Roundtable Workforce

A very famous story is told about King Arthur and his knights of the roundtable. At that time in history and even in the present day, seating configurations were designed so that there was a clear head or leader of the group of people discussing whatever strategies or policies to be decided upon. King Arthur decided that he wanted no member of his cabinet to feel less important than any other member. His cabinet sat at a roundtable to symbolize that all thoughts and comments where received, and respected equally. King Arthur wanted himself along with every other member to feel liked, and become one unit working towards one set of common goals. This philosophy resonated through many cultures as a true sign of chivalry. WH Consulting used this philosophy to develop the “Roundtable Workforce” methodology.

Roundtable Workforce is a management design that empowers every employee to feel as if they are a part of the solution. We have all heard the phrase “who am I, I just work here”. Or, “I am just a number”. These statement are company killers when customer service is your primary source of income. The key is to engage the employee in being a part of the bigger picture. You do this by showing the employee exactly how they fit into the grand scheme as it relates to your business. An employee who is positively vested in the performance of the company will work much harder toward the company goal. Employees who see where they fit into the system are more likely to perform in ways that will complement the big picture because they have been taught exactly how to do it.
This buy-in that a company seeks is accomplished by allowing the employee a seat at the “Roundtable” where their thoughts and views are given serious consideration and become a part of how the company performs is business. There are many roundtables in this system. The first roundtable is a set with top level management. Consider the roundtable to be much like the cabinet of the President of the United States or a CEOs management group. It is clear that the final decision rest with the leader. However, their willingness to listen to the opinions of his/her personnel in matters concerning the company’s direction gives a sense of commitment to the employee to whatever the outcome is decided. Employees who are heard are more likely to buy- in with their heart and their actions. A service oriented establishment cannot have employees who feel that they can only do what they are told. The set of roundtables are the department heads and their personnel. The company leads by example, and then measures the department heads to ensure that they are following suit.
Clear boundaries must be established at the top so that the “Star Power” of the department head is never compromised. He or she must be revered and looked up to by the staff. In order to assure that, the management style and ability to execute must be as good as the company’s top level. Each member of the primary roundtable must be exemplary in order for the secondary tables to have the same effect. Controlling the bottom level staff’s feelings and keeping them in sync with the top level is something we call the “Ground Truth”. It is a methodology we discuss later in Solution 44. These clear boundaries gives the department head the ability to make decisions with their personnel’s input in a manner that promotes buy-in. Where one person works towards a goal he can be effective. When two people work toward the same common goal they can be even more effective. When a team of people work toward the same common goal they become unstoppable!
To build your unstoppable team you must first develop key performance indicators (KPIs) for your company, your department, and hopefully the individual personnel will develop them for themselves. Those that do, are your future leaders that you should make it a point to invest in. Those that don’t, don’t see the company’s vision and do not belong in a service oriented establishment.
All decisions that can be made with your roundtable should be done that way. Any decisions that cannot be made by the roundtable, or even in cases where the decision is made for you, must be explained to the individuals of the roundtable like their feeling on it matter. You are seeking their choice to buy-in to what decision has been made. People who feel they have a choice work harder to support the decision they made. Even if, the decision is to follow the choice made for them. This does not work with the wrong people. However, it is nearly perfect when used in conjunction with the “Fractionation Methodology”. The “Roundtable Workforce” is a methodology that requires constant evaluation of your personnel at every level of the company. You critic their thoughts that are shared in comparison with the actions observed. What your personnel decides to do versus what they don’t do can tell you an equal amount of information.
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