Monday, May 24, 2010

The Five Per Centers

Over the years I have worked with many organizations to assist them in cultural improvement processes. Those who engage in this approach have greatly benefitted in both safety and operations related performance metrics. My experiences often reveal a common cultural demographic:
  •  About 5% of their salaried and hourly work forces are very negative
  • About 5% of their salaried and hourly work forces are very positive
  • About 90% of their salaried and hourly work forces follow which ever 5% has the upper hand
The culture improvement process must address all three segments. But where to start? The answer typically is to begin with those that will help you get better, the 5% positive people. For this kind of information and more I begin with some diagnostic work to find out what the perceived underlying problems are for all 100% of the employees.
From there work begins with the positive group who participate in Continuous Improvement (CI) teams
which start solving the problems that the negative 5% complains about and the 90% followers know about, but don’t much verbalize. Within nine months or so the results of the positive improvement team groups become apparent to all. This is the “tipping point”where the 90% followers join the 5% positives and the organization swings to about 95% positive. As a natural consequence, and with a healthy dose of peer pressure that also occurs on its own, the 5% negative group becomes much less of a problem to progress and day-to-day reality.

So what’s next? A relentless pursuit of zero errors (problems) by an ever expanding group of positive force CI teams and the subsequent noticeable reduction of negative influence by an ever smaller group of cultural anchors.

This focus on effectively engaging the positive force in your organization works exceedingly well, no matter what your business, no matter where it is located. Why not give it a try?

The Doc

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