Jun 09, 2018

1) Will Work Groups & Teams work at Green River, why or why not? 2) What are the differences in Leadership at both facilities?

This paper concentrates on the primary theme of 1) Will Work Groups & Teams work at Green River, why or why not? 2) What are the differences in Leadership at both facilities? in which you have to explain and evaluate its intricate aspects in detail. In addition to this, this paper has been reviewed and purchased by most of the students hence; it has been rated 4.8 points on the scale of 5 points. Besides, the price of this paper starts from £ 79. For more details and full access to the paper, please refer to the site.

Kenneth Dailey of FMC Green River: groups, teams, leadership and skills...

Using the appropriate organizational analysis format continue your analysis for Kenneth Dailey of FMC Green River by focusing on groups and organizational processes.

** See ATTACHED file(s) for complete details **

While engaging the analytical process keep in mind the differences that exist between FMC Green River and FMC Aberdeen and continue to think in terms of what would work at the Wyoming facility and why.

1) Will Work Groups & Teams work at Green River, why or why not?

2) What are the differences in Leadership at both facilities?

3) How will changes at Green River need to be implemented to match Leadership skills?

4) How does the communication process differ between Green River and Abeerden?

5) Could Green River effectively use the unique communication process adopted by Aberdeen?

Here is the web site where the case study is located


Once at the site please click on
Search content & create your book. It`s in the middle of the page
Next enter in your email address and it will take you into the site
Next click on management and then companies on the left side of the page
A new box will appear, then click on the letter F and goto FMC

There is only one case study for it by James G Clawson






Kenneth Dailey, site manager for FMC Corporation’s Green River, Wyoming, facility, leaned back in his seat in the conference room near his office. He was listening to a team of employees tell him about their visit to FMC’s Aberdeen, South Dakota, plant and the unusual operating procedures they had observed there. Dailey was intrigued with the results that Roger Campbell, plant manager at Aberdeen, and his predecessors had been able to achieve at the plant, and he had sent this team to see it and make recommendations about whether or not it would work at Green River. He wondered if the Aberdeen system would work for his operation as a whole, in part, or not at all; if there were parts that might work, he wondered what they were and how to implement them.


Dailey knew that his operation was different from the Aberdeen plant in a number of significant ways and that these differences would make his deliberations difficult. First, Aberdeen had only a single customer, while Green River had over 100 and distributed its products worldwide. Second, the Aberdeen facility employed only 100 people, while Green River had 1,150. Third, Aberdeen produced basically a single product, while Green River had several product lines. Fourth, Aberdeen had been a new start-up five years ago, while the first of the several Green River plants was begun in 1948. Dailey was supervising the start-up of three new plants in his complex this year, though, and recognized that similarity. Fifth, the two units functioned in very different industries--Aberdeen in defense and Green River in chemicals. Finally, Aberdeen had no union, while the Green River site worked with the United Steel Workers of America.


Despite these differences, there were several features of the Aberdeen management approach that were either appealing to Dailey or suggested that the Aberdeen approach might fit his operation. Operating under FMC corporate guidelines, both management teams enjoyed, along with the other 87 FMC North American sites, considerable flexibility in how they ran their businesses. Both units also had a common link to the FMC corporate image and objectives and thus had some similar operating values and systems. Dailey also knew that productivity in the Aberdeen plant had grown dramatically since its opening and that costs had continued to drop. Finally, Dailey felt that the principles and values upon which the Aberdeen system were built aligned well with his own. As Dailey listened to his team describe the Aberdeen system, he continued making mental notes and questions about the system and its applicability to the situation in Green River.



2           FMC Corporation


FMC Corporation was a Chicago-based conglomerate with $3.4 billion in 1989 sales spread over five major businesses: Industrial Chemicals ($975,000), Performance Chemicals ($566,000), Precious Metals ($190,000), Defense Systems ($900,000), and Machinery and Equipment ($783,000). The company’s products included military equipment (including the Bradley Fighting Vehicle), a variety of industrial chemicals, gold and other precious metals, agricultural chemicals and a variety of specialty chemicals, and a broad range of specialized machinery and equipment for the material-handling, petroleum, and food industries. When FMC’s Naval Systems Division (NSD) won a secondary sourcing bid with the U.S. Navy to supply them with surface-ship missile launching canisters, many factors pressed NSD management to consider a new plant to fill the contract. Head­quartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, NSD was a large facility, with over 40 acres under factory roof and more than 3,000 employees. Its primary product was naval surface-ship gun mounts, large systems that were produced at the rate of about 1 per month. The smaller (2’ x 2’ x 20’) missile canister could be produced at the rate of about 2 per day and was viewed by NSD as a volume product that required a different production approach from that of the gun mounts. NSD executives also noted that, since the canisters contract was a fixed-price one, the new operation was much more like a “commercial” operation than the cost-plus government contract under which NSD usually worked. Furthermore, recent investigations of the local business environments suggested that the tax regulations, community support, and available labor pools and wage rates were more favorable in nearby South Dakota than in Minnesota.


