EP 28: Creating a Productive, Self-Managing Team with Assad Mirza

Creating a Productive, Self-Managing Team

When we create self-managing teams, there are generally three key points to consider: purpose, process, and people. But how do we implement this into our organization to ensure the success of our team? Our guest today will be helping to break down the answer to this question and more. Assad Mirza, president of Infinity Operational Excellence, is a business transformation expert, and he will be giving us his tips for creating a productive, self-managing team.

Listen in as Assad shares the importance of having clarity in your business goals and aligning your company’s “why” with your team’s “why.” You will learn the number one thing businesses struggle with, how to find your purpose, and how to locate the spark within your business. Remember: the growth and success of your business is a long-term game!

What You’ll Learn In Today’s Episode:

  • Why being clear on what your goals are is key. (1:50)
  • How to gain clarity around your business’s mission. (4:09)
  • How to find your company’s spark. (6:10)
  • The importance of thinking of your business as an infinite game. (10:45)
  • The reality of overstaffing. (14:22)

Actionable Takeaway for HR Professionals:

  • Set jobs up for success by “knowing the core, protecting the core” in job descriptions and performance management. (19:00)

Actionable Takeaway for Executives:

  • Know the core, protect the core. (17:16)

Ideas Worth Sharing:

“People are always at the top of the list.” - Assad Mirza Click To Tweet “It all starts with the vision. Then you get to the mission.” - Assad Mirza Click To Tweet “It’s not about how fast you do something or if you do a good job. It’s about why did you do it, and how did it create value for the organization, for the team?” - Assad Mirza Click To Tweet

Resources In Today’s Episode:

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Click Here for Audio Transcript

Traci Scherck: Welcome to talent optimization today we’re talking when we go to create self managing teams there’s really three pieces that go along with that, and that is purpose process and people, and so we have the perfect person with us today.

Traci Scherck: To talk about how we integrate purpose process and people into ensuring we really have self managing teams inside of our organization so Assad Mirza is with us from infinity optics and Assad welcome.

Traci Scherck: Thank you for having me looking forward to this

absolutely need to, and you know when I first met, I was in so incredibly impressed with how he was able to take process input process into very complex.

Traci Scherck: People and systems inside of an organization so so much of his background is with operations quality.

Traci Scherck: And, of course, using this six Sigma black belt, you know to amazing degrees so with that i’m really curious when you’re looking at creating self managing teams, what are the most important aspects of that.

Traci Scherck: You know, of course, people are always top of the list right but little bit before people like English would think about do we understand what our purposes, we have.

Traci Scherck: No know what our focus areas are because that’s what It all starts lot of time we don’t have that clarity.

Traci Scherck: And the result of that is that we put together these teams that since they don’t have that clarity, it was an average day will never.

Traci Scherck: get to the level of performance that you would expect them to be they will never reach their full potential so knowing that was the purpose that clarity focus that helps.

Traci Scherck: Then, after that, if we think about it, then we can actually talk about what is the most critical work that needs to be done.

Traci Scherck: Okay, was our core that needs to be done, what our customer prioritize but our business prioritize once we have that clarity.

Traci Scherck: Then we should think about how do we assemble the team that have the ability to accomplish those core activities core tasks core values of the business that they have the ability to achieve.

Traci Scherck: And then you talk about.

Traci Scherck: yeah absolutely so.

Traci Scherck: I want to break down what you said because there’s a lot of gold in there.

Traci Scherck: So we’re talking about the core values of a team, but before we talk about that we’re really talking about the why of the organization right, why is the organization doing what they’re doing and how does that align with the why of the people doing what they’re doing right.

Traci Scherck: And you know you said it perfectly here, because the most of the time right it’s a lot easier to blame people it’s a lot easier to say it all in if I have the perfect thing.

Traci Scherck: That doesn’t exist because the perfect team begins with does your organization have the clarity on are they having an identity crisis.

Traci Scherck: Because most organizations, they never have that clarity of who they are right, so if they don’t know who they are, then how can you say that I have a good team or a bad team.

Traci Scherck: Right so i’m curious, how do you help organizations that you work with to really gain that clarity and to ensure that that purpose is front and Center before we get into creating teams.

