Tiered daily management is the foundational to sustained continuous improvement. In this article we dive into the focus of each level’s tiered meetings and how getting it right creates unbeatable synergy.
Are you struggling to pull a string through the various layers of your organisation to join the operational, the tactical, and the strategic? Do you find it difficult to weave a consistent, coherent message and standardise approaches to problem solving?
Overcome these challenges by taking a connected, tiered daily management approach.
The Antidote to Misinformation
Communication and alignment are significant challenges in every organisation. Yet, in many ways, these should be the easiest and cheapest problem to overcome. Information is too often hidden and/or siloed. It is captured ad-hoc and it is not given to people at the appropriate time. Time and time again I see information becoming a currency of power and control.
In these environments it becomes ‘misinformation’. Gossip, assumptions, and opinions rule; causing fear and uncertainty. This makes it near impossible to create cohesion via strategic alignment and uphold the culture of learning and improvement necessary to evolve and succeed over the long term.
The antidote to this toxic (and ultimately fatal) situation is to develop a structured Daily Management System (DMS). This is a system whereby key process information is translated into a visual format and made public for all stakeholders to interact with. It liberates information and creates an egalitarian environment; people at all levels and functions have regular access to relevant, meaningful information.
A quality DMS will be lay the foundation for structured communication forums in which employees can express thoughts, ideas and opinions on information presented or even the way in which it is communicated.
Visualising The Business Tiers
A DMS typically works most effectively when structured in a tiered format. Essentially cascading down from the strategic level, through the tactical level, down to an operational level and flowing just as smoothly back up.
We generally consider a tiered system to be comprised of three or four levels, each with their own focus and cadences for meetings:
Tier 1 – Frontline Staff
At Tier 1, a frontline daily meeting is conducted by the functional area leader and the frontline team.
The meeting is focussed on day-to-day operations, process metrics and problem solving. The metrics are a granular derivative of the strategic objectives and align directly with long term business and improvement objectives. Here’s an example of a Tier 1 board on TeamAssurance:
If the above looks familiar, that’s because the board is simply traditional visual management. Where it differs is that data is captured in real-time, digitally. No administrative burden of collecting sheets or whiteboard marker scrawls from each team’s physical shift board.
If you’re just starting to implement daily management meetings or the above chart looks overwhelming – keep it simple. Just start by creating a space where your teams can share immediate frustrations, issues and ideas daily.
The immediate benefits being visibility of issues and the ability to triage / prioritise. Then you can start to further develop your processes; Tier 1 meetings help you work on the process whilst working in the processes.
Tier 2 – Middle Management
Tier 2 includes the functional / cross-functional leadership groups. They too should be conducting a daily meeting, structured to elucidate a more tactical view of high-level, weekly to monthly metrics.
Here these leaders can report out on the daily performance in their area of responsibility. They can escalate any items that require peer oversight or support and escalate things further to a senior manager for support or key decisions. Where Tier 1 focuses on Reactive Improvement, Tier 2 are able to look at the Systems of Work they each own that deliver the results they are seeing. Below are some examples using the Human/Machine/Material/Method framework. The focus of these systems are to seek out and solve for predictable problems in a controlled and predictable way.
Tier 3 – Senior Leadership
Senior leaders in Tier 3 should hold meetings on either a weekly, fortnightly, or monthly basis. This meeting has a strategic focus, with the lens squarely on the organisation’s quarterly / yearly timeline.
The Tier 3 meeting is the rudder that steers the ship. Its purpose is to understand how effectively the strategic initiatives, project activities, and communications are translating into tangible and sustainable outcomes.
An interconnected daily management system supports this decision making by centralising data and contextualising it for the executive function. One central source of truth from the frontline to the boardroom means no lost data, no time wasted wrangling information, and a true representation of the org-wide picture.
Clarity Through Cadence & Communication
Having a tiered communication structure, as suggested above, creates an inclusive, consultative and cooperative process environment. It removes many of the barriers to entry; providing access to information, communication and more importantly support.
All tiers are working in tandem, in complementary cycles to assist every individual and team in achieving their objectives. Plus these objectives all align and bolster each other.
Pact Group, a leading sustainable packaging manufacturer, demonstrates how tiered daily management, alongside visual tools, has achieved exactly this:
Tiered management brings people, and traditionally siloed levels and departments, together. There are clearly defined, communicated, and shared goals that cascade vertically and connect each function horizontally. When combined with a focus on implementing quality visual management, and practiced with enthusiasm and discipline, tiered daily management leads to high-performing teams in all areas.
Tiered Daily Management is part of an interconnected C.I. framework
A Tiered Daily Management process that supports the entire PDCA loop is key to effective, continuous improvement. However, to align all of the people, processes and systems involved in the above we must also consider how adjacent processes and systems interact. The Lean tools we discuss regularly like standardised problem solving techniques, daily huddles, and Kamishibai Boards should all be developed together.
The illustration below demonstrates how we designed the interconnected TeamAssurance platform to avoid locally optimised, disconnected ‘Point Solutions’ (digital or analog) that do not help, and may even hinder your organisation’s Lean efforts.
If you’re a business in need (or a consultant with clients in need) and you’d like to explore a daily management system with focus on tying your tiers together contact us for a demonstration of the TeamAssurance platform today.