The 6 Box Model – An Eco System for sustainable performance

“Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it.”

Henry Ford, industrialist, inventor (1863-1947)

There are so many new management techniques and tools published every year that it is often hard to select one that will actually work within an organisation. I recently came across the 6 box model (Created by Vlatka Hlupic, University of Westminister) and thought that it was a model that could easily be used by organisations that wanted to improve and sustain performance. Today’s business eco system is very different to the one that was prevalent, even quite recently as the early 80’s and 90’s. Professor Vlatka highlights that quite well, in the following slide:

Hlupic Slide

The 6 Box model identifies the main six key performance drivers required by organisations and how they are interlinked and rely on each other to deliver sustainable performance. Usually, when I come across business tools and techniques, the accompanying websites fail to deliver content that supports them. I was therefore quite pleasantly surprised by the 6 box model website that is a mine of information and contains a rich resource of content ranging from an article by professor Vlatka featured in Harvard Business Review that includes marked productivity improvement at both CSC and ANADIGICS. Please also view video on by Marcus Buckingham on ‘strengths’.

6BoxModel

Increasingly, Social Media has been used quite successfully by organisations to tap this resource already found within organisations and I covered this in my blog post, revised recently, ‘Organisations “Don’t get” social media’  . ‘Hlupic points to the example of HCL Technology, a software consultancy in India which developed its own Facebook-style application and used it to create a new business strategy. “Originally, 300 managers would put their strategy ideas to the CEO but with the social media application, they could put their ideas for new strategies to everyone in the global business, so 8,000 people could potentially comment. Everyone could contribute to the planning and everyone could really align themselves with the strategy and live and breath it,” she says. This all happened mid-recession and in the four years since, 70 per cent of all major deals closed by HCL were won against the big four global IT players, the number of customers has grown five-fold and employee attrition is down to 50 per cent. Revenues have also tripled over a four-year period and operating income has also tripled.’

6BoxModelCategories

I would like to conclude this article by requesting readers to read the article that I wrote in 2009 titled, ‘Can IT Management failure be caused by a deadly disease? Part II’  that discussed ‘Dr. Deming – The 5 Deadly Diseases 1984’ as that also discussed and emphasised the importance of employees and as the great man said,

“Unemployment is not inevitable but of bad management”- Dr Edward W Deming.

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About mubbisherahmed
I am passionate about IT and its ability to deliver cost effective, value for money solutions that can enhance performance and in many cases provide competitive advantage by using a range of solutions and approaches in innovative ways.

8 Responses to The 6 Box Model – An Eco System for sustainable performance

  1. Bruce Lewin says:

    Many thanks for your write up Mubbisher…

  2. mubbisherahmed says:

    Hi xyz,

    You are most welcome, I enjoyed writing it……

  3. mubbisherahmed says:

    Simon Martin added the following on a social media site:
    The best thing is to develop a team that works together, develop systems they can all use, and ensure they are fully conversant with the systems in place.

    Systems, often by their very nature, are quite rigid, and the reason people adopting many standard systems often find they do not work as efficiently as those their teams have developed for themselves. This helps people to annul their own common sense and logic, as they have to conform to a system, and not be flexible and think for themselves.

    I replied:

    I agree that good teams work well with each other and the systems that they have. My recent blog post about The 6 Box Model reflected that – An Eco System for sustainable performance is all about enabling better communication within an organisation and harnessing the power of employees by allowing them to participate in an organisation’s feedback system and allowing them to feel valued leading to better job satisfaction.

  4. mubbisherahmed says:

    Matthew Prince said the following on a social media site:

    Disconnected systems lead to inefficiencies, high transaction costs, fees, risks and dissatisfied customers.

    Many problems can result from the inability to interface specific enterprise systems, like an ERP, with card processors to facilitate electronic payment transactions. Without a fully integrated solution, organizations suffer the ramifications that come from manual, error-prone processes.

    Companies must invest in the latest and greatest solutions to streamline systems and reduce the implicated costs.

    I replied:

    I agree that disconnected systems have a ricochet effect. The problem is not just with an organisation’s IT system but the way in which employees are managed and associated feedback system. My recent blog post about The 6 Box Model reflected that – An Eco System for sustainable performance is all about enabling better communication within an organisation and harnessing the power of employees by allowing them to participate in an organisation’s feedback system and allowing them to feel valued leading to better job satisfaction.

