Building High Performance Teams for the Future

Program Objective: To enable participants to assess the benefits of Self-Directed Teams for their organization, and to plan the design and implementation of the change effort.

Definition of Self-Directed Teams:

A group of highly trained (5-12) employees working as a Team responsible for a product (or process). The Team plans, schedules, coordinates, produces, monitors and controls the work. They are responsible for quality, quantity, costs, schedules, problem solving, safety and employee relations.

Success Story:

DELTA SYSTEMS was the Process Consultant for the Aeroquip Corporation "greenfield" plant start-up in New Haven, Indiana.  In 1997, "Industry Week" magazine named this plant one of the "Top 10 Producing Plants in the Country."


Reported Benefits of Self-Directed Teams:

           Increased Productivity, generally 20-40% gain (18 months)

           Streamlining reduces redundant bureaucracy

           Flexibility results as workers are cross-trained in jobs

           Quality Improvements are continuously identified by Teams

           Increased Commitment to organizational goals by employees

           Customer Satisfaction is achieved with rapid response and high quality products and services

           Employee Satisfaction is enhanced with those who prefer a challenge by having authority and responsibility in the workplace.


Reported Barriers to Success of SDT :

           Insufficient Training

           Resistance of First Line Supervisors

           Incompatible Systems

           Lack of Up-front Planning

           Lack of Management Support

           Lack of Worker (Union) Support


Design and Implementation Steps

The following is the design and implementation steps for a Self-Directed Team effort, although in "real life" some events take place concurrently.


  1. Decision to explore the implementation of SDT.
  2. Secure top level commitment to the SDT change effort.
  3. Secure a consultant (internal or external).
  4. Involve the Union or Employee Representative.
  5. Establish a SDT Steering Committee.
  6. Conduct a Study to determine ability, willingness andreadiness.
  7. Go/No-go Decision.
  8. Establish a SDT change effort mission statement.
  9. Determine criteria for measuring success--Critical Success Factors.
  10. Select the work group and workers to pilot the effort.
  11. Establish the framework to transfer decision-making authority.
  12. Identify new Team roles, responsibilities, and parameters.
  13. Change position names to represent new process.
  14. Review pay structure and consider changes.
  15. Review and revise the initial plan.
  16. Train the pilot work team cross-functionally and inleadership and communication skills.
  17. Implement the Self-Directed Teams.
  18. Reinforce positive behaviors.
  19. Identify problems as they occur and take corrective action.
  20. Measure Team and individual progress toward goal achievement.
  21. Reward and celebrate the success!


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Brooklyn, Michigan 49230
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