A Way to Improve Human Performance
Improve Performance of Organizations and Teams
TameFlow is a modern approach to management that brings your knowledge-based organization to a state of superior performance, where your business performs at levels several times greater than your competitors. TameFlow is so called because it will make you act on (or “tame”) four fundamental flows that are present in any organization:
- Operational Flow
- Financial Flow
- Informational Flow
- Psychological Flow
Create more humane workplaces
In TameFlow, any organization is considered as a social body of individuals who communicate and interact in the pursuit of a common purpose. TameFlow strives to remove conflicts and partial interests, by actively developing a community of trust and unity of purpose. TameFlow creates a connected, collaborative and sustainable environment that ultimately maximizes your overall performance.
How Does TameFlow Work?
TameFlow Creates Agreement and Unity of Action on the “Four Performance Flows”
TameFlow is based on the simple idea that all and everybody in an organization should be “pulling in the same direction.” In most companies, countless effort and energy is spent in internal conflicts and infights. TameFlow seeks to produce unanimous understanding and decisions around four fundamental questions, which are:
Operations: How well are we delivering?
The Operational Flow is the conventional “workflow” that determines how work moves through the organization. Raw materials are transformed into finished goods. Services are delivered through a succession of steps. Operational flow is measured by means of operational throughput i.e. the rate at which goods or services are delivered to the market. TameFlow will produce substantial improvements in a company’s operational flow, by increasing flow efficiency, reducing flow times and increasing throughput, simply because all the “players” will have a shared understanding of the game and will all be playing according to the same rules.
Finance: How much wealth are we creating?
The Financial Flow is understood by everybody to be measured in financial throughput. It represents the rate at which an organization turns its products or services into profit. Most organizations’ financial strategies are driven by cost saving measures. Instead, TameFlow will train both managers and workers to think in terms of financial throughput, and give them new insights which will radically reshape their strategies for making decisions that turn work into making money effectively and efficiently. By focusing on the rate of profit generation, rather than on cost savings or on the magnitude of the profit alone, the organization’s financial performance will increase significantly.
Information: How well are we communicating?
The Informational Flow is the lifeblood of an organization. It has a deep impact on the company’s performance; it truly builds the organization’s collective intelligence and determines its ability to adapt and grow. TameFlow will improve the flow of information by establishing effective patterns of communication and interaction, as well as refining organizational design to better react, by getting the right information to the right place at the right time.
Psychology: How happy are our people?
The highest levels of individual or group performance are achieved when people reach the so called “state of psychological flow,” which is also generally associated with a state of happiness. In such states there is seamless concurrence of thoughts and actions. People experience complete control over their situation, even in the face of high risk, extreme difficulties and seemingly insurmountable challenges. TameFlow activates psychological flow in both individuals and groups by effectively establishing “flow triggers,” and the best environmental conditions to cultivate such flow states.
While any improvement of any single one of these four flows will typically produce tangible benefits, TameFlow furthermore strives to make the four flows “pull in the same direction” as well (in addition to the people as mentioned above). The alignment of the four flows is what will generate a performance breakthrough”.
What is the Magic Sauce of TameFlow?
TameFlow Ignites Three Formidable Transformative Forces
While improvements in any single or in all of the performance flows will produce substantial benefits, the real breakthrough in performance happens only by aligning the four flows. An organization that is capable of reaching maximum levels of the four flows will be like a jet aircraft flying at maximum speed. If the organization is then capable of aligning the four flows, it will be like the jet igniting the afterburners: even more thrust will be released. The alignment of the four fundamental flows will unleash three vigorous transformative forces within your company. The concerted action of these powerful forces enable your organization to reach superlative performance levels through energized, coordinated, and synchronized team effort. In particular, the three transformative social forces are:
- Inspired Leadership,
- Unity of Purpose, and
- Community of Trust
Is everybody a true leader? Every high performing organization has a true leader at its helm, capable of identifying the company’s True North. Leadership is a potent social force that compels others to follow the direction set by the leader. Inspired Leadership is guided more by principles of fellowship and co-valence rather than authority, rule and command. The precept of Leader Intent is vivid.
Teams make decisions on their own, knowing that they will make the same decision that would be made by whoever is the “commander in chief,” given the information and context they have. Likewise, the “commander in chief” will fully trust the teams to make the best decisions possible, with the information and context they have, and that such decisions will be congruent with their shared and common goal.
In such organizations literally anybody can make any decision. Inspired leaders will generate other leaders. Leadership becomes an act, and is no longer the privilege of a single role. Those acts of leadership become exemplars of behavior that others want to follow or replicate, on their own accord.
Unity of Purpose
Is everybody really pulling in the same direction? Unlike lofty corporate mission statements, which are often proclaimed tongue in cheek or usually only given lip service, TameFlow’s transformative force, Unity of Purpose is an emotional state shared by all individuals in the company. Under Unity of Purpose individuals will become deeply motivated and engaged at a personal level, recognizing the alignment that exists between their own direction in life and the company’s goal. They will develop a deep appreciation of how achieving the organization’s goal actually supports them in their personal pursuits; and vice-versa, organizational support of personal achievements will encourage individuals to contribute to the company’s goals.
A powerful performance driver, Unity of Purpose enables an organization to function better as a whole. Truly sharing the same culture and values, the entire company will collectively “see, decide and act” as one unit. This means everybody (individuals and departments) will not only agree on the same mental models but also apply them in unison for quick decision making and swift execution.
