Category Archives: Performance Management

Leaders Manage the Team’s Conversations

Leadership is less about the qualities of the person at the top than we often think. Team leaders need not be heroic banner-carriers, nor clever manipulators, nor even creative visionaries.  To be effective, what leaders DO need to do is focus on the quality of the group’s conversations.

Dr. Fernando Flores has written: “Leadership is a phenomenon of the conversations of a team, not of an individual.  A team participates in a set of ongoing conversations among people who commit to share an explicitly declared mission and to coordinate actions to fulfill the mission.  The leader takes action to ensure that these conversations take place and that they are assessed by the team to be effective.  The leader is the person who is granted authority by the team to take care of these conversations in an ongoing manner.”

All initiatives result from a network of requester-to-performer conversations.  The quality of these conversations determines the success of the enterprise.  Leaders should pay close attention to who says what to whom.  What is the mood?  Which specific words are used?  What is the pattern of the dialog?

All collaboration begins in conversation, but results begin when one person makes a commitment.  People take action through language that follows a certain structure.  Collaborative action involves a certain pattern of responses.

Specific words, used consciously, articulate commitments, provoke true engagement, and invoke enhanced coordination.  Someone makes an assessment of the situation.  One person makes a specific request of someone else for a certain outcome.  A performer makes an agreement or promise to deliver on the request.  The requester acknowledges the delivery and expresses satisfaction.  Notice the different mood that is created between making a request and making an assignment.  Agreements are explicitly negotiated, and once made,  they have a much greater impact on personal behavior than directions or orders.

Words lead to behaviors.  Behaviors lead to practices. Improved practices lead to teams that excel.

 

Self Management Rests On Making And Keeping Commitments

A new organization model called “self managing organizations” is gaining a following.  The idea is essentially that individuals organize themselves based on their own clear understanding of their personal role and commercial mission.  Each member of the organization is personally responsible for forging relationships, planning their own work, coordinating their actions with other members, acquiring requisite resources to accomplish their mission, and for taking corrective action with respect to other members when needed.  Relationships and organization structure arise spontaneously as each person seeks to contribute their value to the organization.  Decision-making is localized.  Individual responsibility is maximized.  This results in more self-directed work teams, employee empowerment, distributed decision making, “flattening” the organization, and elimination of bureaucratic red tape.

Formal, fixed hierarchy is non-existent.  There are no managers who doll out assignments with due dates and then hold people accountable for delivering.  Instead, each individual is accountable for coordinating around specific agreements they have made with each other.  The approach relies on developing sound practices for making and keeping commitments.  It is about the way in which people take action together by holding a shared commitment and facing changing realities.

The “conversation for action” principles originally developed by Drs. Fernando Flores and Terry Winograd back in the 1980’s still offer the most robust model for making and keeping commitments.

The smallest element of work is not a task, it’s a conversation about a task.  Someone (a requester) is asking someone else (a performer) to do something.  The conversation progresses through three stages – negotiation, delivery, and assessment.  In the first stage, the performer considers the request in light of their other commitments and priorities and makes a commitment for a delivery schedule they can make.  The requester and performer forge an explicit agreement.  Following negotiation, the conversation moves into a delivery or in-progress stage.  The two parties, along with any other followers to the task conversation, keep in touch about how the work is progressing, shifting priorties, and new issues that emerge along the way.  At any point, if the need arises, the performer may request to amend the agreement, and the two parties renegotiate a new delivery schedule.  Once the delivery is made, the conversation moves to the assessment stage in which the requester determines if the task is fully complete and offers thanks and/or feedback to the performer.

Note that this conversational model sounds obvious, but it is NOT how most of us actually operate.  It’s rare to find clear requests, definitive delivery commitments, and explicit delivery and feedback.

The “self management” model holds great promise.  But shifting to this model will require training around new conversational practices.  Software, like CommitKeeper, can help guide and embed the new practice.

Performance Management Tools: We Need Something Different, Not Just Faster

Thirty years ago, a performance management system included written and oral feedback between a manager and each of his or her direct reports.  Sometimes HR had to hound managers to complete those performance reviews, but employees could count on a meeting with their managers to discuss strengths and weaknesses, achievements against goals, and developmental targets for the next year.

