How would you like to have a consultant interrogate you in detail about your company’s product, quality standards, and shipping methods, force you to admit exactly how you and your staff had dropped the ball, and ask you point-blank what you were going to do about it – while every single one of your employees watched and listened? According to Dan Dimancescu, this kind of meeting is not only a good idea – it’s just one ripple of a huge wave of change in management that is absolutely vital to the future of American business.
Dimancescu who has been a consultant to such companies as AT&T, Boeing, digital, HP, NASA, and Xerox, has witnessed scenes like the one above over and over in Japan. Those employees and the boss who was being put on the hot seat were involved in a concept still very foreign to American business: cross functional management. Holistic in nature, cross functional management aims that everyone from the CEO on down to the delivery truck driver understands the company’s goals, feelings, and triumphs, and the part he or she contributes. Instead of workers blindly following the new systems or procedures instituted by management, everyone learns to improve their performance as a group, and to internalize knowledge across the whole team. It’s a system in which process – not just results, but how to get things done – is the top priority. The results are, quite simply, astonishing.
Dimancescu believes that cross functional management can and must be our future. He looks at the recent achievements of companies including Ford, AT&T, and Hewlett-Packard, and the growing popularity of holistic initiatives like time-to-market and concurrent engineering. He details what senior executives must do to lay the groundwork, and describe six steps to follow: access the opportunity, appoint a process core team, target a pilot project, use the cross function “toolkit,” review the pilot, and plan and implement a rollout. The seamless enterprise provides the vision, systematic model, tools, and techniques every company needs to achieve the new dynamic edge – and unleash the long-stifled collective genius in American enterprise.
Dan Dimancsecu has been a consultant since 1978 to firms such as AT&T, Boeing, Digital, HP, NASA, and Xerox. He is the author of The Innovators: Rediscovering America’s Creative Energy and The New Alliance: America’s New R&D Corporation. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.