Labor and Economic Opportunity
Notes from the eleventh Vision 2020 Process Design Team meeting
(These notes do not reflect MCB Policy, they reflect ONLY the current learning of the 2020 Process Design Team)
February 26-27, 2001
DeWitt Conference Center, DeWitt, MI
Purpose of Vision 2020 Process Design Team
MCB as an agency has invested considerable staff time and resources in learning new systems design technology. MCB is anticipating uncertain futures. The agency is currently working to loosely weave together many ideas (strands) creating a new MCB fabric to match and accommodate the many diverse new systems MCB staff experience daily in the world around us.
The Vision 2020 Process Design Team meets to study and learn systems design processes that will help MCB weave together and integrate both current and future internal systems and services. Concurrently, we are struggling with how to integrate the Capital Quality Initiatives Training into the design process so we can imagine our futures together in partnership with internal teams, external vendors, and our customers.
In January, 2001, the MCB Executive Management Team asked the Vision 2020 Team to help envision and create a process for design of a new Quality Reinforcement System (QRS) and for a Strategic Thinking and Planning Process. When we considered that the QRS is in addition to the Control Reinforcement System (CRS) currently in place in MCB, it seems like a huge job. This task is extremely complex. The MCB situation is challenging to all of us. These notes summarize the February Dialogue.
If we assume it is possible to integrate and align the many MCB internal systems and services, we then must try to figure out how to interrelate MCB internal systems and services with a whole range of external programs and service systems (i.e. vendors, partners, schools, clinics, Workforce Boards, etc.). We are now learning how to design new MCB systems that are continuously improving while MCB is simultaneously learning how to design systems on-the-fly with our customers, vendors, and partners. These are challenges large enough to confuse and confound all of us.
The Vision 2020 Process Design Team met February 26-27, 2001 to synthesize information and interrelate three major MCB initiatives coming together in the next few months. The three strategic initiatives as we understand them are followed by several learning tools that are available to each MCB Unit Library that asks. The three proposed initiatives and tools are:
Draft of MCB Tilting Strategies and Values
Proposal to transform our QRS/CRS thinking
Proposal to begin a Strategic Thinking and Planning Process to help MCB strategize for 2005 and beyond
New Learning Tools for each MCB Unit Library:
a "QRS/CRS Wheel" as a model to help clarify some of the terms that are emerging in QRS/CRS
a reference book: Strategic Planning Workbook for Nonprofit Organizations
a reference book: Public Sector Starter Guide: An Introduction to Performance Excellence and Self-Assessment
Multiple copies of other resources are available.
Draft MCB Tilting Strategies and Values
In the past year, the 2020 team helped identify an overall goal of "tilting" the agency from vertical to horizontal, from expert to colleague, from client to customer, from vender to associate. Tilting is viewed as a flexible attitude and an image that can facilitate understanding and communication among all of the customers, employees, and partners affiliated within the MCB service system.
To quote the definitions shared in the first issue of "The Tilt" newsletter, we said:
In the 2020 meetings, we use the word "tilt" frequently. We discuss "tilting" the decision making process so that it is less top-down; we talk about the "tilting" of service delivery so that our clients are even more and more involved in achieving greater independence and/or employment goals; we talk about lessening the fragmentation of programs and services within the agency and moving toward a more holistic, circular system. Tilting is hard work. It is a philosophy and an action. We invite you to start "tilting" your view of your role in this agency.
The 2020 group has previously identified several lists of "tilting" reminders that people can use to recall the essential learning points in the New Science thinking that is catching on in MCB. This list of Tilting Strategies and Values is a synthesis of previous lists for review and agreement by stakeholders.
The 2020 Vision Process Design Team is proposing that MCB employees, commission board, and partners review and commit to using these Tilting Strategies and Values. It is part of a new MCB quality service commitment and "Credo" that we promise to our customers and to ourselves.
We want to see if this list of Tilting Strategies and Values makes sense as part of our future MCB Credo. These are proposed as Tilting Strategies and Values to be lived by all of us as we interact with consumers, partners, vendors, competitors, and community members (i.e. reference the Ritz Carlton model Credo and Mission Statement on the <MCB2020-L. list serv).
The NEXT iteration of MCB Tilting Strategies and Values are:
Excellence in MCB will require performance and productivity measures that include both QRS and CRS thinking. There are two columns that follow. The #7 QRS Thinking column is on the left margin and the #8 CRS Thinking column is on the right side. Both QRS and CRS columns reflect some underlying assumptions/paradigms describing how people can think about the world around us. Both QRS and CRS can be appropriate ways to think, depending on the context in which they are used.
