Friday, August 15, 2014

Change the Thinking, or Change the Behavior?

Captain David Marquet needed to turn around the thinking on the nuclear submarine Santa Fe.  
U.S. Navy photo by Christina Shaw
And he needed it done in about seven days. How do you turn around the thinking of a group of people? Captain Marquet realized they didn’t have time to let his thinking percolate down through the ranks. Instead, he recognized that all he really wanted was a change in behavior. It turns out, all you have to do is ask for the change in behavior. You have to be specific. But when you are, the behavior is observable and people can readily give you that behavior. It worked on the Santa Fe. In the end, Marquet believed that most of the crew eventually changed their thinking once they changed their behavior. But, if they didn’t, it didn’t matter that much to Captain Marquet, after all, they were delivering the behavior as if they did believe in the change.  This is a big part of how this submarine when from worst to first in performance in the US Navy.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Carnegie Mellon's People Capability Maturity Model

In looking for processes to enable company leaders to transform their organizations into highly innovative enterprises, I came across the Carnegie Mellon People Capability Maturity Model.

The model is predicated on the idea that you climb up the capability curve by adding management and workforce capabilities with each of five levels. "When the goals of all process areas at a maturity level and lower levels have been satisfied, the organization will have achieved the maturity level."1   It is a stair step approach of adding on to the tools implemented on a lower step.

The model assumes the usefulness of many common business practices such as performance reviews  that  ensure “activities comply with the organization’s policies and stated values.”2   We know that for companies that have successfully gone through the transformation, performance reviews are not used, policy documents are practically non-existent, and values are not stated.  For these companies such things either work against you (performance reviews) or are useless window dressing (stated values).
The trouble with the Carnegie Mellon People Capability Maturity Model is that it is based on the idea that the more you manage the better you do.  However, in looking at real world cases where companies have achieved the transformation, exactly the opposite is true.  It's about letting go of control, not increasing it.

Also note that in the 600 page People Capability Maturity Model document, there are lots of statements that leave you wondering how something might work or who is ultimately responsible for something since often it is a shared responsibility, e.g. “the human resources function shares with management and individuals the responsibility for process and individual improvement.”3   So who’s accountable for what?

The Carnegie Mellon People Capability Maturity Model is increasingly complex as you move up, rather than increasingly simple as we’ve seen in the real world.  Successful companies find that there is a strong inverse correlation between how innovative, productive, and high quality it performs, as related to the level of management activity. Less is more!

1 Curtis, B., Hefley, B., Miller, J., (2009). People Capability Maturity Model (P-CMM) Version 2.0, Second Edition. Pittsburgh, PA, Carnegie Mellon University.p.48
2 Ibid p,289

3 Ibid p.70