Traci Scherck: I think it gets much deeper into.

Traci Scherck: I mean It all starts with a vision right, and then you get to the mission, but the problem is that most of the time we confuse vision and vision.

Traci Scherck: And so, if if we never have the vision of what potential what possibilities that are out there, that I want to achieve doesn’t matter if I can get there today or not, but I have this great vision right there’s nirvana that is out there.

Traci Scherck: If I don’t have that in front of me.

Traci Scherck: Then what am I really aiming for, then i’m just going aimlessly and and here’s another issue right, and this is where most of the companies they struggled with because they think their vision is making money.

Traci Scherck: Yes, profits are great but that’s not your vision that’s the outcome of your vision right yes exactly and and and so that’s number one like helping them understand.

Traci Scherck: That when you started this business or when you’re thinking about this business at that point, you had this bargaining right there was something that actually trigger you to take this big leap.

Traci Scherck: Because it’s never easy to you know to start a business or to grow, a company, you know that that you’ve got to have that that fire that spark in you so then most of the time is actually going back digging in and helping them find their spark again right the higher purpose blah blah.

Traci Scherck: So.

Traci Scherck: To bring that to the surface, then, after that, then we go to the next two years, five years, whatever okay.

Traci Scherck: So then, once we have that clarity, then we can talk about Okay, you know what are the strategies that we’re going to deploy one kind of people I need to have but it all goes back to how do we find that spark.

Traci Scherck: Right, so do you have a you know, an example of how your work with organizations have allowed that spark to come up so you can get to that work of really aligning the people with the processes inside of the organization.

Traci Scherck: You know, they say I wish I had like some sort of scientific answer.

Traci Scherck: i’m pretty sure somebody has it but that’s not me I don’t have a scientific answer, but most of the time i’ll share with you, you know this thing with you that.

Traci Scherck: I was.

Traci Scherck: a while back not too bad, but two years ago, I was actually working with.

Traci Scherck: A start up in Africa okay and and this this person she had a wonderful idea in the beginning, when she started the business and the whole idea that started her on this business was.

Traci Scherck: She was.

Traci Scherck: And she realized that how hard it was for company for these villages in Africa to get basic food products, you know produce rooms those type of things that if you wanted to go get that it was almost a whole day journey.

Traci Scherck: To just go get a bag of rice right so so that’s part, you know that passion kind of like no, I want to, and she was all about helping people and making things easy for them.

Traci Scherck: So she started this business, but then the business started to grow and other companies bigger companies start to approach her and say hey can you do something similar, for us, and all the sudden.

Traci Scherck: She lost that.

Traci Scherck: You know the original spark, which was a my goal is to make things easier for people, help them, you know, then it became more about business and then it was all about it was more about how do I, you know streamline my cost and how do I streamline my.

Traci Scherck: Supply Chain all great, but the result of that was the customers start to suffer the quality start to suffer okay.

Traci Scherck: So there you know I mean she approached me I started to work with her and now it’s like okay let’s go back to where you actually originally started with right, why did you start this thing right.

Traci Scherck: Back to that.

Traci Scherck: We need to go back to that passion once we are back there she wakes up oh my God you’re right I started to think more about money.

Traci Scherck: Right, then you think about why you started this thing to begin with absolutely so what i’m hearing you say is having that purpose in front of you.

Traci Scherck: is key to doing all the other things, but it goes back to what’s our mindset is our mindset, going to be this purpose of serving or is it my mindset now is.

Traci Scherck: The purpose has become making money and streamlining which doesn’t need to happen, but it has to start with what’s our why right.

Traci Scherck: You know it one of the conversations that we’ve had you know kind of.

Traci Scherck: As we were prepping for today was so much along the lines of mindset right, so what is that mindset around people around the impact that we’re making.

Traci Scherck: It around the processes that we use to get there, so i’m super curious about how you kind of weave together, the purpose of an organization with the mindset that the managers have and.

Traci Scherck: That our TEAM members have one word creating these self managing teams yeah you know that’s a great point because.

Traci Scherck: I have thought, a lot about this, I have a lot of conversation with some wonderful people about this there’s one major change that needs to happen in our mindset when we think about business perspective, we are still even in 2021 we are still obsessed with efficiency.