With these factors in mind, NSD’s director of manufacturing, Ron Weaver, chose Bob Lancaster as the manager for a new plant. Lancaster had been plant manager in FMC’s construction equipment division’s Bowling Green, Kentucky, plant when Weaver had been director of manufacturing for divisional headquarters in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. While in Bowling Green, Lancaster had captured Weaver’s attention with his unorthodox managerial style and ability to raise plant productivity some 10 to 15 points higher than the parent Cedar Rapids facility. In the fall of 1984, Weaver and Lancaster chose Aberdeen from among many aggressive offers as the site for the new facility. Aberdeen was a town of about 30,000 people located 90 minutes flight time southwest of Minneapolis. The Aberdeen Development Corporation had offered to build a building to FMC specifications, to give FMC favorable tax status, and to assist in whatever way possible in return for the selection. FMC negotiated a 7-year lease on the new building, with options to renew annually thereafter.


Although NSD had seen the missile canisters as a natural extension of its work with other naval surface-ship weapons systems, the new product was different in many ways and surprisingly complex. First, the canisters had to be strong enough to withstand the tremendous heat and explosive force of the ignited rocket engines that propelled the missiles. A structurally failed canister could endanger the entire ship and the lives of its crew. The missiles used were powered by solid-propellant engines that, once lit, could not be shut down. If a missile failed to launch, the canister would have to contain and control the engine until it burned out. For this reason, the canisters were fitted with a controllable fire extinguisher system that could flood the entire canister.




The tubes were also fitted with launching electronics that armed the missiles’ warheads and ignited the engines. The insides of the tubes were lined with a system of rails and flanges that guided the missiles out of the tubes on a straight course and allowed their folded guidance fins to extend properly. The inside of the top part of the tube was also covered with a shock-absorbing material to ease the impact on the warheads of any inadvertent bumps from loading or the rigors of sea passage. The entire canister had to be clean and relatively free of dirt to minimize the possibility of malfunction. The tubes were also fitted with an anti-electromagnetic shielding system that shielded the missiles and their launch electronics from any disruptive electromagnetic force. The top of the canister had to have carefully designed tearable membranes to keep the tube clean and yet allow free and easy passage once the missile was ignited. Also, amid the extremely corrosive conditions of sea life, the canisters had to be completely rust proof. Pinpoint-sized holes in the rust-proofing paint on the canisters would begin to run and wear through in as little as two weeks at sea. The canisters were designed and built to fit in eight-tube modules in large holes in the decks of missile cruisers and frigates. Consequently, they also had to have armored, water-tight, and carefully synchronized sections of decking with a hatch for each tube to be secured in place after the loaded tubes were lowered into the decks of the ships.


NSD also knew that modifications of the present tube design were coming soon. New prototypes would probably include stronger structural components, heat-sensitive and flame-retardant paint materials that would immediately well to 32 times their normal size in case of a fire, and more sophisticated electronics subassemblies. Consequently, if the new facility were to survive, it would have to have the capacity of responding to and contributing to these new designs as they came along.



Bob Lancaster


Lancaster was known throughout FMC as something of a maverick. As the plant manager at Bowling Green, he had tried several new approaches to management, most of which were based on principles of participative management, trust of production workers, and respect for the individual. One Lancaster story originated when he worked where they built cranes in Bowling Green. One young man from a poor family came and asked for the blueprints to the company’s crane. He said he was going to build a scale model, sell it, and then go to college. Lancaster gave him the blueprints. Several months later, the boy returned with a remarkable scale, working model of the crane. Lancaster asked him how much it was worth. The boy said $5,000. Lancaster paid him $20,000 and installed it in front of the office building as a marketing tool. The divisional controller expressed serious concern with Lancaster’s action. Lancaster persisted, though, knowing that he was paying for the boy’s college education.