The performance review was seen as a way to either justify a salary increase or, in cases where there were problems, to begin a documentation trail to move an employee out of the company without legal ramifications. Managers understood this annual process was “necessary,” but few managers, and not even the HR folks, believed that the annual performance review led to improved employee or departmental performance.

The basic process has evolved little, with the exception of two changes: (1) There is a somewhat greater emphasis on setting goals, and (2) we have new tools for constructing review documents. Technology advances have been directed primarily at speeding up the process, not improving it.

Performance review writing circa 1984 involved a manager composing a one- or two-page personal appraisal report using a word processor (the newer programs at the time had spell checking). Today managers can “write” the review with a few clicks of a mouse. They use performance management software to select the characteristics (e.g., “exhibits teamwork”) from a predefined list (sometimes called “coaching tips”) to indicate how strongly or weakly worded they want to make the point. A few clicks and voilà, a politically correct, legally correct, and spell-checked paragraph has been “written.” In less than 10 minutes the reviewing manager has created the (too often dreaded) annual review document for that employee.

I recently viewed an industry-leading performance management system. In touting the system’s sophistication the vendor boasted, “With the click of a button…the document can be automatically personalized….” Does anyone else see the oxymoron here–“automatically personalized”?

Disguised by enhanced electronic aids, the new written reviews amount to the same antiquated practice, only with new packaging. We have paved the cow path and upped the speed limit, but we have not improved the journey or the destination. The increased speed and automation of this approach actually serves to reduce the value of the employee performance review process in several ways:

(1)   Speeding up the writing process may reduce the effectiveness of the intended communication to the employee. The process of writing requires applying a thinking process. Managers who take the time to compose their own original paragraphs are likely to be more specific and grounded in their feedback than those who click on generalized “coaching tips.” Additionally, the act of writing indirectly helps managers to prepare their script for the meeting with the employees. [Note: Some performance management systems enable sending the document directly to the employee to obtain his or her electronic signature. This allows the manager to skip the one-to-one communication meeting altogether.]

(2)  Automating the document sets the wrong mood for a performance discussion with the employee. Clicking through canned responses to generate boilerplate text implicitly suggests that the review process is mechanistic, one-size-fits-all, and mostly trivial. The sooner the manager and employee get through this annual process the quicker they can get back to the “real work”–as if employee development were not part of a manager’s job.

(3)  The performance management system is often confused with a system designed to improve performance. To be sure, the one-to-one communications between manager and employee is a key lever for improving performance, but these conversations are too infrequent and poor quality to realize their potential for improving performance.

Periodic goal setting and review are important, but the real driver for improving performance is at the granular level of making and keeping weekly and monthly commitments around tasks. Every request made by a manager is an opportunity to forge an effective agreement for a specific and defined result. Each request begins a dialog that should have an explicit delivery and assessment at the end. The smallest element of work is a conversation not a task.  Each dialog is an opportunity to enhance performance and build trust.

As an alternative to performance management reviews once or twice a year, 4Spires offers tools with an all-the-time focus on performance improvement that facilitate a new approach to manager-employee communication. Managers and employees use CommitKeeper software to help boost the quality and frequency of their ongoing dialogue around project and task completion by elevating and illuminating one-to-one conversations between those requesting actions or services and those who carry out those requests.  The software combines task with relationship management.  Rather than facilitate the use of automated, canned responses, this next generation of performance improvement software can qualitatively change the performance management system in use over the last 30 years.

Elevate Engagement, But How?

It goes without saying that more engaged employees produce better results. But the topic of engagement often spawns a lot of generalizations and hand-wringing with only little practical guidance. How DO you execute in order to raise employee engagement?  What specific behaviors can managers employ?

This topic often starts with admonitions about respect, empowerment, and encouragement.  Some more advice follows along like:  set clear expectations, provide more autonomy, and offer frequent praise and recognition.  Ok, but then  taking this advice to an operational, day-to-day level, what specific behaviors can managers employ?

I suggest one key lever is to focus on how managers communicate with their team; I mean specifically what words are used, what are the conversational patterns, what are the means of following-up and reaching closure on work requests, when and how feedback is delivered, etc.  These are “systematic behaviors” that can be observed and strengthened with an eye to increasing respect and empowerment.

