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Deborah Mackin

Thumbnail : Reaching Consensus on Key Decisions as a Self Directed Work Team

Reaching Consensus on Key Decisions as a Self Directed Work Team

Consensus is about agreement and support, unlike voting which is just about agreement. It’s a belief that when you disagree, you see something another person isn’t able to see. Therefore, the goal is not to push past you, but to try to understand what you see. It’s not about voting or any decision-making process that […]

Thumbnail : Making Decisions as a Self Directed Work Team

Making Decisions as a Self Directed Work Team

One of the vital differences in SDWTs is that silence during decision making is treated as disagreement.  This simple difference changes everything in terms of team dynamics.  People in a team environment have to show their position on any decision made, whether in agreement, needing time for more discussion or blocking the decision.  Right away […]

Thumbnail : Sowing the Field for Self Directed Work Teams in Your Organizations

Sowing the Field for Self Directed Work Teams in Your Organizations

Usually the first we try to do when we’re brought in to discuss building a culture around self directed work teams is to convince the organization not to do teaming.  We know, it sounds counter intuitive for a teaming firm like ours to convince the potential client not to do teams.  However, we take that […]

Thumbnail : Creating a Dual-Operating System – The Star Point System of High Performance Teams

Creating a Dual-Operating System – The Star Point System of High Performance Teams

Organizations are always looking for structures that will help drive the necessary changes as well as improve the integration between various functions.  There is an option out there – called the Star Point System – that creates a “dual-operating system” which takes responsibility for crossing over functional areas and linking them all together. Years ago […]

Thumbnail : How to Roll Out a Team Culture in 3 Years (Yes, It Should Take That Long)

How to Roll Out a Team Culture in 3 Years (Yes, It Should Take That Long)

An organizational change as massive as moving towards a high performance, self-directed team structure should take nothing less than 2 to 3 years to implement fully.  The complexity of completing the workload, shifting accountability and power and building collaborative competencies needed at every level of the organization, as well as the general acceptance of the […]

Thumbnail : The Façade of Teaming and What Real Teaming Looks Like

The Façade of Teaming and What Real Teaming Looks Like

No matter where we go or who we talk with about implementing a team-based organization, there is usually the “we’re pretty much teaming now” or “our teams are really at a high performance already” response. At that point we usually attend a team meeting, or watch a team perform on the floor, or we have […]

Thumbnail : What Employees Really Want to Know that Only Leadership Can Answer

What Employees Really Want to Know that Only Leadership Can Answer

Every organization today is going through some sort of change, whether it’s technological, growth, diversification, globalization, or just the transformation of the workforce generations.  Employees are expected to adapt quickly to leadership demands for increased accountability, cross-training, adaptability during restructuring, and constant change.  I recently told a group of employees, “Just get yourself on the […]

Thumbnail : How To Introduce Teams Into Your Organization’s Culture Without a Mutiny

How To Introduce Teams Into Your Organization’s Culture Without a Mutiny

One of the most critical moments in creating a high performance team culture is the day you decide to let the whole organization hear your plan.  Up to that point, the changing of culture and embracing of a new way of doing something, whether teaming or anything else, has probably been a strategic discussion behind […]

Thumbnail : Delegation: 11 Tips, Tactics and Tools to Effectively Harness the Power of Your Team

Delegation: 11 Tips, Tactics and Tools to Effectively Harness the Power of Your Team

Last week we wrote about the need for both a steering team and a design team in order to delegate the heavy demands on leadership to run both operations and designing cultural shifts within an organization.  We argued that having both the steering team (senior leadership team), as well as a design team (a team […]

Thumbnail : High Performance Teams – The Benefits of Creating Both a Steering Team and a Design Team for Maximum Output

High Performance Teams – The Benefits of Creating Both a Steering Team and a Design Team for Maximum Output

Recently, an organization expressed interest in transforming from a traditional top-down, supervisory model to a high performance, high engagement, lean organizational model.  These types of challenges place a heavy demand on leadership in terms of finding the time to run the operations and concurrently design, plan and implement something totally new.  As much as leadership […]

Thumbnail : Beware the Latest Buzzword:  Is ‘Holacracy’ Just Teaming in Disguise?

