Job Specification

 

This comes from taking the "duties" described in the job description and then breaking them down further into the tasks that have to be done in order to carry out the duty.  These tasks are then examined to ascertain what knowledge, skills and attitudes are required to carry them out.  This then can be compared with the competencies of your work force to see if any changes need to be made, such as: 

 

Re-allocation of duties

Training

Recruiting

Redundancies/transfers

Different work methods

 

To complete a full job specification can take some time, however, one might only have to do it for certain tasks.  Below is part of the job specification to illustrate how this looks:-

 

Consider the job of a travel agent.  One of the duties of a travel agent is to advise on travel arrangements.  This segment of the job specification would look something like this:

 

JOB: TRAVEL AGENT  DUTIES : 1.0 Advise on Travel Arrangements

 

TASKS

KNOWLEDGE

SKILLS

ATTITUDES

1.1 To find out customer requirements

How to question.

What is possible

Questioning, Listening

Willingness to help.

1.2 Interpret the ABC flight directory and work  out a flight schedule

Of how to use the directory.

Where the instructions are

What the symbols mean

In finding the correct page within 20 secs. Reading the information

Accuracy, willing to look at options

1.3 Using the computer to work out flight schedules and printing out information

Of how to use the computer for this task. What the messages  displayed on the screen mean.. How to print.

Using the computer. Keeping the customer informed and interested.

Ability to read and explain.

Willingness to try alternatives. Interest in the customer.

1.4 Advising on alternatives routes, prices and schedules to customers both face to face and on the phone

Human relations.

Prices, schedules, routes. Geography.

Explaining, Questioning, Listening

Telephone skills, Face to face skills

Willingness to try different options. Patience.

 

From this specification you can see if you now add a standard to the task you have in fact both a useful instructional tool and a set of individual targets. 

 

Delegation/Allocation of Tasks

 

Most forms of organising, involve managers allocating tasks to people.  Clearly this is much easier if you have done some job analysis for you can give people a clear idea of what is expected of them and know better who is capable of doing what. 

 

Unfortunately, some people are reluctant to take on work, especially if it means any change from the establish routine.  Often, however, this is because of previous management practice such as:-

 

Mistakes made by the worker have been "punished" in the past and not used as an                                  opportunity for learning.

 

Previous efforts in the past have not be rewarded.

 

The worker has been "dropped in it" without proper instructions as to what to do and                              what is expected.

 

The worker has not been given confidence.

 

      *  The delegated task has been "sold" badly.

 

      Some workers are also good at reverse delegation where they push the work back to the manager who ends up doing too much.

 

6.2 It is essential for the health of the organisation, the worker, and manager that work is properly delegated.  There are four steps:-

 

      6.2.1      Assessment

 

        Deciding what needs to be allocated and to whom.  The reasons for choosing a particular person may vary: best for the job, or to develop the person etc.  Also you should ask why you are allocating the work and why now. 

 

      6.2.2      Agreement

 

        It is important that both parties understand what work is being allocated, what constraints    there are, what authority the worker is being given, what is expected, what sort of  reporting arrangement there will be, what level of discretion is being given.

 

        In other words this agreement should be seen as a mini contract.  It is also important to  let the person know why this work is being given to them. 

 

      6.2.3      Sustain

 

      It is important that the manager sustains the worker by: providing the right tools,       information, necessary training and moral support: monitoring at the level agreed: not breaking the agreement.

 

      6.2.4      Accountability

 

        It is necessary that some form of check back system is developed.  This should be used as an opportunity for coaching.  Where possible one should have a system where the worker can self monitor progress.  This should be part of the agreement. 

 

6.3 Actions to avoid are:-

 

     * Giving too much work or only what is seen as rubbish

 

     * Not providing the authority

 

     * Making all the big decisions yourself

 

     * Giving too much freedom before the worker is ready

 

     * Too frequent checking and criticising

 

     * Providing inadequate information

 

     * Only appearing to delegate

 

     * Not giving moral support

 

6.4 Group Delegation

 

      Often delegation is depicted as a one to one situation.  However group participation can sometimes prove to be very effective.  This is done by having a team meeting where the group draws up a job description for the whole team, putting it on a flip chart. 

      The manager then conducts a joint decision making exercise where the duties and responsibilities are allocated out, hopefully by mutual agreement.  In this way all participate and each person knows who is responsible for what,  and there is a sense of ownership.  The decision should be recorded and distributed to the group. 

 

7.0 Training/Instructing

 

      Sometimes organising resources into effective production units involves recognising that some people may not be capable of doing the job required, or, because you are thinking, ahead you realise that it would be sensible to develop certain people to be able to do other jobs.  Therefore a manager should be capable of:-

 

      * Recognising training needs

     

      *    Arranging on the job training

 

      *    Facilitating off the job training

 

      *  Coaching and mentoring a worker

 

7.1 Recognising Training Needs:

 

      This involves making use of job specifications and comparing the competencies required with what people already have.  However one must be careful, for just because a person does not appear to be able to do a job, it does not mean that there is a training need.  It might be a case that the person is refusing to perform.  Other useful ways of detecting training needs are:  keeping your eyes and ears open; and asking the workers concerned. 

 

7.2 Arranging On The Job Training

 

      Managers need to be able to do this themselves and also to be able to instruct others how to carry it out.  The reason for this is that it is unlikely that a manager will be expert enough in all the aspects of the work or the section to be able to teach others.  For instance a football coach might need a specialist to teach the art of goalkeeping.