I refer here to the ground-breaking work by Drs. Fernando Flores and Terry Winograd who developed the model of a “conversation for action” that describes a new pattern of communication between work colleagues that goes right to the mechanics of elevating engagement.

First of all, each conversation for action begins with a “request”.  Not an “assignment” that presumes a one-up and one-down relationship between the parties, but a “request” which acknowledges from the start the mutual dependency and the associated respect due to the performer.  Just using the words “can you. . .” changes the mood of the following work delivery conversation.

The second stage of the conversation is equally powerful.  The performer is provided the opportunity, as a respected equal, to “negotiate” their response to the request.  The performer is explicitly invited and empowered to say what they can and cannot commit to.  No more just assigning a task with a person’s name on it and a due date.  Rather, an actual agreement is forged with a performer who is empowered to respond with what they can accomplish by when.  This practice of an explicit negotiation achieves better clarity of what’s expected.  Moreover, it reinforces a sense of the performer’s autonomy and control over their work.  Note, also, that providing this measure of autonomy to the performer is the quid pro quo for achieving real task ownership and accountability for delivery.

The conversation for action closes the loop with a clear delivery of the agreed outcome followed by the requester’s acceptance and praise or critique.  The closing of each task is an opportunity for praise and recognition.  This amounts to real-time, all-the-time performance improvement conversations instead of end-of-year performance reviews.  Each successful cycle inspires the next one.  Trust, a key element of engagement, is built along the way from repeated cycles.

So, the next question is how do you instantiate these behaviors throughout the team or organization?  One way is to use technology that has been specifically designed to guide and facilitate a “managed conversation” between requesters and performers.  4Spires has developed a new generation of social task management software that combines task and relationship management that goes right to the heart of the engagement question.  It’s a specific and tangible intervention that can change the conversation content and dynamics between work colleagues.

The “CommitKeeper” software acts as a third party to the conversations between requesters and performers by prompting the use of specific words and responses and by assuring explicit closure of the conversation.  The tool is an expression of new practices and new behaviors that can help build engagement.

Behavior Change Is Hard, 6 Factors To Improve Your Odds

We all know that changing one’s behavior is so fraught with challenges that it rarely actually works.  We get set in our ways.  Even when there is good reason to change, mighty forces stand in the way.  And even when we do finally make a change, there remains a strong and long-lasting pull to revert back to the old “tried and true” ways.  The resistance to change is more than just personal preferences, it’s biological.  We are wired to preserve the status quo

Changing the behaviors of teams or organizations is many times harder!  Numbers of people need to be pulled, cajoled, or pushed against their natural tendencies.  Ask any OD or change management consultant, and they will tell more stories of failure than success.

To improve your odds of achieving organization change your change management program must have the following 6 components.  Your chances of success plummet if you miss even one.  Note that 3 generally require intervention, consulting, and/or training by an outside consultant who knows the territory and can guide the overall journey.  The other 3 relate to the supporting role of technology.  Consulting or new technology by itself will rarely succeed in the long run. The combination has real power.

  1.  A good enough reason to change. Some problem or opportunity must be so compelling as to merit even attempting the change process.  Don’t take this consideration lightly.  If the goal is only marginal improvement, then don’t bother.  The prize has to be really big, and it has to be understood by people on the team.  Virtually everyone needs to “buy-in” at some level.
  1.  A picture of the new behavior.  This involves two levels.  First, the group needs a shared vision of the new organization that has enough clarity to be enticing.  Second, individuals need to know what the new behavior looks like when we see it.  Stories from other companies can only be of limited help because every organization is different.  Descriptions of the new behavior(s) need to be specific.  General platitudes like “we need to build more trust and better accountability” won’t cut it.  People need detailed scripts.
  1.  Leadership.  Most often this is the team leader, boss, supervisor, CEO, etc.  The leader has to be gung-ho for the change.  But leadership must also come from team members.  In fact, having a couple of “early adopters” on the team who point the way for others can be the real key to success.
  1.  Practice. Software is the instantiation of the new “scripts”.  Even the words used in describing the change should be mirrored in the software interface.  The software guides, nay requires, following the new behavior.  The software forces users into a path toward the new.  Furthermore, new behaviors require repetition.  Software creates standard, repeating actions that reinforce and sustain the new practices.
  1.  A system of record to monitor progress. Monitoring change in progress cannot be accomplished based on mere impressions and personal opinions.  There must be some supporting evidence.  The new behavior(s) need to be codified.  Technology is the “neutral” eye-in-the-sky that records successful new behavior and answers questions like: Are we doing the new behavior or not?   Which individuals are doing them and which are not?  How often?  What are the results of the new behavior?  Do the new behaviors show promise? etc.
  1.  Metrics to show results.  Ultimately, we need to answer the question did the change make a difference?  Producing a definitive before and after analysis is often very difficult, but the software database can provide a host of both personal and organization-wide statistics from which real bottom-line benefits can be inferred.