QRS Thinking CRS Thinking Teams responsible Individuals responsible Circular power dynamics Vertical power structure Quality driven Quantity driven Customer focused Control focused Collaborative Competitive Common job goals Separate job titles Cross functional work Isolated job functions Cross training Specialist training Self control External control Learning centered Critical appraisal centered Cooperation/harmony Conflicted/adversarial Consensual decisions Authorities make decisions Peers, ethics/intrinsic Bosses, Fed. Regs/extrinsic Organic/living metaphor Mechanical metaphor "Self" embedded in system "Self" excluded from system Context intrinsic to system Context external to system Chaos and confusion Stability and predictability Order is inside the Chaos Order is via external control Flexible Boundaries Rigid Boundaries Networked authority Position based authority Leaderful/energized Heroic Leaders/parental
Proposal to transform our QRS/CRS thinking and
how we design and engineer MCB systems
We begin by distinguishing between the nature of QRS and CRS thinking. In a QRS, the burden of control shifts from an authority outside the customer and/or employee to self-control and intrinsic motivation to perform as team members or partners.
The nature of QRS puts customers in the driver's seat, involving them along with other team members in helping design their own individual service interactions (IEP/IWRP) and helping customers self-organize and self-control their services as delivered through MCB. Additionally QRS also involves customers as partners and architects involved in the macro level design activities that function to continuously improve those systems.
The nature of CRS is to control customers and employees via external constraints, with laws, rules, regulations, policies, and procedures. CRS conditions a compliance attitude by putting the counselor, teacher, doctor, or manager in a position of having to exert pressure on those for whom they feel they are responsible. Used alone, CRS resembles a parental structure that controls through preaching, confronting, reminding, chiding, rewarding, and cajoling people to conform.
CRS is often called the "carrot and stick approach." CRS sometimes uses external rewards and punishment threats as the primary means to get conformance within a series of activities that condition child-like responses in adults. When this occurs too frequently, or is the only context used between students and teachers, clients and counselors, and/or staff and managers, it is viewed as inappropriate. Yet these basic control skills are still being taught in some graduate counselor programs, business schools and teacher training programs around the world. Control theory is still a basic foundation of our professions. CRS' are viewed as basic knowledge and skills of the caseworker, classroom teacher, and traditional managers everywhere.
For the sake of dialogue, we propose the notion that the current system (CRS) is designed to focus on and reinforce RSA control systems aimed at using authority to increase MCB quantity and productivity results. If we can become more aware of how that works and feels, it becomes easier to understand how the two systems can operate when we try to add quality reinforcement (QRS) into the service mix.
QRS needs to be viewed as an add-on to the CRS model. If people can all work toward creating a new combined QRS/CRS paradigm, we can transform and evolve our CRS/QRS thinking within a larger framework. This bigger worldview can incorporate self-control within the new QRS/CRS model. For now, we can conceptualize them going forward as parallel systems that can be used to design new MCB capacities.
Remember that new QRS/CRS systems have not been designed yet. An understanding of some aspects of the new QRS and traditional CRS can facilitate our learning how to shift within the CRS paradigm to retain current controls and add the dimensions of quality.
One hoped for outcome of the March 21 EMG Meeting is a realization that the entire agency is in partnership with vendors, community agencies, and customers. Therefore, everyone needs to be involved in helping shape the design of future service capacities in MCB's new QRS/CRS systems. We propose that MCB actively adopt and adapt the QRS/CRS systems design model to weave a new MCB fabric.
MCB Systems Design in context of QRS/CRS
What is QRS/CRS? It is a way of thinking and a work in process. QRS is potentially a new driving force in the MCB that reminds us to tilt toward both internal and external customers. It is focused on collecting both quality and quantity data and making sure the numbers we report are accurate and a true reflection of the excellence we all want to see in MCB. The emphasis is on continuously exploring possibilities, asking customers, improving service systems, and simultaneously learning all we can about the state of the art in rehabilitation.
In QRS, quality is demonstrated by our continuing to learn strategies that reinforce feelings of respect, esteem, and growth for all customers and employees. We plant the seeds for growth and nurture relationships and trust in every interaction. We need to be explicit about our purpose and focus on creating an environment filled with meaningful "attractions" in all we do.
QRS is continually reinforcing the things we do well. It is a cyclical pattern that is constantly moving forward in a positive way. We are recognizing and reinforcing positive outcomes. We design into our systems all the supports, recognition, and rewards that we need from each other and from MCB. Our customers in the marketplace ultimately define quality. Vendors and employees are in partnership with customers to clarify and continually upgrade the collection of customer satisfiers that go together to create a market satisfaction index. It is an ongoing process. Quality is an integral part of the system. It isn't defined by staff, nor by the system, or by programs or projects alone. Quality is ultimately defined in partnership with MCB customers, (both internal and external).
MCB focus is to get honest input from our customers, partners, and staff, weaving that data into a fabric that is pleasing to those we serve. They should have direct input into the design of the systems and services that directly impact their lives at both micro and macro levels. Nothing should be designed for customers without the direct involvement of customers.
The 2020 group proposes that MCB systematically survey all of the people with whom MCB has contact, including 08, 26, and 28 closures, as well as homemaker and others who drop out of the system. We need to develop a data set on which we can base future systems design decisions to add value in all we do.