Beware the Latest Buzzword: Is ‘Holacracy’ Just Teaming in Disguise?

When Zappos indicated its strategic shift to the concept of “holacracy,” and suggested that management titles would be dissolved, everyone sat up and took notice.  What is holacracy?  What new social engineering is going on that we need to know about and perhaps copy? Not unlike the buzz of Total Quality Management, Lean, Six-Sigma, and […]

Thumbnail : The Decision To Be Thankful – 5 Ways To Look At This Past Year

The Decision To Be Thankful – 5 Ways To Look At This Past Year

As we celebrate another Thanksgiving in the US, we look back on the past year and, in many cases, see only the frustrations, hurdles, and challenges we’ve experienced as a nation and in our businesses and organizatins.  For many, the government shutdown in September symbolized the difficulties of the past year and exactly how much […]

Thumbnail : Government Shutdown and How to Bring a Dysfunctional Team Back to the Table to Work Together

Government Shutdown and How to Bring a Dysfunctional Team Back to the Table to Work Together

Having worked with all sorts of teams for nearly 30 years and written three books on team-building (and a soon to be a fourth), the “need” that continues to come up is around team repair and restoration.  How do you get teams back on track when they have derailed? We are all by now familiar […]

Thumbnail : 7 Things to Make Your Next Strategic Retreat and Discussion Actually Produce Something

7 Things to Make Your Next Strategic Retreat and Discussion Actually Produce Something

Jeremie Kubicek, well-known blogger, author and speaker in the leadership circuit, recently wrote a post about strategic retreats. Here’s what he said, “…what I have noticed is that most people come into the retreats like they come into a 10AM meeting – not prepared and a bit frazzled.” Does that seem like it’s the case […]

Thumbnail : Baseball Commissioner Finally Executes a “Survival of the Hive” Strategy for the Sport

Baseball Commissioner Finally Executes a “Survival of the Hive” Strategy for the Sport

In the wake of this week’s suspension of 13 professional baseball players for alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs, including All-Star Alex Rodriguez, baseball historians are suggesting that it is “finally time for action to be taken.”  In 2003 the first baseball drug testing identified 104 players who tested positive, but no actions were taken against […]

Thumbnail : How Eliot Spitzer and You Can Begin To Restore Trust After A Big Mistake

How Eliot Spitzer and You Can Begin To Restore Trust After A Big Mistake

Recently it was announced that Eliot Spitzer, former New York Governor who admitted paying prostitutes for sex and was forced to resign in 2008, is planning to run for New York City Comptroller.  It begs a curious question:  if a person has fallen from grace and people no longer trust the person, how does he or […]

Thumbnail : 4 Key Leadership Lessons to learn from the Asiana Plane Crash

4 Key Leadership Lessons to learn from the Asiana Plane Crash

For any of us who fly on a regular basis or have friends and family who do, the pictures of the ill-fated Asiana Airline Boeing 777 crash landing at San Francisco airport were terrifying. But even worse have been the news stories emerging about the co-pilot-in-training, who reportedly had only 43 hours of experience in […]

Thumbnail : WORKPLACE PERSONALITY: Beware of the Bully Boss

WORKPLACE PERSONALITY: Beware of the Bully Boss

In the course of 28 years as a consultant, I’ve probably run into a half-dozen bully bosses, those people who appear to be pleasant enough initially but then throw you a curve when you actually think you’re doing the right thing.  I thought it would be good to focus a blog on this topic, include […]

Thumbnail : QUALITY MANAGEMENT: Why We Need a Service Quality Body of Knowledge

QUALITY MANAGEMENT: Why We Need a Service Quality Body of Knowledge

We had an interesting discussion recently about the new neuroscience discoveries of the brain and how they impact the difference between expected, desired and delighted quality service.  Many organizations have elaborate summaries of what quality service is and is not, how to deliver it and the expectations of employee behavior in various service situations.  We […]

Thumbnail : TALENT MANAGEMENT: Forming an Incubator and Accelerator Program to Foster the Next Generation of Leaders within Your Organization

TALENT MANAGEMENT: Forming an Incubator and Accelerator Program to Foster the Next Generation of Leaders within Your Organization

Next week I present Preparing for Tomorrow’s Talent Gap at the Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) Talent Management Conference in Las Vegas.   I believe this presentation peaked SHRM’s interest because of the humongous challenge that organizations face in the next 5 to 10 years as Baby Boomers fade out, Gen X steps into the role of […]

Thumbnail : QUALITY MANAGEMENT: What does it require for a local government to be quality-driven?

