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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Team Selection: Best and Brightest or Not

I came across this comic the other day and paused.  It is really about a stereotype of continuous improvement teams that I don't agree with. 

While it shouldn't matter who we pick from organization for an improvement team or initiative in the begining it does.  During the early stages of a transformation the selection of the team members is important for the success of your initiatives.

Here are a couple of things to consider when picking team members:
  • Balance of "hard" and "soft" skills
  • Best experience possible
  • Coverage of the knowledge areas needed
  • Willingness to join
  • Availability
  • Leadership and/or Management skills
  • Maturity to take responsibility
  • Follows through on commitments
  • Good listening skills
  • Willing to actively participate
  • Can give and take feedback
  • Can communicate clearly
You may not directly benefit from every improvement but that's not the point. We aren't tying to optimize individual performance. That continues the silo mentality.  An improvement in a part of the value stream is an improvement to the whole process.

Personally, I would send the best and brightest to support the improvement activity.  It is a question of where you spend your time.  How much time do you spend trying to convert the bottom 20%?  In my experience spending time with the top 20% is more beneficial.  The top 20% can have an infectious way of getting the middle 60% to come along with you on the journey.  You probably can't convert all the bottom 20% for various reasons.  But if you can get the majority of you organization working on improvements then your teams will be more effective.

What do you think of this comic and depiction of improvement teams?  Who would you lend to a new improvement intiative?

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1 comment:

  1. Tim-

    Great post. I used to spend too much time working with the bottom 20%. I have learned you can get much further and convert a larger percentage of people by working with the top 20%. Eventually, you have so much momentum you get the bottom 20% to come along and the ones who will never come along are easy to spot.