Changing the behavior of a team is hard.  An honest assessment of these six factors can tell you whether it’s worth a try.  Combining management coaching/training with supporting technology can really improve the odds of succeeding.

Lencioni’s “Five Dysfunctions of a Team” – A Commentary

In 2002, Patrick Lencioni wrote “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” describing the many pitfalls teams face and the fundamental causes of organizational politics and team failure.  Despite the lack of actual data to support his observations, the book has been on the New York Times and Business Week best-seller list, and it is a favorite of many organization consultants.  This is no doubt because the dysfunctions are so familiar.

Lencioni describes the hierarchy of the five dysfunctions:

  • Absence of trust — if team members are unwilling to take interpersonal risks with one another and are unwilling to be vulnerable or to admit mistakes and weaknesses; this culminates in poor trust-building practices.  (Note: See my other blog articles on Trust.)
  • Fear of conflict — when teams are incapable of engaging in unfiltered and passionate debate of ideas, the outcome is that members rely on carefully crafted safe statements to avoid conflict and reprisal; the unvarnished truth is not spoken.
  • Lack of commitment — without healthy conflict team members feign buy-in; causing ambiguity about decisions. If there is agreement, it is done begrudgingly or to deflect conflict.
  • Avoidance of accountability — without commitment and buy-in, accountability suffers as it is hard to hold someone accountable for what you do not believe in.  Performance standards decline when no one is called out on their counterproductive behavior.
  • Inattention to results — if team members do not hold each other accountable, results suffer. Individual interests, such as status and ego, override the team’s agenda.

Lencioni’s model

We can all recognize these dysfunctional tendencies.  In fact, these are present to a lesser or greater degree in virtually every team.  So the question remains; how can leaders promote improvement along these dimensions?

Many organization consultants use this model in team-based interventions and executive coaching.  Recognizing the dysfunctions and understanding how they affect team performance is not difficult, the hard part is changing them.  How exactly do leaders change the norms, practices, and behaviors of individual team members?

The root of the problems and the focus for making change is in the nature of the conversations going on among team members, i.e., who is saying what to whom, on what topics, with what words, in what mood, etc.  The team dysfunctions are manifested in the dialog, or lack thereof, going on between team members.  To make improvements in team performance, managers need to focus on these conversations.

In his 2013 book Conversations For Action and Collected Essays: Instilling a Culture of Commitment in Working Relationships, Fernando Flores wrote:

“Leadership is a phenomenon of the conversations of a team, not of an individual.  The role of the leader is to make sure the right conversations are happening and that they are being assessed by the team as being effective.  These are not one-way messages like take out the trash or do this task, but rather two-way conversations in which individuals share their background concerns, negotiate agreements for taking action together, and continuously develop a shared assessment of how the work and their relationship is progressing.”

Lencioni’s model is used by many management consultants to help leaders and groups understand the roots of their performance problems and to prompt changes in the group’s conversational patterns.  For some this can be an important intervention illuminating a pathway for change.

The real challenge, however, is making the intervention stick.  It is one thing to learn the model and quite another to change a group’s behavior, their practices around the structure and quality of their conversations.  Even if this can be done during an intervention spanning a few weeks, how can the manager, leader or group make sure the new practices stick over the long haul?