    Paulo Almeida added: For they are very good systems, we must always bear in mind that the key is people. They are the ones that can make a difference!
    If people believe they are an important part of any solution to a problem are a great asset, otherwise they are a problem.
    Information systems have to be seen as a facilitating tool and not as a solution. If we commit the error of seeing an information system as a solution, we can only increase the problems and inefficiency.

    Stephen Smith added: Simplicity and flexibility. Complex systems generally require more energy to maintain, train, support, They also are harder to modify to meet new plans.

    Stay off the bleeding edge unless you can really afford the costs in implementation, trianing and potential disaster.

    Research and take advise from objective sources. How do you know when a salesman is lying? Their lips are moving, except for the ventriloquists…

    A balance between hardware software and training must be struck. Without all three systems and projects fail or at least do poorly.

    Make it sustainable? There is an an ongoing cost to any change. Does the change make sense in the long term as well as the short term?

    I replied: @Paulo: I totally agree that people make the difference. You have to take the people with you and as Stephen said, these people have to be trained properly to use these systems.

    @Stephen: Once the people have bought into any technology and that is not supplemented by proper training, it’s a disaster waiting to happen as those very people that supported the project will become its nemesis.

    On the same wavelength when it comes to systems and everything else you said. I hope people reading your advice take it on board…..

  5. mubbisherahmed says:

    Eugene Jackson said the following on a Social media site:

    I think that if you are a true technologist you look for ways to improve from many angles. For example, many times an implementation of a tool is poor, or simply outdated, as such the tool can be blamed, when the truth is a poor implementation of any tool can make it less than ideal.

    Having not only the understanding of the challenge, but also the skills to take on a re-development/implementation of that or other tools to create internal solutions which maximize value of solutions that have already been purchased and many times are already a part of the budget cycle is important.

    Most tools have some sort of interface and some sort of DB backend, Oracle, MySQL, or otherwise, as such you can sometimes leverage tools meant for one thing and adapt them to do others. A CRM tool may be used for Defect management, or an Defect Management tool could be used to implement Change management life cycle in an organization instead of purchasing a completely new tool.

    An additional advantage is that the “user base” is often already familiar with solutions you already have in your org instead of having to learn to adapt to yet another tool that is new and will need training, and continual development after the POC to reach ROI.

    I replied:

    Eugene, thanks for your feedback. The problem is not just with an organisation’s IT system but the way in which employees are managed and associated feedback system. My recent blog post about The 6 Box Model reflected that – An Eco System for sustainable performance is all about enabling better communication within an organisation and harnessing the power of employees by allowing them to participate in an organisation’s feedback system and allowing them to feel valued leading to better job satisfaction.

    Jasmine Noel added:

    I’ve found the most effective way to mitigate the ‘small cog’ feeling is to map individual metrics to a bigger corporate strategy. For example, if a whitepaper I wrote was downloaded 200 times and resulted in 10 leads which helped the marketing organization get halfway to it’s strategic goal of 20 leads per month then I’d feel pretty good (btw I’m just making up those numbers).

    However, there is a dark side of this type of metric mapping, namely when companies use metrics and analysis to introduce excessive employee competition and job insecurities.

    So metric mapping is like any other tool. It can be used by Yoda or Darth Vader 🙂

    I replied:

    Jasmine, that’s interesting as I can see how employees’ would feel valued by ‘metric mapping to a larger corporate strategy.’ The problem, I suppose is that junior employees may not be able to conduct ‘metric mapping’ and so the question then would be, ‘how do we make them feel valued?’

    10/08/11 – Rob Hall added: One of the most exciting and successful ways of improving performance can be seen in the John Lewis Partnership. Every employee is a partner and benefits in the success of the company and can have a say in its direction, it is effectively owned by its employees. It continually receives some of the highest levels of employee satisfaction and delivers excellent performance. Unfortunately this model is not one that any company can implement to improve performance, but may point one in the right direction.

    I think organisations need to be as transparent as possible so that employees understand the importance of their “small cog”. They need to feel that they can have an impact on how the organisation runs and that management has an open door. They need to reap the rewards when the organisation is successful, but also feel the pain when it isn’t. Fundamentally they need to feel that their interests are best served by the interests of the team and that the team takes an interest in, values and respects them. This has to start with good communication and team meetings.

    I replied: Rob, a great evaluation and summary, thanks for your thoughts:

    “Fundamentally they need to feel that their interests are best served by the interests of the team and that the team takes an interest in, values and respects them. This has to start with good communication and team meetings.”

