Would you like your leadership team to communicate better? Does it seem like you just aren’t always on the same page, pursuing different goals or competing for resources?
Defining leadership tiers and offering guidance for how each tier meets might help.
When I help organizations with their visual management systems, we usually define 4 critical tiers of leadership.
Tier 1 is always at the value creation level where a first line leader – either a team leader or a supervisor – supports a team of 5 to 7 people. At this level, the focus during their morning huddle is on Yesterday and Today.
An hour or so later, the tier 1 leaders will huddle as a team with the tier 2 leader. This might be a supervisor or a department manager, depending on the work and the depth of the organization. At the Tier 2 huddle, those tier 1 leaders learn to be a team, working together on the area or department’s goals. They share the information from the Tier 1 huddles, particularly the current status and what problems they anticipate that day, but they need to also be looking forward for the next week or two. This will help them anticipate problems like personnel shortages (people going on vacation or flu season) and material shortages.
At the end of the tier 2 huddle, all of these leaders should go for a gemba walk through the work area, talking to people, sharing new information that may have come from the tier 2 meeting, providing support and encouragement, and generally improving the relationships through the department.
About an hour afterwards, the tier 2 leaders will huddle as a team with their tier 3 leader, who will probably be a department manager or a division leader. In this huddle, the tier 2 leaders learn to be a team, working together for the department or division’s goals. They share information from the tier 2 huddle and their gemba walk (don’t forget to gather things to celebrate!) Tier 3 focuses on the week and the coming month, but still huddles every day. After this huddle, the tier 3 leader takes the tier 2 leaders out for a gemba walk for the same reasons as before.
Toward the end of the day, the tier 3 leaders will huddle with their tier 4 leader, who will probably be the division leader, general manager, or president. In this huddle, the tier 3 leaders learn to be a team, working together for the organization’s goals.
Every organization will have its own unique requirements and needs so you’ll have to tailor the structure and experiment a little to see what works.
Keep in mind that the huddles at each level aren’t formal meetings. They need to be short – 15 minutes Max. The gemba walks that follow should be about 30 minutes max.
Don’t ever forget that the underlying goal is to build effective teamwork among the managers through the middle layers of the organization. When you land on the right things to measure and to talk about every day, the organization will start to hum.
If you need help, this is what I do. Give me a call and let’s get you started.
Have a great day and I’ll see you tomorrow!