Of all the things
Ive done, the most vital is coordinating the talents of those who work
for us and pointing them toward a certain goal.
In 1903 Frederick Taylor coined the phrase Scientific Management to
describe what is known as the Traditional Paradigm. He and other
contemporaries, like Max Weber, believed organizations needed to be
standardized and centrally controlled. For this reason, the Traditional
Paradigm is often called the Command and Control Model.
Until recently, the basic principles of this model dominated peoples thinking within organizations:
- Simple, narrowly defined jobs
- Division of labor that keeps different functions separate
- Uniform and strictly enforced policies
Out with the Old Paradigms
- Managements role to control the means and speed of work.
Although the Traditional Paradigm may have been useful in moving us to
an industrial society, it does not fit with the complex and changing
nature of the economy, market place, technologies, and people today. It
is seriously flawed in two primary ways.
First, traditional organizations are structured around functions. For
example, in a manufacturing company, this structure includes
engineering, manufacturing, sales, etc., while in a service company it
would include customer service, accounting, and billing. The problem
this creates is that work is fragmented in such a way that people do
not see or feel responsibility for a whole process. They over
identify with their own jobs and fail to understand or care about the
overall good of the company or customers they serve. This leads to poor
communication, redundancies of effort, turf battles, delays in
decision-making, and general inefficiency.
A second flaw of the traditional paradigm is the assumption that it is
managements job to control the work of employees. Management sets
goals, makes decisions, measures progress, evaluates performance, etc.
Managers are the thinkers and planners, and employees are the doers.
These organizations fail to tap into the tremendous intelligence and
creativity of their people. The High Performance Paradigm
In recent years, many successful organizations have embraced an
exciting new way of organizing and working, called the High Performance
Paradigm. This new way was developed out of a need to better use
employee capabilities, to create greater flexibility, and to integrate
parts of the organization around its common purpose and direction. A
high-performance organization could be defined as an organization in
which each person is a contributing partner to the business.
High-performance work environments require a deep respect and trust in
people. People are not viewed as extensions of machines, objects to be
manipulated nor costs to be controlled, but rather as thinking and
feeling human beings who bring enormous energy, creativity, and talent
to their work. Most people want jobs that are meaningful and allow them
autonomy to make decisions and contribute to the company in significant
ways. Effective organizations are those moving beyond attempting to
control people to trusting and empowering them with the resources,
information, tools, skills, and support to manage their work processes
and create products and services of unprecedented quality.
There is an old truism, both in business and in life, that If you keep
doing what youve been doing youll keep getting what youve been
getting. Most leaders, owners or managers have not yet tapped the full
potential of their workforce, and yet they wont do so by doing more or
even better of what theyve done in the past. Only through a redesign
of work and the structure of the organization, as well as the
development of their people, can outstanding improvements in
productivity and quality be realized.
If you would like more information on making the transition to high
performance, or if you would like to receive a copy of our white paper
on high performance, please send me an e-mail.