  6. mubbisherahmed says:

    Maqsood Khan said the following on a social media site:
    I believe it is important to first understand the following:

    – Why do employees feel unsatisfied in their jobs?
    – Why/How do YOU know employees feel unsatisfied?
    – What portion of the workforce feels unsatisfied?

    I replied:

    Maqsood, I agree with your observations and in my recent blog post about The 6 Box Model – An Eco System for sustainable performance is all about enabling better communication within an organisation and harnessing the power of employees by allowing them to participate in an organisation’s feedback system and allowing them to feel valued leading to better job satisfaction.

    Afterall, satisfied employees will result in better morale, higher poroductivity and lower churn…..

  7. mubbisherahmed says:

    Anil Jain said the following on a social media site:
    Deployment of Balanced Business Score Card (BBSC) with appropriate cascading workshops, timely KPI setting, transparency 9quarterly publishing of results, scores etc) and ensuring everyone respects the sanctity (revise goals if they have been set wrong within the first two quarters) – goes a long way to ensure that employees deliver to the organization goals, remain satisfied and “perform” – in ALIGNMENT

    I replied:

    Anil, have you found any evidence of internal social media aiding internal collaboration and raising job satisfaction?

    Emmanuel Orban de Xivry added:

    Mubbisher, a method inspired from the middle ages and the construction of cathedrals, revisited with great success. Have a look to http://www.ecethos.com and let me know if you want to know more

    MARGARITA GARCÍA ZÚÑIGA also added:

    Organizations should work as a human being, knowing that they are conformed by systems and organs, and that being alive depends on the coordinated work of all systems. Of course, a system can work very well if each organ works well, as we expect, and on the right time.
    To have a successful organization, able to achieve all the goals, it is important to do a work based on multifunctional and multilevel teams focus on processes and on customers.

    I replied:

    @Emmanuel: I took a look at the website and it is very interesting. I liked the idea of members opening up their workplaces and allowing other members to learn from them and then these members reciprocating. Is this network available in the UK as well? Apart from the website, can you add any more info, please?

    @Margarita: You have identified the problem very well, unfortunately, organisations’ sometimes do not work like our internal organs and while they can focus on customers, their processes can often be outdated, cumbersome and lack involvement from many parts of the organisation.

    Tony Haralambous added:

    Create business strategies, based on consumer/customer needs and desired business outcome .Incorporate into individuals KA (Key accountabilities), set goals and KPI’s( Key performance indicators) to create individual focus and ownership. Manage via formal reviews & “one on one” meetings to address issues & implement corrective actions (Monthly). Implement customer insight & review meetings, daily & monthly KPI reporting/reviews, communication and site tool box meeting to create focus, ownership, team play and culture change. Support all of this by “Walking the talk”. Remember customers are your life blood and people are your biggest asset.

    I replied:

    Thoughtful & insightful feedback. Thanks, Tony.

    Vince Pizzoni added:

    Mubbisher, in order to get the team working better and fully aligned with the customer we ran a workshop to understand more about our personalities and those of the people in our team. This was very powerful and allowed us to learn about each other and how we interact with others. The output was to become more versatile. We worked with Wilson Learning and used their colour profiling.
    As regards improving our sales team there were many excellent courses such as the Consultative Salesperson that I would recommend.
    Good luck, Vince

    I replied:

    @ Vince: That’s quite good. I will definitely have to keep that in mind. Thanks for sharing this with me.

  8. mubbisherahmed says:

    Denise Wilcox said the following in on a social media site:

    In the competitive market that organizations operate in ,their only edge is their people. it starts with identifying your needs, choosing the right people , developing them and giving them the opportunity to grow. once the employees are aware of the role they play , there is a ‘buy in ‘ and this is what can dictate the performance of an organization

    Charles Matthews added: Measurement, anything else is perception…

    Haneen Isleem •added:

    Today, teams and organizations face rapid change like never before. Globalization has increased the markets and opportunities for more growth and revenue. However, increasingly diverse markets have a wide variety of needs and expectations that must be understood if they are to become strong customers and collaborators. Concurrently, scrutiny of stakeholders has increased as some executives have been convicted of illegal actions in their companies, and the compensation of executives seems to be increasing while wages of others seems to be decreasing or leveling off. Thus, the ability to manage change, while continuing to meet the needs of stakeholders, is a very important skill required by today’s leaders and managers.

    I replied:

    Thoughtful feedback everyone and thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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