Three Elements of Management

Do you have a documented management system in your organization?

In previous articles, we have said that all work is comprised of a series of processes to form a system. You do, in fact, have a management system but it may not be documented nor understood by employees.

One management system developed by Japanese industrial leaders is comprised of three elements that can be likened to the legs of a three-legged stool. They are Policy Management, Cross-Functional Management, and Daily Management.

Policy Management starts with a good strategic plan with input from many, if not all, employees and other stakeholders such as Board Members, key customers and suppliers, and key members of the community. Not only does this utilize all the brainpower of the organization, it results in buy-in and ownership by employees and other interested people.

The next step is to establish accountability for results. A key employee is selected to lead each of the strategic actions developed in the plan. They then develop an action plan of specific tasks needed to accomplish the strategic action complete with names accountable for each task and timelines for completion. These task leaders then break down their tasks into smaller increments and this is deployed down the organization until the work is identified to complete the strategy. In this way, nearly all employees have defined tasks to guide their actions for their part in accomplishing the strategic plan.

Cross-Functional Management recognizes the need for teams from different departments to work together of achieve the common goals. This need is exploding today and team training is important. The team needs to have open communication, trust and respect for each other, and assurance that they have common goals. Establishing a team charter at the beginning of the effort with approach, expected completion time, budget, meeting schedule and space, and progress reporting well defined are helpful.

Daily Management is, as the name implies, the management of daily activities. In order to maximize the contributions of each employee, they must know what is expected of them in their work and that they are accountable for specific tasks. They must be properly trained and have needed equipment and supplies in timely fashion. They need to know the needs and expectations of their internal and external customers, other employees, and owners. They need to know the products and services of their organization. Participation of employees in discovery and implementation of incremental, continuous improvement of their work processes and products/services are not just desired but critical to the organization’s success. They should feel free to openly communicate needs to suppliers, management, and fellow employees.

Of paramount importance to each of the above management elements is the need to follow up on progress of completion efforts, schedule, budget, and barriers to completion. This is incumbent on management at all levels.

Knowledgeable employees working together to achieve common goals lead to success for the organization.

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