As noted in our previous newsletter, team huddles offer numerous benefits to employees and agencies alike. Chief among them may be the informed, two-way communication up and down the management chain that occurs when management can readily see and gauge staff performance, and employees know they will have their leaders’ support when problems surface.
Agencies deploying the full suite of Arizona Management System core elements are expected to have a defined structure for connecting the various tiers within the agency where team huddles occur. This tiered connectivity ensures that alignment and flow of information occurs seamlessly and continuously throughout the entire management chain, from front-line (Tier 1) teams up to the agency director, and ultimately, the governor. See image below.
The agency’s executive leadership aligns its mission strategically with the governor’s most important priorities and goals for the state, and then defines and communicates the agency’s mission-specific priorities and goals to staff, where they become operational for teams via their huddles. Employees can see a direct line between their work and the metrics they track, and the metrics being tracked at the higher tiers.
Metrics tracked at the various tiers reflect the type of work being done. A Tier 1 team’s metrics will necessarily be more tactical (i.e., “leading” measures) while the director’s level is more strategic (i.e., “lagging” measures). The number of tiers within any agency depends upon the agency’s size and complexity.
The visual management used in tiered huddles provides insight to where problems may be occurring as well as a platform for communication within and between tiers, allowing all levels of the agency to engage in problem solving using disciplined techniques and tools of AMS. Teams are encouraged to work toward problem resolution at the lowest level possible and escalate problems up the management chain when necessary. Each level defines the escalation criteria, and issues that can’t be resolved at the current tier escalate to the appropriate level that can address the problem.