Stories like this about Lancaster circulated through the company. One time, Lancaster had told his employees that they knew what needed to be done and he expected them to do that without bothering him. If they needed something they couldn’t get, he remarked offhandedly, then steal it. The next morning as Lancaster arrived in his office, he noticed that his water cooler was gone; he later found it in the welding bay. Recognizing this as a test of his commitment to his ideas, he left the cooler where it was and did without himself. Another time, Lancaster had a customer who was complaining about late delivery of parts. When another order for a small part came in, Lancaster had a parachutist carry the part and jump into the customer’s back yard. Then he called to see if that was fast enough service. Once he had been pressing divisional leadership for a new retractable factory door that would accelerate the flow of materials. The division had balked at the cost and refused. Lancaster then began encouraging an employee to drive his fork lift truck through the wall, saying that it was the only way they could get through the bureaucracy. At first, the employee resisted but finally gave in and destroyed the wall in question. Lancaster got his retractable door.


Roger Campbell, the first quality manager at Aberdeen and later plant manager, explained one of Lancaster’s central beliefs:


He had a saying, “What’s the worst they can do to me?” And then he’d sit and tell you the worst. “The worst they could do is kill me, right? And as long as I’m OK with dying, I’m OK. I’ve made my peace with dying. What is it that’s gonna stop me?”


In his negotiations with Ron Weaver, Lancaster had said that at Aberdeen he wanted to build a participative-management system on the principle of trust, involving self-directing work teams that would eliminate fear from among all employees. In January 1985, Lancaster began to assemble a team to build and manage the new plant. He wanted people who were open to new ideas, who had a history of participative-management interests, who were dedicated to serving the customer, and who were not only willing but eager to create something new, something outside the mainstream of current management practice. He chose five men, four of whom had grown up in the South Dakota area and who therefore wanted to live in the Aberdeen area for more than professional reasons. During this recruitment period, Lancaster also began to formulate the basic principles that would govern the new plant. He printed these up for all to read and to use in training his new team (see Exhibit 1).


Lancaster’s desire to create a new management system at Aberdeen presented something of a problem for the plant’s only customer, the U.S. Navy. Navy contracts required adherence to MTh­Q-9858, which specified inspection systems, supervision, and other quality-control processes that would not be manifestly visible at Aberdeen. Roger Campbell explained that


Bob Lancaster was a master at sitting down with other human beings and talking about what it is that’s important and what isn’t. He spent a lot of time with the local NAVPRO [U.S. Navy purchasing department] folks telling them that he considered them his customer, and that he was going to do what was necessary to make sure that he kept them satisfied with what was going on there. He convinced them that participative management and the quality standards were not mutually exclusive. He spent a lot of time doing just that. This is the “commercial mentality” we were trying to get. Commercial people are business people.



Having selected his leadership team and cleared the way with the Navy, Lancaster began organizing his staff and teaching them the principles that would govern the plant. The entire organization would be built on trust of every employee: they would eliminate fear altogether; they would eliminate supervisors and foremen by organizing self-directing work teams; they would expect people to assume and exercise responsibility; they would pay everyone a salary based on their ability to contribute; and they would maintain high standards of quality and service. Lancaster began meeting with his staff every night after work in Minneapolis for extended dinner discussions about how they should organize the plant. These sessions often lasted for three hours and extended over a three-month period. Out of these meetings and Lancaster’s values statement, the group developed the initial concepts that were to become the Aberdeen Credo shown in Exhibit 2.



Employee Selection


Employee selection for the Aberdeen plant became a rigorous process that focused on a four-hour assessment-center activity. Lancaster hired a consultant to lead his team through a two-day seminar that identified the kind of employee that would thrive in the new environment. Their underlying philosophy was that technical skills were more easily trained than personal and interpersonal skills and attitudes. Once the group had agreed on what those skills were, the consultant developed four group exercises for use in identifying those skills. The skills and attitudes targeted by the workshop were group skills, communications skills, personal skills, problem-solving skills, results orientation, and leadership skills. These were the same criteria that the company determined to use in performance evaluations.


