I interviewed Dianne Crampton who discussed Supply Chain Change Facilitation.
Today we're speaking with Dianne Crampton, and she is the founder of TIGERS Success Series. Diane, before we start this topic of supply chain change facilitation, can are provide a brief background of yourself?
Certainly, Dustin, and thank you for having me on your program.It's great to share content with your tribe. I've been in the business of work group development for nearly 30 years now, and it all started from a question. And that question was, what's necessary to build an ethical, quality-focused productive and successful group of people or maybe a group of companies, like in supply chain that come together to bring and drive products on to the market?
I studied all the group dynamic information I could find in business education and psychology. And out of that study came six principles that are measurable. They are readily seen and experienced in how employees treat one another, their customers, and the supply chain on a daily basis. And those six principles are trust, interdependence, genuineness, empathy, risk resolution, and success. And then after these six principles came together, then the project was to prove whether or not they could be individually measured within group behavior.
Two years later and after two independent studies that were conducted by rather large organizations, the results were conclusive. Not only could these six principles be measured individually within organizational behavior, they could also predict and prescribe treatments that would take an underperforming organization, or maybe even an adequate one, into the excellent category in a rather quick time framebecause these six principles are at the very core of cultural behavior. They influence how your company vision is manifested. They influence how the vision unfolds. They influence whether the organizational values actually have a living presence in an organization. It's sort of a universal, principle system.
I've been doing that ever since the proof came through, hung out my shingle, and have worked in merger work, worked in building organizations, have worked in change dynamics for organizations, going on almost 30 years now.
Can you talk about the steps that are involved in the process of change facilitation?
Peter Drucker and others that were very germane, I guess, in launching my career, said that change is a three to five-year process,and I agree with that up to a point, because many of our change situations had taken 18 months to resolve. So we were far shorter — under time and under budget — in that three to five-year category.
When you look at change, and a leader is anticipating change, there are a number of steps, some of which I think are ignored.
The first step is really assessing what the behavior dynamic is your organization. In other words, how do people treat one another, really, on an ongoing basis? Maybe it's not what the leaders see. Maybe these are little interactions between employees. I call that behavior your community of influence. This is how things are really done in a company. This is how the behavior really is in a company when nobody is looking.
Those behavior dynamics, if they're not lined up correctly... Let's say an organization has a very poor trust performance. Then there is some trust building that needs to happen before change is rolled out and executed.
The very first step is to make sure that the behavior dynamics in the organization can actually handle the change dynamic. Then from there, there is a planning process that's involved. I've seen leaders just dive right into the execution-planning phase without identifying the communication strategies, the internal marketing strategies, the time frame of rolling out those strategies, who they are going to pull into the change strategies. I think leaders often think, well since I'm the executive team, it is our role to execute change. And yes, it is. But it's also their role to engage the workforce and the informal and formal power structures within the organization to get behind that change, to actually look forward to the change, to understand it.
Then part of that communication strategy is also to pull in those individuals in a cross-functional type of team to work through how they're going to communicate this change in advance so that — I'm going to call it — safety nets are put into place for employees.Because change often threatens people, Dustin.And when you have executives, you have managers, who have become very good at performing tasks and services within an organization that's going to undergo change, giving up that sense of security for excelling at what they currently do. It's really difficult to go back to ground zero and learn something new, especially when you're department, your revenues, your financial streams, and everything are on the line.
In addition to the communication strategy that's built, there's also an enthusiasm building strategy that comes with that communication strategy. And part of the safety net also is to identify the types and norms of behavior and the norms of procedures and procedural norms that you want to lay down and put into place during that change process so they everybody is on an even playing field and you can corral all your organizational diversity into those group norm behaviors.
There's a couple of documents. There's a couple of procedures and rolling out conversations through your formal and informal power structures that create a feedback loop from employees back to the executive team in terms of what's needed to build that safety net; what type of communication is going to be expected; who is going to roll out that communication strategy; how are you going to reward little steps within that change process that people achieve; and what that all looks like.And that is all handled before you get to the execution-planning phase.
Then when you get to the execution-planning phase, you already have support teams in place for rolling out the steps of your change plan.
The faster you roll out change without a safety net, the more resistance you're going to experience. The faster you roll out the execution process with communication strategies and safety nets already put into place and expectations on behavior put into place, rewards and recognition for even the smallest little successes in that change process, change can be escalated considerably.
Each of those steps, of course, is broken down into subsub-stepsut I think that's probably too much minutiae for this conversation. I don't want your listeners to have their eyes roll back in their heads and think it's overwhelming because it's not. There is a strategic plan strategy. And if any of your listeners want to go to my profile on LinkedIn, that's at Dianne Crampton — Dianne spelled with two N's — on LinkedIn, there is an article that I posted on there on change where I list the steps. And they're welcome to go there and check it out. It's free. It will fill in all the little sub steps between their three major categories, which is communication strategies, your safety nets, and communicating that to employees, then developing the execution strategies and your execution plan.
