Tiger Teams

The next step in the alignment and integration process (shown as Step 6a in the nine-step model in Exhibit 6.1) is the investigation and resolution of any infrastructure issues that have surfaced during the CDD or in the Issues-Based Team Building or All-Managers Session by "Tiger Teams." Figure 7.2 shows how tiger teams fit into the larger integration picture.

Tiger teams are groups of three to ten people who take on a particular problem, issue, or possibility that something will affect performance and, with the aid of a manager or consultant acting as coach, drive its resolution in a relatively short time frame—usually two to three weeks.

The team is normally composed of people who are directly involved in the problem, issue, or possibility and who have the capability and knowledge to research and analyze it and make informed recommendations for its resolution. The intent is to demonstrate organizational willingness and ability to take quick and positive action to make things better, thus setting a standard and expectation for the nature of the new organization.

A number of significant infrastructure issues may have been identified at the All-Managers Sessions. These must be resolved before more efficient operations are possible. When this is the case, tiger teams need to be formed to deal with these issues before the organization can proceed with overall alignment. They can also review infrastructure problems and determine how best to resolve them.

Figure 7.2. Tiger Teams


Figure 7.2. Tiger Teams


This approach provides lower level management and staff with the opportunity to contribute to the problem-solving process. One of the best approaches tiger teams can employ is a simple three-step method: (1) "as is" analysis; (2) "should be" analysis; and (3) change recommendations and design.

As a CDD will have been completed prior to starting the alignment and integration process, the manager supporting each team can keep the team focused on what has been discovered already, saving considerable time. The key activities involved at this point are

• Focused Business Review—teams of managers conduct a systematic review of a specific sector of the business to identify necessary changes;

• Active Management Participation—as part of the design to gain commitment to the proposed solution, managers from the areas to be assessed are assigned to the tiger teams;

• Skills Transfer—a series of "just-in-time" workshops to teach analytical tools and consulting skills to the team members;

• Organizational Simplification and Rationalization—solutions must be sufficiently simple and rational to be easily communicated to and understood by those who perform the work; and

• Focus on Solutions That Will Work—attention of the tiger teams should be focused on practical solutions that can be implemented, that is, that are realistic, achievable, and with a high likelihood of success.

Tiger teams will engage in this special assignment full-time until their task is completed. When the analysis is finished and a recommendation for change is ready to present, the tiger team meets with senior management for review and approval. Ideally, these meetings will be open affairs with quick decisions, much in the manner of the GE "workout method." The idea is to model quick and definitive action for the rest of the organization.

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