This challenge is one of the reasons 4Spires developed its social task management solutionCommitKeeper. The software helps to instantiate new practices around conversations that address all of the team dysfunctions.  CommitKeeper prompts explicit responses to requests and assures that clear commitments are made and that each party maintains proper and ongoing communication throughout the entire cycle: initial request through post-delivery.  Accountability is made visible and the software keeps a detailed record of results.  Trust is built through more honest conversations and a track record of making and keeping one’s commitments.

I’m betting the interventions that yield the best long term results will include a combination of training accompanied by the CommitKeeper software.

Evolving Email – Guest Blog by David Creelman

David Creelman (www.creelmanresearch.com) has been a thought leader on human capital management issues for more than 10 years.   He writes extensive, thought-provoking papers and speaks frequently at industry conferences.  I reached out to David back in 2011 to gather his reactions to the work we were beginning at 4Spires.  In response, he wrote the following blog post.  Two years on, David’s observations are even more relevant.  He writes:

“The biggest untapped opportunity for organizational effectiveness is email.

Managerial and professional staffs spend a big hunk of every day on email. It is the single most important means for control, coordination and communication. Yet how much time does HR invest in creating the means so that this tool for control, coordination and communication is used effectively?

One stumbles a bit here, because while HR leaders can imagine providing training on using email, the broader sense that HR should “create the means to make email more effective” (to repeat my own awkward phase) feels outside the scope of the function. Yet if HR doesn’t grab hold of this, who will?

Let me ease the discomfort by pointing to something concrete. I recently spoke to David Arella of 4Spires. He reached out to me because of things I’d written about conversation as a technology. My point was that managers spend 80% of their time in conversation, and making those conversations effective is by no means simple; HR should think of conversations as a sophisticated “technology” for getting things done, not just a trivial everyday act. Arella is interested in “managed conversations” and because many, even most, conversations take place in email—and because email has all the opportunities that come with any online technology—Arella is interested in email.

The starting point is the recognition that conversation is not just about sharing information. A big part of conversation is about making commitments. You ask me to do something by some date. I reply that I will do it. That kind of promise is the key to control and coordination.

The theoretical underpinning for this is speech act theory. If you are a keener like me you will have read the background work by philosophers JL Austin and John Searle, but the practical application of speech act theory comes from Fernando Flores. Flores elucidated the small number of elements of a conversation that results in commitments. Basically it starts with a person making a request, and then someone accepting it, rejecting it or making a counter-offer. When the request is fulfilled and acknowledged as suitable, that commitment cycle is complete.

Flores believes that if people are deliberate about these key elements of conversation, organizations would work more effectively. What better way to enable this than to add functionality to email that helps clarify and track the conversations that manage commitments? This is exactly what 4 Spires is attempting to do.

If you are old enough and geeky enough, you will remember that 4Spires is not the first to try this. Flores himself created an communication application called the Coordinator which attempted to enforce his view of how conversations should be conducted. This wasn’t a success, and my understanding is that it was due to overzealousness on Flores’ part. You wanted to send an email saying “Great game last night!” and the Coordinator would make you decide if that was a request, a counter-offer or whatever. Arella has learned from this experience and has a system that is much lighter on its feet; it gives you the option of a disciplined email conversation that manages commitments but imposes nothing.

Let’s imagine you are running a project that involves 5 or 6 people and a few of their own direct reports. Everyone knows this kind of project can be hard to keep track of. Is everyone doing what they are supposed to? Has something fallen off the rails? Project management software is not suited to this sort of thing; it’s more trouble than it’s worth. But if your email program is tracking who has committed to what by when, then there is an automatically generated record of what is going on. It becomes easy to see “What are the things Joe is supposed to be doing?” or “What deliverables ought to be back to me today?” Tracking who is doing what by when, need not be a separate activity, it happens automatically simply by ticking a few boxes. This is the new face of project management.

One thing that also falls out of this simple commitment tracking is who has done what, who is done on time, and who is consistently late on meeting their commitments. As always, any metric is simply the launch pad for more investigation, but if an employee is consistently late it raises the question of whether the employee is overworked, under skilled or simply poor at estimating how long something will take. This is important management insight. It’s the new face of performance management.

Having structured data online about conversations and commitments leads to many possibilities: potentially you can look at all the commitments an employee has made; you can look at all the deliverables you expect this week; you can see if elements of your project are being held up by people who have made, but not fulfilled, commitments to your own direct reports.