Traci Scherck: Every business, if you look at most of the metrics that we have they focus so much on efficiency.

Traci Scherck: Great that’s fine, but now I think we have evolved enough in business sense to true or a better measure should be, we should start talking about effectiveness.

Traci Scherck: So it’s not about how fast you do something, you know, or do you do a good job or not is more about.

Traci Scherck: Why can you do this and and how did it create value.

Traci Scherck: For the organization.

Traci Scherck: For the team for the Community, so if we start changing our mindset from efficiencies to effectiveness at.

Traci Scherck: All open up so many doors.

Traci Scherck: differently, but ugly more importantly, who will start to look at how do we assemble a team, how do we bring people to the organization, how do we actually make or people grow and then all of that will change how we see that right, and what a beautiful way to tie together.

Traci Scherck: People with purpose right um you know and the mindsets that we’re having is to start to talk about what, how do we effectively do this to still get to the I love to call it a double bottom line I think that’s my nonprofit background or a.

Traci Scherck: Double bottom line of here is the why of what we’re doing and the impact that we’re making and the numbers, you know so we’re so we’re looking to do that as effectively as possible with getting both of those in there, equally important, absolutely I mean.

Traci Scherck: You know, it is the other piece of it is right, its longevity okay.

Traci Scherck: You know i’m a huge fan of Sam Sinek he writes wonderful books and one of his book he did a great job it was infinite games yes.

Traci Scherck: So, so that that book resonated so well with me, and I mean the whole idea of that we need to start thinking that our business is not a finite game that okay If I win this quarter If I win this year, life is over, no.

Traci Scherck: no fun game right because your next level and the business is only evolved to people right.

Traci Scherck: So it will be very foolish of me to believe that I can evolve my business without involving more people right.

Traci Scherck: So that’s the opportunity that’s what we need to think about when you think about our businesses as an infinite game.

Traci Scherck: And we need to recognize that is our people that are actually playing that game So how do we keep you know building them up, how do we keep empowering them, how do we keep.

Traci Scherck: Providing them, the new skills, the new mindset, so they can them self involved and then in turn evolved, the business so it’s been an hour winning game set up just.

Traci Scherck: One quarter or one year right, and with that you know continuously evolving our people and ensuring that hey they can manage themselves meaning.

Traci Scherck: There they have responsibilities that they’re not always waiting on a manager or someone else who’s typically a bottleneck and not doing the work necessarily because they’re leading in a different way.

Traci Scherck: But so looking at that specific piece, one of the things that Assad you’re really well known for is you’re known for bringing.

Traci Scherck: Effectiveness and efficiencies into organization by saying hey I believe you’re overstaffed because of xyz so you really look at the processes.

Traci Scherck: And then, how we bring teams together to work much more efficiently and effectively with that why at the Center of it so knowing.

Traci Scherck: How you do that in sometimes you say hey you’re overstaffed by 50% we’re going to cut 50% through your workforce we scare the heck out of people.

Traci Scherck: Right and so often I know from the work that i’ve seen you do, and from what we’ve talked about you’re really doing it through not going to landing.

Traci Scherck: Page will get our teams we’re going to say hey you know done the job that needs to be done inside of the organization and based on what their own unique skill set and and needs are as that individual.

Traci Scherck: yeah absolutely so so you know, once again, it goes back to the effectiveness right, because here is periods, where the challenge happens so so.

Traci Scherck: We it’s a lot easier to throw people at a problem versus solve that problem correct.

Traci Scherck: So, and it breaks my heart anytime you know i’m working with any organization and I see that we have you know added all of these extra wonderful resources people.

Traci Scherck: But we’re asking them to do these tasks that the person that is performing the tasks that they know that it adds no value right.

Traci Scherck: And you as a leader, you also know it adds no value, but you as a leader, have, for whatever reason, decided not to solve that problem.

Traci Scherck: Right and the solution, you came up with was, which was the easy and fast solution was let’s throw more people at it right.

Traci Scherck: So then, when we have this conversation of hey you know, is not that you don’t have enough people you know in today’s situation that we’re living in right.

Traci Scherck: So, so you know I mean if you think about today’s environment right we have everybody winning hiring signs everywhere yeah every company is looking for people and every person I talked to they tell me exactly the same thing we can find people.