The recruiting assessment centers were typically conducted on Saturday mornings, in which 12 applicants were divided equally into two groups, each with two assessors. As the groups worked on the various problems and tasks given them during the morning, the assessors would observe and rate each applicant on the key dimensions. Each assessor used a 1-7 rating scale where 4 was the average acceptable level of that skill in that assessor’s view. After each task, the assessors and applicants would rotate to give the assessors each a chance to observe all of the applicants. When the applicants had been dismissed at noon, the assessors would remain to compare notes and ratings, to generate a composite score for each applicant, and to make hiring decisions. Typically, only 4 of the 12 applicants would meet the assessors’ minimal standards. The opportunity for assessors to review hiring criteria and values and to reach consensus on what they looked for in candidates was a significant culture-building aspect of the assessment center.


All of the exercises in the assessment center were designed to highlight aspects of group­versus-individual behavior. The goal of the first exercise was to have each and every member of the team construct a completed square from parts of squares given to each team member. The second was a survival exercise where team members had to rank the importance of a list of items left to them in the midst of a life-and-death emergency (like being shipwrecked at sea, crash landed in the subarctic, or stranded on the moon). The third exercise was a hiring decision that had to be made by a leaderless group. Many of the “candidates” were minorities. The fourth exercise was a problem-solving situation where each of the team members had important but disparate clues to the solutions.


By 1990, this recruiting-and-selection process had produced 100 Aberdeen employees, 74 of which worked in production. The administration manager commented that they had 30 percent women plantwide, and about 8 percent minorities, primarily American Indians. He noted that the goal of the plant was to have 50 percent women.





Lancaster and his staff expected that, in order to make the experiment work, employees in the facility would need to have introductory and ongoing training. They began with an orientation to the philosophy of the Aberdeen plant in which the idea that everyone was responsible for the success of the facility was presented. If this were to work, management noted, there could be no game playing and no withholding of data in plant relationships. Lancaster and his team told the new employees that they were to be included in the decision-making process and they were to be trusted with all relevant management information. Furthermore, employees were taught how to give and receive information about each other as data rather than as judgments or criticisms.


Fear of every kind, especially fear of failure, Lancaster noted, also had to be eliminated. Failure was sometimes the result of taking good risks and usually had a positive effect on learning and growth. People should not be held at risk for making honest mistakes and for learning from them. He stressed that the usefulness of any innovation was limited to the time that a better idea came along and that every employee should be seeking new innovations constantly. The management team taught that the “invented here” mentality caused people to stop looking for and accepting new solutions. They stressed that there were no job definitions in the plant, and that therefore everyone was responsible for making top-quality canisters profitably. The management team also discussed their own willingness to share power and to include all employees in the decision-making process. Fear and trust, they said, could not survive in the same environment. People had to be free to do the right thing and to make decisions without fear of reprisal and arbitrary anger and dismissal. Lancaster knew from his previous experiences that the new employees would test these ideas before accepting them fully.


Lancaster and his staff retained a consultant from New Jersey to conduct three nine-day seminars divided into three-day segments in topics like personal growth, accepting responsibility, interpersonal skills, nurturing fellow employees, giving clear and descriptive feedback, causation, a sense of “family” at work, and team management skills. These sessions were called “Mastery Training” and included the idea that people were perfect as they were, and therefore employees had no need to try to change others. In Mastery Training, useful feedback consisted of relating data and facts, including how one felt about those facts. The sessions were intended to point out that these ideas were not simply nice, abstract ideas, but the values upon which Aberdeen would operate. By 1990, three groups of fifteen employees had been through the full nine days of Mastery Training.


They had been encouraged to pass on what they had learned to those who had not yet gone. At least one employee interviewed claimed that these seminars changed her entire outlook on life and work.


In the emerging Aberdeen culture, criticism and allegation were replaced by direct feedback. Campbell explained:


We talk about feedback being neither positive nor negative; it’s only feedback. That’s an important piece of what we do in the evaluation system. When you’re giving somebody feedback, you’re saying this isn’t negative or positive; it’s just feedback. For example, “I notice you were late days last week. When you were late, that caused me to work harder; I noticed I was pretty irritated about that.” People talk about how this training helps them in their families. We talk about the plant being a family. As a result of being here, people should be doing better with their lives and taking more responsibility for their lives.



Team Organization and Management


The fundamental work unit of the Aberdeen organization was the work team. Teams ranging in size from 3 to 16 managed virtually every aspect of the plant’s work and reporting. Teams scheduled work hours, purchased materials and tools, planned work schedules, coordinated with other teams, evaluated team members’ performance, recommended salary increases, generated reports, and dealt with virtually every problem that arose in the running of the plant.