Management is mainly about conversations, and important conversations are about commitments. Most commitments are made by email and so if we track this we can manage it. It’s that simple.

Email is the biggest thing to happen in management in the past few decades, but we’ve kind of just let it happen. We’ve never really grabbed hold of it as the powerful tool it is. If a whole department can worry about the control tool of accounting; why not pay similar attention to the much more expansive tool of email?

Managed conversations in the 4Spires way is not the only thing you can do to improve email. The point is to realize that in email we have a monster of a tool; investment in managing that tool better could have an extraordinary impact on organizational effectiveness.”

Elevating Employee Engagement – New Technology Can Make a Difference

Improving employee engagement is a perennial management concern.  While difficult to quantify, there is little debate that engaged employees contribute more to the enterprise.  An HR executive recently summarized the keys to improving engagement with three words: “Respect, Empower, Inspire.”

Ok, fine, but how does a company or manager do this exactly?  Beyond admonitions to managers, what specific behaviors can managers employ?  I suggest one key lever to focus on is how managers communicate with their staff, i.e., what words are used, what are the conversational patterns, what are the means of following-up and reaching closure, etc.  These are “systematic behaviors” that can be observed and strengthened with an eye to increasing respect and empowerment.

I am referring here to the ground-breaking work by Drs. Fernando Flores and Terry Winograd who developed the model of a “conversation for action” that embodies a new pattern of communication between work colleagues.  First of all, each work conversation begins with a “request”.  Not an “assignment” that presumes a one-up and one-down relationship between the parties, but a “request” which acknowledges from the start the mutual dependency and the associated respect due to the performer.  Just using the words “can you. . .” changes the mood of the whole work delivery conversation.

The second stage of the conversation is equally powerful.  The performer is provided the opportunity, as a respected equal, to “negotiate” their response to the request.  The performer is empowered to say what they can and cannot commit to.  No more just assigning a task with a person’s name on it and a due date.  Rather, an actual agreement with a performer who is empowered to respond with what they can accomplish by when.  Note, also, that providing this measure of autonomy to the performer is the quid pro quo for clarifying subsequent accountability for delivery.  Accountability is baseless without negotiation.  If the performer never has room to say no (i.e. decline a request), then how can you trust a yes?

The work conversation proceeds full circle with a clear delivery of the agreed outcome followed by the manager’s acceptance and praise or critique.  A successful cycle inspires the next one.  Trust, a key element of engagement, is built along the way from repeated cycles.

So, the next question is how do you instantiate these behaviors throughout the organization?

We believe technology can improve engagement by guiding and facilitating a “managed conversation” between requesters and performers.  4Spires has developed a new generation of social task management software that combines task and relationship management.  It goes right to the heart of the engagement question with a specific and tangible intervention that can change the conversation content and dynamics.  The software acts as a third party to the conversation by prompting the use of specific words and responses and by assuring explicit closure of the conversation.  The tool is an expression of new practices and new behaviors.  Helping individuals make and keep their commitments builds engagement.

 

“Until one is committed…” quoting the correct author

Because of the work I do regarding the importance of making and keeping commitments, as well as the paths I have chosen to follow that express personal commitments I have made in my life,  I have often found inspiration in the following quote that is attributed to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe from his work, Faust:

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.”

Thanks again to the wonders of the internet, which now contains nearly the entire knowledge of all mankind (our modern day equivalent to the Royal Library of Alexandria, the ancient world’s single largest collection of knowledge), I stumbled upon a question as to whether this quote is correctly attributed to Goethe.  Here is what I found.

The Goethe Society of North America investigated this very subject over a two-year period ending in March 1998. The Society got help from various sources and after extensive research they and others have discovered that the “Until one is committed…” quotation often attributed to Goethe is in fact by William Hutchinson Murray (1913-1996), from his 1951 book entitled The Scottish Himalayan Expedition.  Murray’s book (J.M. Dent & Sons Ltd, London, 1951) details the first Scottish expedition in 1950 to the Kumaon range in the Himalayas, between Tibet and western Nepal. The expedition, led by Murray, attempted nine mountains and climbed five, in over 450 miles of mountainous travel. The book is out of print and can cost over $100 from used book sellers.

