Managerial Leadership Training Tool: Using DTC Operator Innovation Planning

Team Building, Leadership Innovation Michael Cardus

Working with a team of 5 Executive Directors from a company that employs ~2000 people we identified a gap in the Managerial Leadership Training, Mentoring and coaching of employees prior to being promoted to a Manager Level within the company.

This gap was identified as leading to the following concerns;

  • High turnover rates amongst front-line employees, the direct subordinates of the managers – ~28% which was higher than average for this company.
  • Increased customer complaints about service and interactions.
  • On-Time completion of work decreased by 20% in 3 years.
  • Overtime increased by 30% in 3 years.
  • Stress, Illness leading to increased number of sick days and health problems for Mangers and front-line staff.
  • General Managers, the direct managers of the Manager, NOT achieving their work on time and in quality expectations.
  • plus many more I am not going to bore you with the entire list BUT you get the picture.

The Executive Directors had a valid concern that this trend will continue as they retire and their positions are filled, leading to serious challenges for the company.

One Solution Step was to create an internal Managerial Leadership Process, starting with the Managers and eventually being used in every level of the company. Many, many problems stemmed from this what sounds like an ‘simple’ step-BUT ‘Simple ain’t always easy.’

Below is ONE Quality Tool commonly used in TRIZ that we used to begin in framing the context of our solution.

Dimension Time Cost Operator

Dimension Time Cost Operator (DTC) – is a tool for for seeing problems differently exploring ideas of extremes in size and cost. The DTC Operator can work to release Psychological Inertia.

Generally the DTC Operator is used in solving more tangible, mechanistic problems. With this team we used it to explore the challenge of Developing a Managerial Leadership Process.

The DTC Operator Algorithm

  1. Define the problem: Name the system or the part of the system of interest.
  2. Consider ideas created by DTC extremes:

 

Problem: Institute a Managerial Leadership Training Process for all Director Staff that will provide each individual involved with the requisite Skilled Knowledge to manage staff and add value to the Organization and their subordinates.

Dimensions:

If dimensions were extremely large what would success look like, how would that happen, in what way could that system be developed?

List ideas/solutions:

  • If the system was really large, meaning tens of thousands of people were going through this Manager Training Process at once we would need a tracking and feedback system to show when and where each manager is in the process.
  • Can we create an independent participant self-lead program, possibly using our internal intra-net. That includes on-line learning, meetings with direct Managers and feedback plus evaluations from direct subordinates and direct managers?

If dimensions were extremely small what would success look like, how would that happen, in what ways could that system be developed?

List ideas/solutions:

  • If the system was really small, meaning 1 person going through this Manager Training process that person would have a great deal of pressure on them and because of all the focused attention would be able to make a large impact in the company.
  • Can we develop or use the Directors immediate Manager and their Manager once removed to work with this person and keep their focus on their existing work and involvement in this process? Meaning that each person involved feels and knows that they are treated as an individual and we are working to move them to their Leadership Potential.

Time:

If time were extremely long what would success look like, how would that happen, in what ways could that system be developed? OR If speed were extremely slow what would success look like, how would that happen, in what ways could that system be developed?

List ideas/solutions:

  • If time was extremely long the Directors in the Managerial Leadership Process would have more than adequate time to learn and master the concepts. Additionally the Managers evaluating the Directors performance would be able to more accurately place the Directors with teams, tasks and individuals who could benefit most.
  • Can we create a long term research project from this? Determining what works…The team already has performance evaluation data from the past, what could the data from the past about the directors tell the Managers about the effectiveness of the Directors?

If time were extremely small what would success look like, how would that happen, in what ways could that system be developed? OR If speed were extremely fast what would success look like, how would that happen, in what ways could that system be developed?

List ideas/solutions:

  • If the speed of the Managerial Leadership Training Process was fast the Directors would have to find ways to stay motivated and show rapid comprehension and application of the content.
  • Can we find short term tasks ‘small wins’ that can happen in a time-frame of 1 day or shorter? These ‘small wins’ would keep motivation high, and learning application flexible because the fast nature would allow for success and quick fixes to mistakes.

Cost:

If costs (not just in terms of dollars but costs in terms of downsides, harmful effects, etc…) were extremely abundant what would success look like, how would that happen, in what ways could that system be developed?

List ideas/solutions:

  • If there was no limit to cost – we could increase this to develop Managerial Leadership Training & succession planning for the entire company. Plus, have people onsite continuously to develop curriculum, mentor, coach, train and work in real-time with all of our staff.
  • Can we hire a full time person to do this? If we can really impact the things listed in our Gap Analysis earlier, that would more that make up for a full time on-site Managerial Leadership Position.

If costs were extremely limited what would success look like, how would that happen, in what ways could that system be developed?

List ideas/solutions:

  • If cost is limited to almost zero, use the people and resources we already have.
  • Over the past several years we have sent many of our Managers, Directors, Front-Line staff to training and Executive Coaches. Have we ever gathered their stories, resources and what was most effective from them?
  • Could we gather small focus groups of Managers, Directors, and front-line staff to take on their own initiatives for Director Training and Improvement?

 

As you read through responses we received with this exercise we were able to Converge and Diverge upon many ideas, processes, and solutions that we would never have thought of if we did not use this Quality Innovation Tool.

Now what?

Well what do we do with all this information once we gather it? The ideas were transferred into a spreadsheet, a feedback form was created and sent to the Executive Leadership, Managers and Front-Line staff. They were asked to evaluate the impact that each of the DTC Operator Idea/Solution would have on their work and the work of the company on a 0 – 10 scale; 0-No Impact and 10-Huge Impact. This information was used in the future planning and implementation meetings to better develop and institute the Managerial Leadership Process within the Company.

 

Interested in learning how to use Quality Tools to solve problems and increase the effectiveness of planning within workplaces? Could  your team benefit from discovering and planning solutions while proactively working to increase efficiencies and profit? Contact Mike… to make your team better.

 

michael cardus is create-learning

image by Pink Sherbet Photography

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