Every employee at Aberdeen was assigned to a team. A team leader was chosen by the team from among volunteers. The team decided how long team leaders would serve; this tenure varied from a few weeks to two or more years depending on the team leader’s willingness and perceived competency. Each team also selected a supply person, a safety person, and a quality person to pay particular attention to those areas. Teams met as needed to discuss and resolve issues that confronted them. A team member of the Deck and Hatch team (responsible for assembling the decking and hatches that covered a pod of 8 canisters) who had been with the company 5 years and in manufacturing environments for 19 years commented:


We have 13 on our team now. When we have problems, we don’t wait for a meeting. If our leader met with {the plant manager] about a schedule or something, he’d come back and holler, “Come on over! We need to talk for a few minutes.” And we would get things ironed out right away. That really helps. We do not wait for pay evaluation time to talk. If we have problems, we take care of them right away. It is so much easier that way. If you have something on your mind that you are going to talk to this person about it, go see them now. If you do, a month from now, that person might have realized what he was doing and have changed it. The problem is, if you don’t get it out and talk about it, it just keeps getting worse and worse. Our people have learned that.





Each employee’s work schedule at Aberdeen was administered by his or her team. One team member outlined the system:


On a normal week, our average hours are 6:00 to 4:30. We say you have to call in if you’re not there by 8:00. 8:00 is late, but unless it really disrupts the function of another station or another team or something, anything between 6:00 and 8:00 is okay. We work 40-hour weeks, 4 or 5 days a week. If our schedule is good, some of the teams may work 4 10-hour days and then they have Friday, Saturday, and Sunday off. Then the rest of us use Friday for any kind of catch-up paperwork or updating manufacturing procedures or anything like that that has to be done. Working 50 hours a week is pretty normal out here. This year we have cut down a lot compared to the last few years. We work the overtime to insure our jobs. We’d rather work overtime than to have more people hired so that we were working an even 40 hours and then sometime in the future have a layoff. Now, we would just cut back to 40. It helps keep our jobs secure.


The plant manager added:


The interesting thing is that the teams will make it OK for people to work different hours. Mothers out here with young children are allowed to work around baby-sitting schedules. When people have baby-sitter problems or things like that, the team will figure it all out and still get the work done. I couldn’t administer that. Nor could anybody else. They can administer that so much better than anything I could do.


Team leaders were an important part of the Aberdeen team organization. Donna Cwikla, a former team leader for over two years, described the role:


Team leaders facilitate. If you see a problem, you call them together. If someone comes to me and says, “I have a problem,” you don’t solve it. You say, “Okay, let’s get a meeting.” You keep things going if meetings get side-tracked. If they get into personal fights or just talking, the team leader has to get them back on track. Team leaders are responsible. You’ve got to make schedule, so you can suggest this and that. But it is up to the whole team what your schedule is, what your hours are, and what we do. Team leading is facilitating mostly.


I think the hardest thing for me [as a team leader] was to step back and stop taking responsibility. If the team failed, I would take it as if I had failed. That was really hard to get over. But once I realized that it was going to be the team’s responsibility, whether I was a member or the team leader, it took a lot of the pressure off.


The importance of selecting the right kind of people to fit the system was highlighted by this team member:


One thing that works against us is people who withhold from actually involving themselves or people that just don’t want that responsibility. There are very few of those people. Most people enjoy the fact that they can be responsible and take responsibilities easily. But there are a couple of people that I have worked with that said, “I don’t really need this job; I don’t really have to participate and be responsible; my husband has a better job and we get by, or I am just working here because xyz.” That makes it hard.


The team will sit down and counsel that person, if they are like late for work, if their quality is bad, or whatever the problem may be, just their attitude, or getting along with other people. At any given time, your team or a team member can ask for an evaluation of you. If the team feels that it is necessary to have it documented and put it into your personnel file, they will bring in Sheila [human resources manager] and sit down and go around the room and say, “This is what I feel, and I don’t think you are living up to what the expectations are of this place, and we either feel that you should conform or else fmd another job.” They are usually given a choice and a time limit to how long they think that it should take a person to come around. Usually people react fairly well. There have been a few people who have just left; they just didn’t like it. And they just didn’t fit in. Some people who just didn’t like working indoors.