QUALITY MANAGEMENT: What does it require for a local government to be quality-driven?

As Paul Barowski reflected on his recent discussion with the City of Milwaukee about their ASQ membership, I thought of several key elements that are necessary for quality to take root in city, local or state governments.  It’s also interesting to me that despite finding quality departments routinely in manufacturing, engineering, pharmaceuticals and retail, the […]

Thumbnail : Are We Compatible?  Using the MBTI Personality Assessment with Couples

Are We Compatible? Using the MBTI Personality Assessment with Couples

One of the fascinating things about couples is how frequently they are attracted to their opposites.  In so many ways, it’s as if they are trying to complete the whole picture between two people. Yet, it’s also what creates the tension and disagreements as the couple works out the relationship details. We have a couple […]

Thumbnail : Your Personality at Work Guidebook

Your Personality at Work Guidebook

60-80% of all difficulties in organizations stem from strained relationships with employees. 85% of workplace dismissals in the US are due to personality conflicts. Because your people are your number one resource, it often means many personalities working together in the same office.  This can lead to great collaboration, as much as difficult conflicts and misunderstood communications.   […]

Thumbnail : TEAMING: Hybrid Teams and Why They Gain Greater Engagement, Idea Generation and Buy-In For Decisions

TEAMING: Hybrid Teams and Why They Gain Greater Engagement, Idea Generation and Buy-In For Decisions

Lisa and I were discussing a team training recently for a highly technical organization when an interesting dilemma emerged.  They call their project teams, teams; they call their project leaders, team leaders.  Yet, the amount of actual teamwork going on is minimal.  The team is accountable to the team leader; the team leader makes all […]

Thumbnail : QUALITY MANAGEMENT: What Is Quality

QUALITY MANAGEMENT: What Is Quality

In this month’s ASQ blog, Paul Borawski asks us to consider how we define quality.  Do we have a single declarative definition, or one that is multi-faceted?  Does it change based on whether we’re talking about product quality or service quality? Immediately, I recalled a video from years back of Phillip Crosby on a Scottish […]

Thumbnail : STRATEGY: How Strong Shared Values Will Transform the 2013 Organization

STRATEGY: How Strong Shared Values Will Transform the 2013 Organization

Last month I was working with a great management team in a small plant that is part of a larger Fortune 500 business.  We were exploring how to re-energize a teaming initiative that had started years before, but took a pause after some staffing changes had occurred.  I had interviewed a number of employees about […]

Thumbnail : TRAINING: State of the Training and Development Industry

TRAINING: State of the Training and Development Industry

Each year we look forward to the release of the ASTD State of the [Training] Industry report which cites trends and statistics on employee development.  Many of our clients use this data to help benchmark their own efforts, and to forecast trends for the future. The 2011 report, based on a diverse sampling of 461 […]

Thumbnail : QUALITY MANAGEMENT: Building an Elevator Speech for Quality Using the 5Ps Model

QUALITY MANAGEMENT: Building an Elevator Speech for Quality Using the 5Ps Model

In his November blog, Paul Borawski makes reference to having the “elevator speech” ready to go when it comes to talking about quality.  We thought our contribution to November World Quality Month (#WQM12) might be to help people construct their elevator speeches in a way that’s easy to remember and engages other people. At New […]

Thumbnail : WORKPLACE PERSONALITY: When Workplace Personalities and Change Initiatives Collide

WORKPLACE PERSONALITY: When Workplace Personalities and Change Initiatives Collide

This article focuses on the concept that while it’s certainly important to study change management strategies, we often neglect the mix of personality preferences in a change initiative and their impact on its success.