QRS/CRS Systems Design Questions
Proposal to begin a Strategic Thinking and Planning Process to help MCB design and engineer new MCB service systems for 2005 and beyond
We propose that MCB adopt a Strategic Thinking and Planning Process on March 21, 2001. It will begin to focus MCB strategic thinking on involving customers, partners, and other selected stakeholders in dialogue about strategic future scenarios in MCB. This Strategic Thinking and Planning Process is adapted from the book Strategic Planning Workbook for Nonprofit Organizations. Published by the Wilder Foundation, the book includes five steps to developing a Strategic Plan. The Vision 2020 Process Design Team proposes to add two additional steps to make it match the PDSA process that we are beginning to use in transforming to a QRS/CRS quality system.
The Vision 2020 Team proposal, as adapted, has these seven steps:
On March 21, we propose to begin with the first two steps, Get organized and Take stock. Get organized means we decide if and how we want MCB to do the next round of Strategic Thinking and Planning. Taking stock is the same as the Situation Analysis process that organizations have used in the past and with which most strategic planning starts. Our twist is that we propose to begin with a future search - 2005 to clarify our future direction possibilities and to propose for analysis several possible scenarios. Then we can map backwards to design the needed goals, activities, and assignments for 2001.
After reviewing many possibilities, the 2020 team realized it is essential that customers and partners have direct impact on the design of MCB systems if we are to achieve quality together.
We propose to add customer representatives to systems design dialogues as we go forward with the Strategic Thinking and Planning Process. The transformation process to QRS/CRS is complex to understand and difficult to design systems without the complete context that can be provided by customers and partners along with employees.
Strategic Thinking in an Evolving QRS Context
Strategic thinking should include awareness of a QRS context.
Strategic Thinking Process Overview
First, we create an ideal picture of the future and then attempt to design and develop the systems that make it successful. The 2020 group recognized that first we should invite customers and/or their representatives to sit in on the design dialogue so we all can learn and design together. Then, we need to involve all employees and sampling of our customers or consumer representatives in imagining the future of MCB in 2005.
Next, we need to have a Dialogue Circle that covers some of the essential strategic initiatives facing the agency (TWIIA, WIIA, New Rehab, legislation, budget cuts, new revenue streams, etc). We then evolve systems, sharing examples of positive actions taken in context of QRS/CRS. We constantly design activities that help connect all customers, partners, and employees in a reinforcing systems design that is positive and future focused.
MCB needs to focus on how to open up our 25-year-old systems to help attain more flexibility. Staff can learn to use quality tools to their advantage. Creating awareness in FIA, DMB, and with all other community partners is essential.
Another strategy is to accept the paradox of CRS and QRS co-existing side by side in a holistic system. It may be helpful for each office and unit to have their own QRS systems design group to assure that all members get involved and all customers are represented in all local design decisions. It will take time and training for all of us to learn to be architects of QRS.
QRS/CRS is an iterative system. We use the PDSA model to continuously assure that all new systems and procedures are being piloted and people are satisfied. We are exploring innovative possibilities and testing new ideas, adapting and adopting them based on the recommendations of the pilot data. We design continuously and forever to renew our systems. We design holistically, have fun, and encourage that everyone takes the initiative to get involved and be informed about this journey.
If we can all accept this QRS/CRS challenge, we all will need to reach consensus and commit to grow forward in alignment with each other and in sync with our MCB evolving systems. It will not be an easy task.
New QRS/CRS tools
The QRS/CRS Wheel specifically links Strategic Thinking and Planning - 2005 with the quality phases of PDSA. The hub of the wheel reflects the QRS Systems Design, and the spokes of the wheel reflect the eight MCB Tilt Strategies and Values. All three systems will function to help us sort and cluster ideas in the complicated situations and environments that surrounds MCB. They will help us create capacity, design new systems, clarify terms, and pilot new MCB processes via PDSA.
Proposed Learning Objectives: March 21, 2001
After completing this meeting, participants will be able to:
Tentative Agenda for March 21, 2001
DeWitt Conference Center, DeWitt, Michigan
8:45 AM Arrival, refreshments, and social interaction
9:15 AM Welcome, introductions, and charge to the EMG by the Executive Management Team
9:30 AM Video: Leadership and the New Science
10:00 AM Review the Dialogue Circle Process Guidelines
10:30 AM Begin the Strategic Thinking and Planning Process - 2005 with Step 1.) Get Organized and 2.) Take Stock. (We propose breaking into five groups to consider the questions and to start the MCB Strategic Thinking and Planning Process.)
Future Strategic Thinking and Planning:
Step 1. Get Organized
Strategic Thinking and Planning, Looking Back from 2005 -
What is the ideal MCB?
Step 2. Take Stock/Situation Analysis 2001-2005
After Action Review
What have we learned from this QRS/CRS design process?
What can we do next time to improve the QRS/CRS process?
What are the next steps?
What are our assignments?
Who will report on what at the next iteration of MCB design? When does EMG meet again?
3:30 PM Adjourn