 

      Nevertheless, a manager is likely to have a great deal of expertise that should be passed onto others. 

 

      The important points to remember when the manager is acting as a trainer are:-

 

      7.2.1      Relationships With The Learner

 

        It is vital that there is a relationship of trust between learner and the trainer to create a learning atmosphere.  Specially important is the attitude of trainers for they must believe that the learner can learn, for studies show that the self fulfilling prophecy is very important.  Also, the trainer must show enthusiasm for the subject matter and the learner. 

 

      7.2.2      Preparation 

 

        The task to be taught must be analysed to be arranged into sensible steps, with key points being noted to ensure that they are stressed. 

 

        Learning objectives should be laid down.  These are like targets, they should be specific enough for both parties to know when they have been achieved. 

 

        A check should be made with the learner to see how much they know already.  If in doubt ask them to demonstrate. 

 

        Preparation also includes ensuring everything is correct with the place of instruction and equipment to be used. 

 

      7.2.3      Context

 

        A task being taught should be put into context for the learners so that they can see where it fits into the wider picture. 

 

        It also should be explained in "digestible chunks" so a person does not get lost.

 

      7.2.2   Instruction

 

        The actual instruction itself should be a demonstration using the show and tell method.      First do it at a normal rate then slowly, explaining the key points. 

 

      7.2.5   Try Out

 

        The learner should then try out the task, being given suitable encouragement and corrected where necessary.  It is important at this stage not to humiliate the learner. It is important that the operation is practised enough so that it becomes the natural thing to do. 

 

        Instructors should gradually taper off their direct involvement as the learner gets better.     However a spot check now and again as follow up is useful. 

 

7.3 Facilitating off the job training

 

      Not all learning can take place on the job, therefore managers should have a development plan for their staff that may include off the job forms of training.

 

      The types are many and include:-

 

      *  Formal Courses

      *  Open/distant learning

      *  Guided reading

      *  Special assignments

      *  Rotations etc.

 

7.4 Coaching and Mentoring

 

      This embraces all the above sections on training but goes further, for it is important for managers to realise that they should be a constant help to their workers' development, providing moral support, direct instruction, facilitating other types of training and also being a stimulus to learning by encouraging the worker to think. 

 

      This coaching role is continuous even where the worker is highly skilled for it is important that managers have coaching discussions with their staff in order to examine what has been achieved, develop new targets and stimulate thinking. 

 

      Where appraisal schemes are in place, these can be used as opportunities to do this.  In fact many schemes are now being called "Development Discussions".  However, a more regular programme of coaching discussions is less daunting.  A good time is after completion of some delegated work but not only when something has gone wrong.  Success should also be discussed to see what has been learnt and also to see if one may be able to do better next time. 

 

      In these discussions managers should try and get the learner  to do most of the talking, use questions such as "that's interesting, why did you ....etc.?" or "how about?" not to catch them out but to get them to think. 

 

8.0 Teams

 

      So far the organising function has considered the human resource as individuals.  However, it should be remembered that often one is organising more than one person and it is impossible to treat each individual in isolation.  In any case good organisation includes ensuring that your people are not just a group of individuals but act as a team. 

 

      By doing so you will get "synergy".  This means that you get more out of the team as a whole than the sum of its parts.  Just like a good football team with moderate players can beat an "all stars eleven" that has just been put together. 

 

      It is important to realise that a group of people are like a little tribe, with its own customs, culture, norms and work standards.  It is important that the manager becomes both the formal and informal leader by using the power bases and leadership skills already mentioned.

 

8.1 Remember that good teams: are concerned  for the job and the group, are keen, have well understood aims, give ideas a hearing, gain strength from disagreement (they disagree without being disagreeable), have a clear allocation of activities, have a manager who allows others to lead where necessary, are self conscious of how they work together and have trust.  Also, they avoid the 'group think' trap of becoming too mentally incestuous.

 

8.2 In establishing a team the manager should ensure that: goals are defined, inter-relationships are described, responsibilities are delegated, there is a control system, avenues of assistance are defined, materials are made available. 

 

      In maintaining a team the manager should:  keep members to aims and interim goals, provide feedback, ensure members are working effectively together, support where needed, provide encouragement. 

        

.8.3   Teams Roles

 

      Certain roles have been defined by Belbin as being useful for the team to operate well.  Note that although there are nine roles a team does not need to consist of that number of people, for some can play more than one role or some roles can be played by more than one person. 

 

      These roles are:-

 

8.3.1  Implementing, doing role (Company Worker or Implementer)

 

8.3.2  Co-ordinating (Chair or Co-ordinator)

 

8.3.3  Shaping - pushing forward, wanting action

 

8.3.4  Coming up with ideas (Planner or Innovator)

 

8.3.5  Having outside contacts, knowledge of resources (Resource Investigator)

 

8.3.6  Monitoring, Evaluating - weighing up what is happening

 

8.3.7  Finishing - making sure everything is complete, loose ends are tied up (Completer, Finisher)

               

8.3.8  Team maintenance - being concerned with the feelings of people in the team. (Team Worker)

 

8.3.9  Specialist - providing specialist knowledge.

 

 

      Managers should be aware of these roles and direct people into carrying them out where appropriate.  However, just because you have people play these roles does not mean that they will play them well.