Thumbnail : QUALITY MANAGEMENT: Using the Star Point Structure to Increase the Value of Quality

QUALITY MANAGEMENT: Using the Star Point Structure to Increase the Value of Quality

This month the ASQ leadership is asking, “How do you increase the value of quality in organizations beyond what is traditionally thought of as a quality function?”  The question is framed by ASQ CEO Paul Borawski’s participation in a brand new organization called The Smart New Manufacturing Coalition.  Ironically, we believe the answer to the […]

Thumbnail : EBOOK – 5 Things That Make a Great Consultant

EBOOK – 5 Things That Make a Great Consultant

Companies follow the talent. In this age of “hyperspecialization,” partnerships and result-oriented projects, consultants can offer a great array of talent, resources, and insight that organizations are scrambling to find.  The key is to be a GREAT consultant.  What does it take?  How do you build the lasting relationships that define your consultancy?  Putting together our 28 […]

Thumbnail : PERSONALITY: The Impact of Personality on Workplace Accountability and Responsibility

PERSONALITY: The Impact of Personality on Workplace Accountability and Responsibility

I recently was working with an organization to clarify the responsibility of leadership in relationship to strategic thinking, project management and functional management.  We used the classic RASCI chart to detail who was Responsible, Accountable, expected to Support, Consulted and Informed on numerous tasks and responsibilities. The goal was to help leadership within the organization […]

Thumbnail : QUALITY MANAGEMENT: How Can Quality Management Evolve to Support the Needs of a Faster World

QUALITY MANAGEMENT: How Can Quality Management Evolve to Support the Needs of a Faster World

Long ago Philip Crosby said (and I paraphrase here), “There’s no such thing as good quality or bad quality, there is just quality.  Something either is quality, or it’s not.”  He went on to suggest that quality is defined as “conformance to requirement.”  What would Phillip Crosby and other quality gurus say today about quality […]

Thumbnail : QUALITY MANAGEMENT: The Role Habits Play in Building a Quality Culture

QUALITY MANAGEMENT: The Role Habits Play in Building a Quality Culture

There has been so much research done in neuroscience in the past fifteen years that experts have a much better understanding of how the brain functions when it comes to decision making – even as it relates to growing a quality culture. Years ago we believed that information coming into the brain was automatically handled […]

Thumbnail : QUALITY MANAGEMENT: Building a Process-Efficiency Mindset

QUALITY MANAGEMENT: Building a Process-Efficiency Mindset

Thumbnail : CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING: Cross Cultural Understanding

CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING: Cross Cultural Understanding

93% of communication is in tone and body language, and therefore a large source of cross cultural miscommunication.  Likewise, people with little cultural understanding struggle with the differences they experience related to others from another culture. Deep inside many of us is a belief that relating to a person from another culture should be easy. When it […]

Thumbnail : CONFLICT RESOLUTION: The Most Difficult Workplace Situation

CONFLICT RESOLUTION: The Most Difficult Workplace Situation

  Some people suggest that there is a conflict every 20 minutes in the modern workplace. Those are just the ones we see. What about all the conflicts that are under the surface or gossiped about behind closed doors? It used to be that managers or supervisors were expected to resolve all the conflicts, but […]

Thumbnail : BEHAVIORAL MANAGEMENT: The Power of Habit to Determine Our Behavior

BEHAVIORAL MANAGEMENT: The Power of Habit to Determine Our Behavior

As leaders there’s always one behavior or another we’re trying to shape or change in others.  What about the chronic latecomer, the constant complainer and the time management challenged? We attempt to give constructive feedback, help them set bodacious goals or focus on teamwork and continuous improvement. Sometimes it clicks; sometimes it doesn’t. What’s fascinating […]

Thumbnail : TEAMING: Teaming in a Virtual Environment

TEAMING: Teaming in a Virtual Environment

Work is now in the virtual network, not in the office.  The network becomes the place of work, of value creation, of communication, of management, and to some extent social intercourse.  Logging on is not just another activity, but a signal of your arrival in the electronic workplace.

Thumbnail : CHANGE MANAGEMENT: Is Residual Resistance Killing Your New Change Initiative?

CHANGE MANAGEMENT: Is Residual Resistance Killing Your New Change Initiative?

