# 4 - Summer Reading
TOOLS for TEAMS
by Randi Brenowitz
Issue # 4
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Issue # 4 - Summer
When I'm not busy reading books about teams and team development,
you can usually find me reading a good murder mysterythe
kind of stuff the Sunday Book Reviews refer to as "summer
reading." Imagine my delight when I discovered The Value
Effect (Berrett-Kholer, 2000)a business book disguised
as a murder mystery. Reading right at the beginning that it was
the consultant who got killed during a break at an off-site meeting
did temper my emotions a bit.
the course of the investigation, author John Guaspari manages
to poke fun at Human Resources, Quality, Sales, Marketing, Operations,
Engineering, and Finance while also giving credence to each organization's
legitimate concerns (and cynicism) about corporate change efforts.
The agenda of the off-site meeting is to create the corporation's
strategic initiatives (dubbed "NBTNext Big Thing"
by the participants) for the coming year. The group had already
been through Total Quality, Reengineering, Empowerment, and Customer
Focus. This year it was going to be Creating Value Connections
(CVC), and consultant Michael Fallon was working with the executive
team to figure out a way for this initiative not to be the next
NBT. His view (and mine) is that the tools of all the NBT's are
wonderful and could be a big help to the corporation. It's just
that nobody applies them because employees haven't been given
the context in which to place them, so they lack the energy to
apply and sustain them. Once employees have context and energy,
Fallon predicts that the corporation will see the "value
effect" and will gain a huge competitive advantage.
proposes that the team work on making major changes to the organization
in order to get all employees onboard with this new initiative.
Each organization will be effectedwhich makes each VP a
viable murder suspect. You can tell that Guaspari has been to
a number of these off-sites as he has the police inspector wonder
if this was "death by knickknack" after he sees the
T-shirts, mugs, and letter openers imprinted with the new CVC
logo. Further on in the investigation the Quality VP even refers
to Fallon as a "six sigma performer." This was even
more fun when I realized that Guaspari began his career as a Quality
guy. The mystery is solved when everyone finally understands the
true power of the Value Effect: it is nothing less than a surprisingly
straightforward solution to a widespread and persistent problem.
Guaspari shows that the Value Effect's full power is only unleashed
when individuals realize that it is not a Next Big Thing after
all. Rather, its power comes from its ability to provide a stable
and enduring context to help people and their organizations better
understand and deal with the customer and an ever-changing marketplace.
foundation of the Value Effect rests on 4 basic principles.
2. Value = GOT/COST
Value = what the customer GOT divided by what it COST the customer.
In this definition GOT includes product and services plus a host
of intangibles. COST includes money, time, sweat and toil, plus
its own intangibles
3. Everybody has a lifetime of experiences as a customer
Employees know what it means to be a customer. They know what
pleases them and causes them to go back for more. They know what
displeases them and causes them to seek out alternatives. They
can leverage this knowledge into a powerful force for focusing
on the customer. This lever tends to be dramatically underutilized.
4. Customer means customer
This is my favorite as it speaks to one of my own pet peeves.
Customers are the people who pay money for goods and/or services
even though they have other options. The concept of internal customers
is a useful one insofar as it can help people recognize that they
are part of a larger work process and they need to keep their
neighbor departments in mind when they create processes and procedures.
It can get in the way, however, of collaborative efforts when
each department is seen as a distinct territory with customers
and clients of its own. The concept of internal customers does
not keep in mind the end process, which is to get the goods and
services to the outside customer. By calling everyone a customer,
the actual customer can get lost.
goes on to give some guideposts and tools for implementation of
these 4 basic principles. You'll have to read the book for thosedon't
you just hate it when someone gives away the ending?