One team member talked about program innovations that teams made:


We are responsible to keep our own area clean. There for a while, it had gotten so that production was really heavy, and the people weren’t caring about the way the place looked as much as what they had when I had started. I have always been kind of picky about that, because I knew how good and clean the place can look, where other people if they come in and it is halfway dirty they never realize that. So, I went out and purchased two signs that said “Cleanest Area in the Plant,” one for the plant and one for the office. We rotate them on Mondays. The last team to receive it will go around, survey the plant on Monday morning before the 8:00 plant meeting and then come in and give it to another team to keep for a week. It’s an honor and lots of fun. We used to have a Pig Pen award, but the negative began to outweigh the positive. We usually concentrate heavily on the positive. Negative just shows up. You don’t have to try to find it. And people bring it from other plants, other jobs, their home life, whatever. You don’t have to work to make negative feelings happen.





Managing at Aberdeen required individuals who were willing to share information. Campbell held plantwide meetings Monday and Thursday mornings involving all 100 employees;


[Thursdays] We talk about schedule; we talk about quality; we talk about customer questions and what’s going on with the competition. About costs, about our new budget, about overtime, productivity—all those things. We talk about the contract:

“Here’s the contract, and here’s the contract delivery requirement. Here’s how we think we have to smooth this work to make this factory work and help the contract schedules. Here’s how each team has to interface with each other team in order to get this flow going so that it gets through the assembly in the time it’s supposed to. Here’s when we are going to start ordering materials and tooling.” We run that meeting as a group. Then people go off in their teams and talk about whether or not this makes sense, and can we live with this schedule, and maybe we ought to move this to there, and so on. So, when they’re done, it’s their schedule; it’s not mine.


On Monday, we open it up; we talk about everything. We talk about the company picnic, about the fishing trip, personal sorts of things that go on. We talk about anything that anybody wants to know about—softball games and who went fishing last week. We make that a time when people get together and talk about what needs to be talked about. See, my perception is that it’ll happen anyway. I’d just as soon have it done there where you aren’t asked six different times to tell the story over and over. Observers who just spend a day in the plant won’t see that time savings. They’ll just say, “Gee, you guys spend a lot of time in meetings.” Thursday’s meeting is more focused towards the plant, the schedule: Who needs help; what are we going to do about this weekend?


Two large charts in the cafeteria provided focal points for these discussions. One was a diagrammatic layout of the plant with movable stickers showing each canister’s location in the manufacturing process. The second was a large table showing productivity measures for each department in the plant. Since these charts were updated weekly, anyone in the room could easily see what was going well and what needed further attention.


With regard to management information, Campbell described the custom-built Aberdeen system:


We built a customized dBase system in this plant. The neat part of it is that it fills the demands of the new government requirements, material-handling requirements, and accounting system, including the 10 key elements. We think that $200,000 systems don’t do the things that ours does. We tie in and integrate shop-floor control systems with the purchasing and quality system. And we run all that off the master schedule. For $30,000. That was a part of our credo. We keep things simple.


The Aberdeen reward structure was unusual in a number of ways. First, all employees at the Aberdeen plant were referred to as technicians and were paid on a salary basis. Those who were production technicians were also paid overtime for any hours worked beyond 40 per week. There were no annual bonuses, no profit-sharing plans, no stock-option plans. Elaine Jensen, a team member, described one reward the teams had in addition to salary:


We do have a thing going right now where if we can keep four or five factors, including productivity, sick time, our downtime, and our absenteeism, at certain rates, we get a day off around the 4th of July. So, it’s sort of like a bonus or an incentive type day.


The evaluation system included a continuous peer-review process. Team members were expected to give accurate and timely feedback to their team members on their work on an ongoing basis. When evaluation time came around, the team decided whether or not a team member had learned enough and contributed enough to deserve a pay increase.



Qualification Standards


At Aberdeen, each team member was expected to learn all of the jobs associated with their team so that, if one person were gone, others could fill in. This was done on a voluntary basis at a self-determined pace through a certification process. Team members who were certified on each set of tasks assigned to the team were expected to respond to requests by other team members for coaching, training, and eventual certification.


People were paid according to the number of skills, called “qualification standards,” in which they were certified. Each skill had a number of points assigned to it according to the contribution it made to the plant’s work. The more jobs a person could do, the more valuable they were as an employee, the more they were paid. The plant had guidelines for how long a person had to work with a particular skill before being eligible for that pay level. Overall, though, a person could move to the top of the five-step pay scale within two years. An outline of the pay system and the related qualification standards appears in Exhibit 3.


