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She told the story of a misplaced birthday-cake order—a scramble for another cake, her own decorating job, and the “nal personal touch: the face-to-face delivery to the customer’s home.

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“I don’t care if we’re giving things away,” she stresses. “Because God forbid we screw up someone’s holiday. If we screw it up, they’ll tell all their friends at dinner. If we screw it up and “x it, they’ll tell their friends that, too.” (Fishman, 1996a).

Shortly before the meeting adjourned, team members brought up holiday staf”ng. Several wanted to give more hours to Hadja, a part-timer from India with spotty English. Morgida is initially skeptical but she listens.

“I know her English is not very good,” says Sylvia, “but she’s great to have around.”

“She knows how to take care of customers,” adds Patty. “I’m not sure how she does it, but she really communicates with them.”

Morgida shrugs. “Okay, go ahead and put her on” (Fishman, 1996a).

A new hire needs a two-thirds vote from the team to stay on. Team members are tough on new hires because bonuses are tied to team performance. Teams are measured against sales, growth, and productivity against other teams in their store and against similar teams in other stores and regions (Quenllas, 2013). Bonuses are awarded to teams, not individuals.

Team decisions bene”t from an information-rich, unusually transparent environ- ment. In most stores, daily sales “gures are posted by team, including “gures for the previous year. Once a month stores get detailed “nancial numbers including sales, product costs, wages, and salaries for all stores. A yearly morale survey assesses employee con”dence in team, store, and regional leaders as well as their fears and frustrations (Fishman, 1996a).

Any team member has access to sensitive data such as store sales, team sales, pro”t margins, and salaries, including fellow team members, individuals in other stores, and even the CEO. Such access to information is so unusual that the SEC has designated all Whole Foods employees as insiders in terms of stock trading (Fishman, 1996a). All that informa- tion spurs competition. Teams, stores, and regions compete intensely to outdo each other in quality, service, and pro”tability (Fishman, 1996b).

Stores also benchmark themselves against two peer review systems. The most intense is the periodic Store Tour. During this choreographed assessment, a group of as many as forty visitors from another region spends two days scrutinizing every aspect of a local Whole Foods operation. The group includes leaders from the region, store teams, and

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operation teams. Reviews and performance audits become a matter of record (Fishman, 1996b).

The Customer Snapshot (TCS) review is a surprise inspection every Whole Foods experiences ten times a year. A representative from headquarters or a region spends a day rating a store on 300measures. TCS results from each store are shared with every other store once a month. Both the Store Tour and TCS review results are keen points of competition (Fishman, 1996b).

Whole Foods’s team approach is remarkably consistent with ideas advanced by Rensis Likert in 1961: that every member of an organization should be part of an effective work group characterized by commitment to the team, interaction skills, and high performance goals, and that the leader of each group should be a “linking pin” who is also a member of a group at the next higher level (Likert, 1961). That’s how it works at Whole Foods. Autonomous, self-managing teams have both the knowledge and the motivation to solve problems and “nd opportunities. Information transparency and periodic reviews ensure that teams have benchmarks to assess how well they’re doing and where they could or should be able to improve. Contrast that with typical top-down approaches that train employees to hide problems and wait for orders from above, and it’s easy to see how strong, self-managing teams can produce many bene”ts for customer service and business success.

CONCLUSION Every group evolves a structure that may help or hinder effectiveness. Conscious attention to lines of authority, communication, responsibilities, and relationships can make a huge difference in group performance. A team structure emphasizing hierarchy and top-down control tends to work well for simple, stable tasks. As work becomes more complex or the environment gets more turbulent, structure must also develop more multifaceted and lateral forms of communication and coordination.

Sports analogies can help clarify teamwork options. It helps to understand whether the game you are playing is more like baseball, football, basketball, or some other game. Many teams never learn a key to getting structure right: Vary the structure in response to changes in task and circumstance. Make sure you know the game you’re in and the “eld you’re playing on. Organization and team structures can be complex but can be understood and adjusted. Leaders must recognize when the rules of the game change and redesign the structure accordingly.

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Effective teams typically have a clear purpose, measurable goals, the right mix of expertise, a common commitment to working relationships, collective accountability, and manageable size.

An increasing number of progressive organizations are emphasizing self-managing teams that run themselves, assign jobs to members, plan and schedule work, and solve problems. With the right structure and the necessary information and autonomy, such teams can develop levels of collaboration and motivation that lead to high performance.

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PART THREE

The Human Resource Frame

“Our most important asset is our people.” “Organizations exploit people—chew them up and spit them out.” Which of these two views of the relationship between people and organizations seems

more accurate? How you answer affects everything you do at work. The human resource frame centers on what organizations and people do to and for one

another. We begin in Chapter 6 by laying out basic assumptions, focusing on the !t between human needs and organizational requirements. Organizations generally hope for a cadre of talented, highly motivated employees who give their best. Often though, these same organizations rely on outdated assumptions and counterproductive practices that cause workers to give less and demand more.

After examining how organizations err in Chapter 6, we turn in Chapter 7 to a discussion of how smart managers and progressive organizations !nd better ways to manage people. We describe “high-involvement” or “high-commitment” practices that build and retain a talented and motivated workforce.

In Chapter 8, we examine issues in interpersonal relations and small groups.We describe competing strategies for managing relationships and look at how personal and interpersonal dynamics can make or break a group or team.

Reframing Organizations: Artistry, Choice, and Leadership, Sixth Edition. Lee G. Bolman and Terrence E. Deal. ! 2017 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Published 2017 by Jossey-Bass.

 

 

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6 c h a p t e r

People and Organizations

Who !rst invented work and tied the free and holy-day rejoicing spirit down to the ever-haunting importunity of business and, oh, most sad, to this dry drudgery of the desk’s

dead wood?

—Charles Lamb

Is it all dry drugery? Schwartz and Porath (2014) say that’s the reality for white collar workers, who aren’t eager to go to work, don’t feel they get

much appreciation while they’re there, have trouble getting everything done, and doubt that their work makes much of a contribution. They arrive home de!ated and haunted by round-the-clock demands.

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