We have often mentioned David Gleicher’s change formula – D X V X F > R – as an important sequencing of tasks when building a change initiative.  When so many leaders jump into the F – First Steps – without building the D (Dissatisfaction with Status Quo and Case for Change) or the V […]

Thumbnail : QUALITY TUESDAY: The Intersection of Quality and Social Responsibility

QUALITY TUESDAY: The Intersection of Quality and Social Responsibility

I received a preliminary look at Paul’s July blog on The Intersection of Quality and Social Responsibility while vacationing in Maine.  It gave me the opportunity to sit around the table with friends and relatives and ask a very different set of people the question, “How are we making the case for quality and social […]

Thumbnail : Studies in Small Group Influence and Persuasion Article

Studies in Small Group Influence and Persuasion Article

Throughout the day we are constantly working in small groups and teams. While in these groups there is a lot of positioning and persuasion going on to get everyone in alignment. Read this article to understand the power of relationships and groupthink within small clusters of people.

Thumbnail : Teams in Government Law Offices (American Bar Association publication)

Teams in Government Law Offices (American Bar Association publication)

Written by Katherine Mikkelson of the  American Bar Association and featuring Deborah Mackin as a subject matter expert on teaming within government, this article get’s into the nitty and gritty of setting up a workplace team.  Not only for government law offices, this article is a must-read for any organization interested in setting up workplace […]

Thumbnail : The Case for In-House Training Teams Article

The Case for In-House Training Teams Article

In this article we discuss how organizations can cut cost while offering employee development by implementing In-House Training Teams within their organizations.

Thumbnail : Let’s Meet: Team Meeting (an AMA publication)

Let’s Meet: Team Meeting (an AMA publication)

Deborah Mackin, a featured expert on teaming, partnered with the American Management Association’s (AMA) to publish Let’s Meet: Team Meetings.   Deborah Mackin has written a classic on team management and continues to be an authority on the subject. This article shares some of the first issues to address when you form a team and prepare for your […]

Thumbnail : CONFLICT RESOLUTION: The Price of Passive-Aggressive Conflict in the Workplace

CONFLICT RESOLUTION: The Price of Passive-Aggressive Conflict in the Workplace

Let’s face it, nobody likes conflict.  While it may momentarily get our juices flowing, most of us walk away very distressed when we’re in a conflict at work.  It keeps going around and around in our heads as we try to process all the various things we might have said.  Experts suggest that there is […]

Thumbnail : QUALITY TUESDAY: Quality Beyond the Product – Looking at How Quality Can Be Applied at a Strategic Level

QUALITY TUESDAY: Quality Beyond the Product – Looking at How Quality Can Be Applied at a Strategic Level

  The suggestion that some CEOs focus exclusively on product when thinking about quality is exhibited in the lack of support given to quality, both in terms of sufficient staffing and when quality leaders have to exert their responsibility and stop the release of a product.  At that moment of intensity, will the CEO support […]

Thumbnail : Fluid Teams – a New and Emerging Structure within the Teaming Continuum

Fluid Teams – a New and Emerging Structure within the Teaming Continuum

At the 2008 Olympics, Beijing built what has become known as the Water Cube to house many of the swimming competitions of the 2008 games including diving and synchronized swimming. In July 2003, the Water Cube design was chosen from 10 proposals in an international architectural competition for the aquatic center project. The Water Cube was specially designed and […]

Thumbnail : QUALITY TUESDAY: The Government/Quality Puzzle – Building a Quality Mindset in Government

QUALITY TUESDAY: The Government/Quality Puzzle – Building a Quality Mindset in Government

The day after Paul Borawski, ASQ CEO, posted his blog on The Government/Quality Puzzle and noted that government should be seen as an “essential force of change for quality….through purchasing policy, public policy and use of (or lack of use) quality in the management of government,” the headliner story broke on TSA’s failure to distribute […]

Thumbnail : QUALITY TUESDAY: What Makes Quality Professionals Happy or Unhappy on the Job

QUALITY TUESDAY: What Makes Quality Professionals Happy or Unhappy on the Job

When ASQ CEO Paul Borawski asked this month what makes quality professionals happy or unhappy on the job, I immediately thought of sharing some of the important factors that influence job happiness for everyone.  Most of these insights are directly from the work of Frederick Herzberg, a motivational theorist who introduced important research in the […]

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An innovative training and employee development firm located in southern Vermont since 1984, we specialize in helping organizations get the most out of their people by raising the bar, inspiring potential and partnering with organizations to build a people-centered, high-engagement culture.

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