Quality Progress - August 2015 - (Page 63)

ONE GOOD IDEA BY WILLIAM A. LEVINSON Situation Control Let tasks give orders instead of people MORE THAN 100 years ago, the Ford approach that consistently delivers unite all concerned in a study of the situ- Motor Co. proved that the law of the win-win outcomes that conform to the ation, to discover the law of the situation, situation-the idea that employees prefer law of the situation. After a team moves and obey that."5 direction from tasks instead of people- through the storming phase, it can start can minimize dysfunctional conflicts.1 performing. Today, the U.S. Special Forces, a hierarchical military organization with Henry Ford described the law of the a chain of command, has adopted this of "herding cats" should understand this situation as follows: "The work and the approach: "When the appropriate time concept. Even when someone has the work alone controls us," and he added comes, the subject matter expert takes formal authority to give orders, gaining that this made job titles unnecessary.3 the lead and all other members of the employees' willing cooperation is better His production chief, Charles So- Facilitators and anyone in the position achieved through the law of the situation. team-including the officers and senior rensen, elaborated on this idea in 1956: noncommissioned officers-become "The situation controls, and the true highly cross-trained, supportive team ment progresses through four stages: leader is the one who responds immedi- members."6 forming, storming, norming and perform- ately and effectively to the situation. And, ing.2 Conflict, which can be construc- since a situation is always primary, au- organizational positions can become sub- tive or destructive, is an element of the thority derives from function rather than ordinate to the task or situation at hand. storming phase. Conflict to determine the position. The responsibility is for and not When the job gives the orders instead of role of alpha person is generally dysfunc- to. Of course, I understand all this better an individual, personal considerations tional. today than I did in 1909."4 such as pride and ego cease to be root The Tuckman model of team develop- Even in the armed forces, ranks and Conflict resolution can take one of Sorensen's reference to 1909 showed causes of dysfunctional conflicts. This five forms: accommodation (one side that the Ford organization was actually helps teams perform rather than storm gives in), avoidance, competition (a ahead of Mary Parker Follett-a pioneer and allows organizations to focus on win-lose situation), compromise (both in management theory. In her essay, "The results. QP sides get less than what they want) and Giving of Orders," she wrote: "My solution collaboration. Collaboration is the only is to depersonalize the giving of orders, to REFERENCES 1. "Law of the Situation," Businessdictionary.com, http:// tinyurl.com/lawofsituation. 2. "Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing," Mindtools. com, http://tinyurl.com/formingstorming. 3. Henry Ford and Samuel Crowther, My Life and Work, Doubleday, Page & Co., 1922, p. 93. 4. Charles E. Sorensen, Samuel T. Williamson and David L. Lewis, My Forty Years With Ford, W.W. Norton & Co. Inc., 1956, p. 43. 5. "The Giving of Orders," Wikipedia.org, http://tinyurl.com/ givingorders. 6. Sam MacPherson, "The Green Beret Way to Build Lean Leaders," Industry Week webinar, May 23, 2012. WILLIAM A. LEVINSON is the principal at Levinson Productivity Systems P.C. in Wilkes-Barre, PA. He has a master's degree in engineering from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, and an MBA from Union College in Schenectady, NY. An ASQ Fellow, Levinson is an ASQ-certified quality engineer, auditor, Six Sigma Black Belt, reliability engineer and manager of quality/organizational excellence. He is a co-author of The Expanded and Annotated My Life and Work: Henry Ford's Universal Code for World-Class Success (Productivity Press, 2013). August 2015 * QP 63 http://www.Businessdictionary.com http://www.tinyurl.com/lawofsituation http://www.tinyurl.com/formingstorming http://www.Wikipedia.org http://www.tinyurl.com/givingorders

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Quality Progress - August 2015

Up Front
LogOn
Expert Answers
Keeping Current
Mr. Pareto Head
Under Construction
Creative by Design
Coming Together
All the Right Moves
3.4 per Million
Quality in the First Person
Career Corner
Statistics Roundtable
Standards Outlook
QP Toolbox
QP Reviews
One Good Idea
Back to Basics

Quality Progress - August 2015

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