Certification for each of the qualification standards involved four basic, agreed-upon steps. First, an employee had to fmd a coach who was willing to teach the set of skills to him or her. Then, the aspirant would observe the certified coach perform the task to see how it was done correctly. Third, the person would perform the task under the supervision of the coach until the coach was satisfied that the person had learned the skills. Finally, the person would perform the tasks alone for subsequent review by the coach. When the coach was satisfied that the person could perform the task in the skill set independently and properly and with high quality, he or she would sign a certificate indicating that the person was “certified” in that skill set. Roger Campbell described this as “watch while I do it; do it while I watch; do it alone; follow-up.”


Elaine Jensen described her experience learning new skills:


When I came out here, the only thing I knew about welding was that you weren’t suppose to look at it because you would go blind. We lived on a farm, and my dad told me. I went into receiving, but I wanted to learn to weld. I worked hard on those certifications. To me, it was like going to trade school. That’s what this whole shop

is. People are not hired on their technical skills, they are hired on their behavioral factors. We make our salary and are still being taught a skill that we can take with us the rest of our lives. I think it is fantastic!


Every Monday and Wednesday, we had a class, on our own time. We came out here, and we welded. They’ve changed that now to get more people certified because of the demand for welders. So they pay them during the regular hours now. I learned how to machine parts and to paint. Some of those skills you can take with you no matter where you go. Once you learn them, it’s great.



Layoffs, Turnover, and Morale


There had been only two forced terminations at Aberdeen in recent history. In both cases, the employee’s team members concluded that the individual did not fit temperamentally with the management concepts at Aberdeen. One individual, described by several Aberdeen employees, simply wanted to be told what to do and not have to accept responsibility to find out what to do.


Turnover at the Aberdeen plant, at 5-10 percent annually, was not unusually high or low. Most people who left the plant did so because they did not like the independence of the working culture, because they had found better paying work elsewhere in the country, or because they were going back home.


A team member noted:


We’ve had maybe 5 percent turnover since I started, I think. I think that is fair to say.

I have been working on the [companyj newspaper lately and, on the last three issues,

I have gone back through all the people who had started out here and the people who

have left, trying to track down everybody that has moved on to other things. What

I have found is that everybody has really done great with their lives. Everybody

seems to be really happy, really content with what they have done and that leaving

FMC was a good decision for them. FMC does not discourage that.


Roger Campbell also commented on turnover:


I don’t want you damaged when you leave here. If it doesn’t look like you fit into this organization, then it’s time now for you to go find a job someplace else where you’ll be happier and more comfortable. There’s a lot more responsibility here than at most places. Are people going to stay here for money? No, probably not. They stay because they’re in control of their lives, their destinies here. The idea of having people walk around with smiles on their faces while they’re doing their job seems like it’s foreign to many people. And you spend half of your life here [at work]! People at work ought to be happy.


Morale was consistently high. People commented on how much they appreciated being trusted by management, having management’s help in times of need, having a management who listened to their concerns, and having control over their work environment, pace, and structure.



Managerial Style and Organizational Culture


Dailey’s team noted that a key balance in self-directed systems was the amount of upper level involvement in planning and implementing such systems. For some, this was a paradox. Mark Scherschligt, manager of administration, commented on the importance of the business leader in making a system like the one at Aberdeen work:


I truly believe that this has got to come from the guy at the top. You could pronounce that, “yeah, there is no fear, everything’s on trust.” But if you don’t act like that and really have a commitment to it, it won’t work. It is a commitment. You’ve got to let people make mistakes. We see that when people from other FMC plants come to visit, that the guy at the top says, “yeah, I want this to happen, but I’m not willing to give up any of the power that I’ve got to make it happen.” I see that so much when people come visit here. That’s the thing that’s got to be changed, that unwillingness to give up their so-called power.


Given this emphasis on the leadership of the operating officer, Dailey’s team had asked Campbell about his managerial style:


I am not going to run off and fire you or take disciplinary action against you for telling me how you feel about something. Now, if they can tell me how they feel, it also follows that I get to go out and tell people how I feel about what they’re doing. One of the rules we’ve got here, and we’ve got danm few of them, is you don’t attack the human being. We tly to run this place like a family. Once people come in here, they’re OK like they are. We don’t go around trying to change human beings. And what the heck, I’m too tired and too busy to go off and try something impossible like change human beings anyway. So, I’m OK with people being like they are. Once in a while, there are some things that I point out to them and ask them to consider changing.


Now, this isn’t a democracy. T

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