Traci Scherck: Okay, but the truth of the matter is, you know you don’t need to find people, you need to go back and look at your organization and again to pretty much everything every situation and I have been involved in every organization, they were overstaffed.

Traci Scherck: And it was not, they were overstaffed just because you know they just decided to hire a whole bunch of people and all of a sudden, the business ran away there’s sometimes those type of situations.

Traci Scherck: But 99% of the time, the situation is that we never took the time to solve those problems right.

Traci Scherck: So now is the perfect comment code was you know from that sense if you think about and actually I wrote an article at the beginning of covid.

Traci Scherck: we’re unlisted about 10 different things for the companies to do during this time, and one of those things laws that hey you have a perfect opportunity as leaders to go back and look at your processes look at your systems, look at your company and solve those problems.

Traci Scherck: So when you come back then you have those problems solved, you can be more efficient, you can be more effective.

Traci Scherck: And then the people in those roles are performing of value added work and they’re also making decisions at the level that they can make them, so we don’t have the bottleneck of management or its attention.

Traci Scherck: I mean you know i’m gonna give you a certain amount of times I go to these different factories right.

Traci Scherck: very smart people, but we have them on the token, I mean, how do you think that person feels right.

Traci Scherck: That you know they’re very smart they know what’s going on, and then we have them do something.

Traci Scherck: Sometimes is needed, but that should be for a short period of time, we should be as leaders our job should be how do we create more meaningful work right it’s not only now see that this is another mindset change right is no longer about just creating work.

Traci Scherck: Not, it is about creating meaningful work right that’s aligned with the business results, based on starting with, why are we doing what we’re doing exactly.

Traci Scherck: So, as we wrap up our conversation, which I think you and I could talk for hours on these topics what’s one key takeaway that you have for our executive and CEO listeners

Traci Scherck: you know I mean i’m for me is a pretty simple timeline right. Know the core protect the core right so so, of course, then the follow up question is, what does that mean right.

Traci Scherck: So what I my my recommendation to every person I coach I work with I always tell them know what your core.

Traci Scherck: tasks are, and I mean I don’t want to make this a philosophical things no think about what what the core things that you must do right and and you can do that at a CEO level and break it down all the way to.

Traci Scherck: An associate level right, you know, because as first organization is, we ask that question, what are the core things that we must do.

Traci Scherck: And then individuals teams, they should ask the same, and so, most of the time we don’t even know what our core is right, one of those core tasks core things that we must do.

Traci Scherck: So first know your core and then protect the core So what does that mean so that means that now you have taken the time to identify what are the most important things that you must do.

Traci Scherck: Right now, you actually have a great way to filter things that may start to creep back in right and start making you ineffective again.

Traci Scherck: You can actually easily recalibrate yourself re assess yourself and know these are my course, so why do I have all these other five things that prevent.

Traci Scherck: Right, you can go back readjust yourself again so as long as if we follow this simple thing know the core protect the core, I think we can stay effective.

Traci Scherck: For a long time, absolutely and the takeaway that i’m also taking from that for HR professionals is when we’re writing the essential functions of the job, we need to make sure that you know other duties as assigned doesn’t become 90% of the job description.

Traci Scherck: i’m glad that you said that, because one of the things that I find quite fascinating you know anytime I get a copy of a job description from someone right.

Traci Scherck: Usually is five pages long, and another five pages usually there’s only one or two paragraphs that actually talk about the true worth a person needs to do right the other four pages have everything else sooner than the first ball in 2021 4 5 pages it’s legal protection.

Traci Scherck: process guy right in this is so, why you know we love the collaborations and you know, as you know, we’re working with different individuals at elevated talent, you know, bringing in you know these subject matter experts.

Traci Scherck: Like what you are hey, how do we tie these things together, because at the end of the day.

Traci Scherck: Ensuring that our people are aligned with the right job isn’t an HR responsibility it’s a leadership responsibility and it process every single sector of the organization absolutely.

Traci Scherck: wonderfully stated so if you’re interested in learning more about aside, we will have his linkedin profile and company website all on the show notes, so thank you so much for joining us today, and we hope you have a great rest of your day, thank you for having me it’s great.