Information access and flow LO11526

Rol Fessenden (76234.3636@CompuServe.COM)
20 Dec 96 19:35:21 EST

Replying to LO11497 --

Michael makes a number of excellent points regarding my story of teams.

I did not tell the whole story in an attempt to be brief. At the same
time, I think we would all agree with Michael that the experiment was too
short and insufficiently thought-through. We also concluded that we
created the teams at the wrong level, and that we did not break down some
old bad habits that interfered with healthy team functioning. We also did
not have commitment from all the leadership. This was a major flaw. We
also have functions that are not easy to integrate into teams(because of
skill sets and intensity of use), and yet they should be in the teams.
There are trade-offs that we have not figured out how to make. Teams did
not have any apparent desire to get together and share info on what worked
and did not work. I cannot say why. We have a list of things to improve,
and we will come back at this problem again. In fact, we are.

We did also conclude that hierarchy fills a need, and we have not yet
found a better way to fill that need. It is safe to say we have not
identified an alternative we feel comfortable with. We are using
'facilitators' in place of hierarchy, but with mixed results. I am
unfamiliar with the other alternatives that might be tried. We have a
design already, but based on results it appears flawed and incomplete. It
was developed by future team members with facilitator help.

I would agree with Michael that the situation is more ambiguous than the
factory settings I have been in. It may be right that it is not more
complex. One of the weaknesses this experiment helped us identify was
that we are insufficiently disciplined about getting stuff done on time,
or even knowing what the deadlines are. More of a production mentality
would be good for us, and we are fixing that.

Personally, I think the freedom worked better in a factory because there
was more 'authenticity' among participants. There was a lot less concern
about oneself, and more focus on making the process a success. I have
seen this before.

The large number of teams made it difficult to come up with a design that
everyone would buy into. Non-participants felt that the design group did
not meet their needs. Those needs were not specifically spelled out.
Some NIH was also a factor. We spent an enormous amount of time
communicating, but based on results, not enough.


Rol Fessenden
LL Bean, Inc


Rol Fessenden <76234.3636@CompuServe.COM>

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