GETTING COMMITMENT TO THE ASSESSMENT PROCESS
With the trend toward decentralization and increased autonomy for business units, companies are increasingly sensitive about telling those units what to do. Focusing more on the units' plans to improve rather than their score on the assessment.
Problems faced by the company:
- One of the first problems a company faces as it is establishing an assessment process is how to get buy-in from the business units, divisions, or departments it wants assessed. "in the old days, a company's corporate headquarters dictated to a business unit that it must conduct an assessment," says AT&T's Myers.
- "That usually produced a half-hearted appli-cation, and feedback that was useless."
- AT&T wanted its people to give the application their best effort, so they made applying for the AT&T Chairman's Quality Award a voluntary process.
- With the trend toward decentralization and increased autonomy for business units, companies are increasingly sensitive about telling those units what to do.
- Like AT&T, many are choosing to inspire rather than de-mand participation.
- The benefit of relying on motivation to get an assessment done is that the participants recognize its value and conduct a useful assessment.
- The disadvantage is that units can choose not to participate, thus denying themselves and the company the benefits of the assessment.
- Kodak both inspires and demands participation.
- "We have eight business units that must assess themselves annually, using one of our assessment forms," says George Vorhauer, director of corporate quality initiatives.
- "We've said all along that this isn't something different from your business; this is to make you more competitive, to add value, and to better serve the customer." Vorhauer admits that not ali business units ap-preciate these benefits.
- "Early on, there was a tendency to see this as a lay-on—something you do in addition to the important job you have—rather than a way to measure and improve.
- We've addressed that by focusing more on the units' plans to improve rather than their score on the assessment."