Working With Others Training Program
by James S. Byron and Patricia V. Bierley
||“I have used these
training materials well into the hundreds of times...The impact of
these simple skills still amazes me. ”
||Steve Burke, Plant Manager
I have used these training materials well into the hundreds of times
either in part, as a whole, or as a complement to other training or problem
About two-thirds of the folks I've trained were truck drivers, operators,
mechanics, and various field site management and administrative folks.
The remaining training and problem solving meetings were with support
staff (e.g., process safety engineers; field safety people; customer
service people; logistics; driver trainers; home office administrative
staff; site supervisors, engineers, and operators; regional support staffs).
The length of the classes depended on the purpose of the meeting. Usually
the training has taken from six to eight hours. But when I use the training
to effect team building, we spend about 1.5 days. Of course, in team
building, we are applying the WWO skills to defining the team's goal,
building a detailed team charter, and beginning the work of the team
to accomplish its goal. When preparing others to facilitate teams, I
spend two full days training the WWO skills and having the people practice
using them to facilitate.
The training format is excellent. It provides an easy way to get participation
and acquire active feedback from attendees. By midday the skills are
in use in practice exercises and conversations among participants, as
well as being applied to problem solving. Its fun to watch the progression
that occurs in every group and identify the moment they "get it." That's
the moment when they begin to demonstrate the skills without prompting.
The impact of these simple skills still amazes me. When I am in a meeting
and the participants have not learned these skills, the sessions drag
on looping around on the same issues, with everyone saying their piece
but nobody connecting up with anyone. These meetings are unproductive,
especially the problem solving meetings, as you cannot get any traction
and forward progress because everyone is listening to him- or herself.
The feedback on the training from participants is consistently positive.
My groups average around 95% positive reaction to the training. What
is especially satisfying is the turnaround I always see. People come
into the training expecting the "same old, same old" and, by the end
of the day, they are transformed. They "get it" and most everyone is
glad to have gotten it!
I am a believer in these skills and these materials allow you to learn,
model, and teach the skills and use the skills in your work. My experience
is that if you model the skills and adhere to the training materials
as laid out, you will be successful.
As far as I am concerned, these skills should be taught in every setting
where people depend on one another. I'm a parent, I coach high school
football, and now I am a manager at work. In all my roles the skills
help me be more effective.
||“I have found the training
and use of WWO skills the key ingredient in getting executives, managers,
and operating level employees working together effectively.”
||Mark Reed, Global Continuous Improvement
Manager, Air Products and Chemicals, Inc.
I am leading the process of rolling out our Continuous Improvement (CI)
initiative to our businesses in Asia. My company has operations in eight
Asian countries. Recently we conducted a CI event where we had representatives
from all eight countries. The event was conducted in English; however,
the primary language of the participants included Bahasa, Thai, Chinese,
Japanese, and Korean. One of my biggest concerns going into the event
was how the communications would be with such a diverse team. Three of
the participants had received the "Working With Others" training. At
the beginning of the event I presented a quick overview for the entire
I was pleased to hear the participants "practicing" the skills several
times during the event. The event was a huge success. We were able to
merge eight different work process into one, were able to eliminate a
great deal of waste, and were able to reduce costs in the target work
process by 25% for a savings of $250,000 per year (not including the
elimination of a great deal of work load on eighteen administrative personnel).
The team worked very well together and communications was not an issue.
I have found the training and use of WWO skills the key ingredient in
getting executives, managers, and operating level employees working together
effectively. The materials are extremely flexible. I can tailor the training
to the highest levels of leadership or to the person in the plant by
simply switching out the examples used in the demonstrations and exercise
to fit the group with whom I am working. It is equally as easy to modify
the application activity so that I can sue the training to encompass
team building and charter development, alignment of a business direction,
analysis of our marketplace strategy, or the continuous improvement of
operations at any level.
||“By using constructive
criticism, we were able to turn his negatives into a positive and
kept the group together.”
||Mark Guy, Manager
The WWO skills are one of the best set of tools to help people communicate
and understand each other. As a manager as well as a Kaizen Leader, using
these skills has been very valuable to me. In fact, clarifying, confirming,
hitchhiking and constructive criticism have been really important to
me both at work and at home. Using the skills makes employees and even
friends feel like their opinions count for something. And they do count
for something with me, but without using the skills that message frequently
did not get across. The skills let you understand what that person is
really trying to say. In the past when I did not agree with something,
that would just be the end of it. These skills do not allow me to continue
to disagree without showing respect to the person by listening and trying
to understand their viewpoints. The payback from using these skills is
really special. The respect that people have for you grows and you feel
more satisfied because the way you want to be is the way you are being.
I have found that each skill has its own special contribution. For example,
hitchhiking on someone's idea is important because you are showing to
that person that their idea was recognized and valued. Constructive criticism
may be the most important. How you offer criticism, I think, really shows
whether you care about the other person or just about making your point.
That difference directly impacts your credibility as a manager or a party
in any relationship.
At work, apart from my manager role, these skills have been extra valuable
to me in conducting Kaizen events. I have had events when I had vice
presidents, managers, and office and plant personnel all in the same
meeting. Training the participants in these skills and having them use
the skills with each other were important means to establishing a relaxed
and open meeting where people felt as equals. The success of a Kaizen
event depends on this. Constructive criticism really played a role in
one of my Kaizen events. A plant manager was in our event along with
several plant employees. He was negative to change ideas the employees
had. By using constructive criticism, we were able to turn his negatives
into a positive and kept the group together. We ended up with a great
outcome. I urge everyone to learn these skills and use them on a daily
basis. The training materials make it easy to do.
||"The skills promote
and elevate the level of respect and involvement in an organization..."
||Carolee Smith, Training Specialist
This is an excellent training course. The materials are relevant for
all—from executives to hourly employees. The skills promote and
elevate the level of respect and involvement in an organization while
providing a valuable tool for folks to use to address outstanding work
issues or challenges.
Across over 150 training events, I have trained managers, professionals
and technicians, and administrative employees. Participants used their
new skills to identify solutions to issues that they were currently facing
such as “how do deal with organizational changes”, “lack
of trust between management and employees”, “how to better
run the business”, and “how to reduce costs”. The training
sessions typically ran 6 to 8 hours depending on the number of participants
and the issues they needed to tackle. Some sessions extended to a day
and a half. The more complex issues required follow-up meetings which
participants held on their own using their new skills. That reflects
one of the true advantages of this program’s approach—you
can shape its exercise content and length to address the current work
priorities of the learners and they walk away with a capability they
can immediately apply to improving their organization.
One of the biggest rewards I received as an instructor was experiencing
how participants valued the skills that they acquired. I’ve run
into participants months and even years after they’ve been in a
session and they’ve told me “those skills made a difference” at
their plants or departments.
Apart from improving the clarity and efficiency of getting and giving
information, I think that one of the biggest benefits from using these
skills is that they elevate the level of respect people demonstrate for
each other. The skills help folks appreciate and value each other’s
diversity. That appreciation gets felt and registered and seems to change
the climate of the department. The skills also open people to a broader
range of thinking and that seems to result in better solutions to problems.
I consistently conduct the feedback evaluation at the end of training.
Participants, on average, rate satisfaction with the class at 8 on the