Comm Series #10: What People Need to Know (2)

16 Mar


Last week we noted that being well informed about their jobs was the first thing people at work need to know.

The second is an understanding of how their jobs fit into the process of accomplishing work.

Consider the above Venn diagram.  This could be two jobs (people), units, teams, or even divisions.  The work flows sideways through these structures.  This is the simplest version of a process improvement model.  It shows individual and shared responsibility: yours, mine and ours.  Add more circles and you have the diagram of a process designed to deliver a product or service.  This diagram is the basis for process mapping.

Deming, the quality guru, noted that most of the quality problems happen at the hand-offs or boundaries.  Sub-optimization happens when actions designed to improve individual or unit functioning fail to account for negative effects on other parts of the system.  In the workplace, understanding how your actions may enhance or degrade the performance of others is critical to building team spirit and improving quality and productivity.  Simply put, most people want to know how their actions help or hinder others and how they can contribute the making products and services better.

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