Could you talk about the challenges that you face when doing the change facilitation?
I'd like to focus this on supply chain, Dustin, because if you look at all the different companies in a supply chain to drive a product on to the marketplace, hopefully with a deflation number on it...If everybody is really efficient in the supply chain and there's not a lot of waste, rework, and time lost, clearly deflation is a good thing because it keeps s price down and makes your product competitive on the marketplace. So when you look at all the different pieces and all the different companies and their corporate cultures that are involved in a supply chain, the group norm of behavior piece that I was talking about in the TIGERS six principles are really important to making sure that you can deflate the price of the end product, within a supply chain dynamic.
When you have, let's say, a company that is in maybe a more autocratic country, that has more autocratic management and leadership styles, where employees within that company may not be trained and developed to be collaborative with high-levels of exchange of information and information sharing within that company, perhaps they're not cross-functionally changed, trained, so that if a highly-trained employee gets sick one day, the whole production closes down because there's nobody who can step into that job while that employee is ill and out of the office...
When you look at the training and the development of employees within that organization, you have that culture. Then you have another culture, a company that's completely different, that has different levels of training and employee development, and yet another and another and another, depending on how wide and deep your chain is.
The challenge is really to impart that the whole, I'd say, heart and soul of the supply chain is collaboration and not competition. When you have a highly autocratic business culture, employees are very dependent. They rely. They're not paid for what they think. As a result, they are very dependent people and maybe not as collaborative or even capable of collaboration as a company that is more team based, agile, LEAN, 6 Sigma, and when you go on and on and on in terms of the systems and the strategies that they deploy within that company.
I read one paper once, Dustin, that likened a supply chain to a big company with different departments. I would argue that if you have one department that feels like Hawaii —it's fun and it's sunny, and you get work done, and you still have time to go out and surf — that's great. Well, now that employee from that department goes into Siberia where the whole management structure is different. I call that culture split. I also that a toxic organization.
The challenge is to build collaboration within that supply chain. That is often done through training and development of the key drivers in the supply chain. An example would be GE. I had a great occasion to learn from one of the HR managers and training development folks internationally for GE. And that company's procedure is actually to bring in vendors, to train vendors, and to bring them into large organizational training and development types of meetings where they can get the key leaders of the chain together and actually build relationships and understanding about how each person is key, each company is key to be able to delivery up a deflated-priced product one the marketplace that's competitive and therefore ensures that that supply chain and their position within the supply chain stays strong and secure.
The challenge is not only do you have the training and the development of employees within each member of the supply chain, you also have that need to belong synergy and collaboration within the chain itself.
Can you talk about how you overcome the challenges?
I think the way you overcome the challenges is bringing the people together, and I think, again, when you're looking at a supply chain, there's lots of hands-on, interactive types of activities, and I'm not talking about touchy-feely stuff and team-building things. I'm talking about really nailing down group norms and procedures that work for the entire chain. In other words, what are the behaviors that we're going to have in our chain that are going to keep trust high so that if we do have a problem, if we do have a conflict that comes externally, there's a high level of understanding and less suspicion, less defensiveness in overcoming those problems. So it's determining what behaviors that chain wants to see and experience and expects working together that would keep trust high.
It's the same thing with interdependence. We have technologies now, Dustin, that are fantastic. Members of the supply chain can use a computer system almost like a project management system for communicating where they are in the process. Because we steps in the chain itself take a lot of time. Just getting a sample out that everybody agrees with can take a lot of time. And then ordering can take time, the whole manufacturing process can take a lot of time. So working through the interdependent pieces and the behaviors within that supply chain helps to overcome... I'm going to say those dependent type of organizations where employees cannot make a decision to solve a problem on the spot without executive overwrite when that executive is attending some high-level meeting in Switzerland. There's so many things that can happen within that chain.
Then how do people bring problems in the chain to the group for resolving? Some will be just individual business problems, but what happens if environmental conditions shift within a company? Think of all the flooding, for example, in Puerto Rico from the hurricane. They had a nice coffee business starting. Maybe they were supplying beans somewhere. These problems occur, and you have to have the group norms developed and the collaborations agreements there where people have met face-to-face and have built them together with real meaning and value to be able to deflate the price of that end product, because everything is so efficient and streamlined as much as possible.
I would say overcoming those challenges, training and development, organizationally and in the individual organizations so that if somebody is out, there is somebody who could step into their position, and there's not any lost time and waste of resources and this also collectively within the chain, to meet together, hammer out some agreements and really instill a value. If the product survives, the chain survives. And those good working relationships will keep... I'm going to call it, like the end user from switching vendors for a nickel price drop in a piece of the supply chain.
Thank you for sharing today on this topic.
About Dianne Crampton
Founder and HR Tech designer at TIGERS Success Series, Inc.