Re: Self-managed teams

Miguel Esparza (esparza@Synopsys.COM)
Sat, 14 Jan 1995 07:29:33 -0800

Here are my viewpoints on self-managed workteams as well as roles and
responsibilities by all:

Briefly, the focus of teams would be to fully utilize the resources of
knlowledge teams bring from all
functional groups. The self-directed team concept will bring greater
participation,flexibitiy and autonomy.

In this model, the manager's role changes to a more progressive functions
such as lead,coach,assistant,expeditor,facilitator,sponsor and cheerleader.

I see the following as the makeup to a good team:
Trustwothy,empowered,accountability and focused on process as well as
results. Shared approaches for all teams would include the following
* Establish urgency,demanding performance standards and direction.
* Select team members for skill and skill potential.
* Pay particular attention to first meetings and actions.
* Set clear rules of behavior
* Set immediate performance-oriented tasks and goals
* Positive Feedback,Recognition and Reward
* Zero Tolerance for Negativism

Identifying the teams S.W.O.T. (Stregnths,Weaknesses,Opportunities and
Threats). To increase the probability of success, these areas should be
identified at the start and progress monitored,measured, and discussed
openly. The findings may be used to aid in decisions as whether or not to
alter the direction of the self-directed team concept.

The self-directed team concept will bring greater participation,flexibitiy
and autonomy. Major benefits would include:
* Higher qualitative results
* Efficiency increases in productivity
* Product Knowledge - Ideas from a broader source are discussed while
members learn more about the product/product line than they would normally.
* Problem-Solving Skills- Team members learn more from each other.
* Better Decision-Making - Not only better, but in most cases quicker
response time.
* Shared Tools/Ideas - New tools/Ideas are brought in by fellow team members.
* Better Customer Servive
* Reduce TAT

"Employee Empowerment" is a relative new concept. Fear of losing control,
mistrust, lack of confidence, fear of change and the inability to delegate
(This is the "THREAT" portion I have identified in the Team Measurement
section under the S.W,O.T. model. Cross-Functional teams remove the
rigitdity in thinking and lets people see outside their own functional
areas(Paradigm Paralysis)

* Systematic Thinking - Most managers today are reactive. They don't adopt
a systematic approach to identifying and improving processes and their
components. They normally wait for problems to occur, then direct a process
improvement team to fix it.

* Commitment - To the whole change process. Impatience or unwillingness to
make personal management changes required to make work teams work.

* Time & Budget - Ability to commit the Time & Budget for training to help
team leaders and team members acquire new skills.

Training for team members is more thanjust learning the technical aspects
of the job. There are other important skills, such as communication and

In Summary, it's very important how team members percieve their role in
affecting change and implementing improvements. A common response to change
is caution and that can actaully be dangerous when creating a culture of
caution. Getting the other functional group manager's within Operations to
buy into the workteam concept will not be easy but long-term benefits will
multiple once (or if) we grt full commitment.

Miguel Esparza
Synopsys Inc.
700 East Middlefield Rd. Bldg.B
Mountain View, CA 94043-4033
415-694-4026 (direct line)
415-694-4037 (fax)

>I am a researcher in design management in the textile industry.
>I have recently become very interested in self-managed teams. If anyone
>would like to _talk_ to me about their experiences I would be grateful.
>So far, I have been unable to find literature that explores design and
>designers in relation to SMTs. Does anyone have any suggestions? Also,
>my colleague is visiting Boston/New York area in the middle of February
>and would be able to visit companies in that area.
>I really welcome your input - your experience does not have to be related
>to design or textiles
>Danielle Ellis
> -----
>Host's Note:
>I'm delighted to see this topic arise on the learning-org list; I think
>that self-managed teams have to be learning teams to be successful.
> -- Rick Karash,, host for learning-org

Miguel A. Esparza
Synopsys Inc.
700 East Middlefield Rd. Bldg.B
Mountain View, CA 94043-4033
415-694-4026 (direct line)
415-694-4037 (fax)