Our author begins describing a “self-directed work team” as an “organizational innovation” that has been given a great deal of freedom and responsibility. [Tubbs, p. 365-366] The “self-managing team” has such non-traditional responsibilities as “(1) preparing budgets, (2) … timekeeping…,” (3) keeping quality control records, (4) solving technical problems, “(5) adjusting production schedules, (6) modifying or redesigning production processes, (7) setting team goals, and (8) assessing internal performance.” What I found truly remarkable was the parallel between the self-managing teams and what we call the entrepreneur. This is usually a highly motivated individual who, in the course of starting a business, executes the very tasks that the self-managing team is accomplishing. What a wonder that “unbridled enthusiasm” is the raw motivating power” shared by both. [Tubbs, p. 366]
It seems to me that we have been evolving in the business world for a very long time and now with the acceptance of robotics, we have begun to appreciate for the first time the individual and collective contributions that can be made by the so-called “rank and file” employees. These same employees that heretofore were nothing more than robots themselves in their jobs.
We see this particularly in manufacturing: repetitive work, repetitive actions. But now, these individuals are demonstrating previously unknown and unrecognized abilities by participating in self-managing groups.
Brian Scudamore, a Forbes contributor, reiterates our text in his post from March of this year, “It builds trust, mitigates conflict, encourages communication, and increases collaboration. ” And even though some of his article is a restatement of our text, I simply love the stories! Sometimes I think life is a giant “what if?”
But speaking as an entrepreneur, it is easy for me to see the parallels between the self-managing groups and starting and running a business. They are both facing the same challenges … how to make it work, how to make it work better, how to make it profitable, what did we do wrong that we can correct, all the same questions, just different answers depending on the application.
And having worked in the tight-fitting hierarchical corporate world, oftentimes not even on the same floor as the leadership much less having permission to even approach upper management, the concept of self-managing groups is simply light through the clouds.
The freeing up of human creativity was such a powerful demand that a nation was formed and a constitution created to give a platform for just that … “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Certainly human creativity would fall neatly under this umbrella, at least it does for me.
And if you have not heard the Declaration of Independence in a while, or maybe never, I encourage you to take a minute and think through its message.
To deny people the expression that has been so interwoven into their being has been the darkest form of slavery, to my way of thinking. Were it not for the love and encouragement of families, it would be unbearable. Free at last … the unleashing of human potential is truly on the horizon … be it through self-managing groups or individual entrepreneurship … we are on an “event horizon” unlike anything our world has ever seen. I’m so ready to “be here now!!” How about YOU?
1. Declaration of Independence, 1776. Independence Hall Association. Retrieved Nov 15, 2016, from http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/document/.
2. Reading of The Declaration of Independence. YouTube, Aug 27, 2009. Retrieved Nov 15, 2016, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ETroXvRFoKY.
3. Scudamore, B. Why Team Building Is The Most Important Investment You’ll Make, Mar 9, 2016. Forbes Online. Retrieved Nov 15, 2016, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/brianscudamore/2016/03/09/why-team-building-is-the-most-important-investment-youll-make/#500c2e097f02.
4. Tubbs, S.L. A Systems Approach to Small Group Interaction. McGraw-Hill. New York City. 2012.