The attribution to Goethe no doubt added a bit more cache to the quote, but I am nevertheless still indebted to the correct author, and therefore felt compelled to set the record straight here.  Please pass it on.

 

 

 

CommitKeeper selected as finalist in Global Awards for Excellence in Knowledge Worker Innovation

In April 2013, Future Strategies Inc. invited 4Spires to submit a case study in their annual search for excellence in “knowledge worker innovations”.  Our case study described how our Fleet One customer has used CommitKeeper to improve the productivity of their marketing department.  The press release below announces our selection as a finalist in this prestigious competition.

May 22, 2013—Boston, Mass. The Workflow Management Coalition (WfMC) is pleased to announce the finalists for the 2013 Global Awards for Excellence in Adaptive Case Management.

In 2011, WfMC inaugurated a Global Awards program for Adaptive Case Management (ACM) case studies to recognize and focus upon ACM use cases. Adaptive Case Management represents a new approach to supporting knowledge workers in today’s leading edge organizations. ACM provides secure, social collaboration to create and adapt goal-oriented activities that enable informed decision-making using federated business data and content.


Finalists were selected by a 16-person program committee comprising experts in this field. Committee leader, Max J. Pucher said, “The submitted ACM solutions in 2013 are focused on showing the financial return of being a leading business that uses state-of-the-art technology. While forefront ACM functionality such as evolutionary process improvement by business performers is used by only a few entries,, the ‘Design-by-Doing’ aspect of ACM is widely represented. The spectrum of verticals this year is proof for the wide-ranging applicability of Adaptive Case Management concepts.”

Co-sponsored by WfMC and BPM.com, these prestigious awards recognize user organizations worldwide that have demonstrably excelled in implementing innovative ACM solutions. Award winners will be announced at a special virtual awards ceremony on June 27th at ACM Live.
There are seven categories this year:
  • Back Office
  • Construction and Big Projects
  • Financial
  • Legal and Courts
  • Public Sector
  • Shipping and Logistics
  • Knowledge Worker Innovation
The 2013 finalists (in alphabetical order) across all categories are:
1.    Axle Group Holdings Ltd., nominated by EmergeAdapt
2.    CargoNet AS, nominated by Computas AS
3.    Department of Transport, South Africa, nominated by EMC Corporation
4.    Directorate for the Construction of Facilities for EURO 2012, nominated by PayDox Business Software
5.    Fleet One, nominated by 4Spires
6.    Info Edge Pvt. Ltd, nominated by Newgen Software Technologies Ltd
7.    National Courts Administration of Norway, nominated by Computas AS
8.    Texas Office of the Attorney General Crime Victim Services Division, nominated by IBM
9.    U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), nominated by AINS, Inc.
10.  UBS Bank, nominated by Whitestein Technologies

WfMC Chairman and founder of the ACM Awards program, Keith Swenson commented on the strength of the entries, “This year brings a significant maturing of the field of entries,” said Swenson. “We see well-rounded mainstream use cases with lots of knowledge workers as participants who use the system to innovate their processes every day. In domains where thinking matters, they show that there is a real business case, and the return on investment is really incredible.”

“This distinguished group of finalists survived very high standards and tight scrutiny by a discriminating panel of judges, representing the top influencers in our field” noted WfMC Executive Director Nathaniel Palmer. “Now in its third year, the Excellence in Adaptive Case Management program reflects not only a thriving global market for case management, but clearly demonstrates the value this sector offers to businesses and governments worldwide.”

More details on case study requirements and the finalists can be found online at www.adaptivecasemanagement.org.  Finalists receive additional recognition by having their case studies published in the 2013 edition in the ACM Excellence Series by Future Strategies Inc., following the success of  “Taming the Unpredictable” in 2011 and “How Knowledge Workers Get Things Done” in 2012.  The Workflow Management Coalition (WfMC) and BPM.com jointly sponsor the annual Global Awards for Excellence in ACM.  The Awards program is managed by Future Strategies Inc.

For further information:

www.adaptivecasemanagement.org
Layna Fischer (Awards Director)
Future Strategies Inc.
awards@FutStrat.com