Community of Trust
Is the organization a true community wherein individuals trust each other? How many inefficiencies hide in your organization because people are constantly arguing, have hidden agendas or distrust each other? It might seem unbelievable but a constant state of internal conflict is typical for most organizations, large or small. When a company attains alignment of the Four Flows, the conditions for deep feelings of trust develop within the organization itself. This is when TameFlow’s transformative force of Community of Trust kicks in.
The higher the levels of trust that exist in an organization, the higher it’s levels of performance will be. When everybody truly trusts that they are all pulling in the same direction, they have more common interests, and less turf to defend. Communication becomes focused on problem resolution rather than on winning arguments or defending positions. Within a Community of Trust all energies converge on moving the company further toward its goal.
Who is Using TameFlow?
TameFlow is used, among others, in the business sectors such as: Engineering, Banking, Publishing, i-Gaming, Legal, Health Care, Communications, Automotive, Software, Aviation.
TameFlow is the choice of many businesses who feel that “process improvements” measured in a few percentages are not enough for them to remain competitive. Instead they want to attain breakthrough performance innovation that allows them to improve by 2, 3 times or even more. TameFlow is the choice of organizations who care about finding the best ways to fulfill the needs of all individuals and parties who interact with it; from customers to suppliers; from shareholders to employees; and just about any “stake holder” who has some interest in the organization. TameFlow is the choice of leaders who believe in win-win solutions, and strive to produce a positive impact on the Six Ps of TameFlow: Profit, Passion, Purpose, Planet, People and Performance.
Here are some of the most significant cases resolved through TameFlow.
Wolters-Kluwer: Building Trust and Creating Unity of Purpose
In the early years of the 2000s, Wolters-Kluwer was a traditional publishing company, but was very much aware and understood the disruptive impact that the Internet would have on its business. The multinational decided to undertake a major transformation to become a leading digital information services provider.
To fast track the plan, in just a few years 32 acquisitions were performed in over 11 countries in Europe, resulting in 23 software business units with over 300 software engineers dispersed in multiple locations. The acquired software businesses were anything from two-cowboy-programming-guys-in-a-garage to software teams of up to 60 people using formal methods. Of course, the technical platforms, programming languages, backends, processes and methodologies were just as diverse.
The company decided to consolidate it’s technology stack, processes and methodologies and had the ambition of building a single platform, for all of its products, in all countries, and with a common methodology.
Over the span of two and a half years, three attempts were made; but all were unsuccessful. They focused primarily on technical issues, and did not address the real source of resistance to change: none of the existing managing directors and program/product/project managers were ready to forsake their part of the business in favor of anything else.
Then, with the adoption of TameFlow the real issue was resolved in a matter of a few weeks.
Here is how it was described by one of the stakeholders:
Wolters Kluwer is an international group (20.000 employees) that provides information, tools and solutions to professionals in the Health, Tax, Accounting, Corporate Services, Financial Services, Legal and Regulatory markets.
The assignment was to prepare the replacement of about 20 software products, each serving (a part of) the legal market of only 1 of about 10 different countries, by one single European platform for Legal Software, serving all legal markets of all countries.
One very difficult prerequisite for that project was to convince the Program Managers (like myself in Belgium) and Development Managers of each product of the opportunity and necessity of this move.
During three workshops of several days each, these people worked together mainly under the guidance of Steve [Tendon]. Steve shared his experience in setting up major software projects, and exposed his views on software strategies and methodologies, with emphasis on agile development methods.
The outcome of these workshops was that the group of people, who by nature were at first very skeptical towards a project that was meant to replace their own familiar businesses, issued a unanimous advice to the Wolters Kluwer management, recommending this project to be approved and started (which has been done, with success).
I personally am convinced that this result was largely due to the expertise of Steve Tendon, not only in the area of software engineering, but certainly also in showing leadership when giving guidance to a group of individuals, from different countries, and not necessarily having the same interests.
– Paul Malfait, Legal Software Manger, Kluwer/Mechelen
The details of some critical activities performed in the workshop are described in Chapter 4 of the book “Agility Across Time and Space, Implementing Agile Methods in Global Software Projects”, which you can read more about on the books page.
William-Hill: Winning the UK Agile Awards 2014
William-Hill, a leading iGaming company, was in need to develop a platform provisioning end-to-end sports book betting with the urgent need to launch new products and features, all the while redefining ways to handle supplier contracting; managing significant number of changing moving requirements; and creating a responsive technology, with one deployment to multiple platforms. All these needs were intractable with conventional waterfall delivery. The company had become complacent by not changing its organizations, processes and culture along with the growth in the business.
The TameFlow Approach was adopted by a pilot team working on communication, visibility, effectiveness and self-improvement, but with ambition and set objective of getting the whole organization to change.
One of the key objectives was to improve metrics, both for internal management but also for managing contracts with third party suppliers. Only a few weeks after starting the TameFlow Approach there was a measured 70% reduction in average time to market and a 240% increase in throughput (number of valued work items delivered per unit of time), with no additional investment (in head counts or any other resources).
The pilot team set the direction for the overall the organizational change. Program management adopted visual management techniques through “Fever Charts” and “Bubble Charts” drastically reducing the duration of their bi-weekly steering committee meetings, from hours to minutes. The techniques provided early management visibility to the team’s success, and very early leading signals for any issues that needed the steering committee’s immediate attention. Management could proactively focus attention on where it was needed, before it became a problem.
Roll out to the entire organization was effected based on the principles of communication and collaboration; of being productive and effective; of driving profits while getting employees engaged to develop themselves. The improvement in operations and communication paved the way for building a Community of Trust and focus on people, allowing them the opportunity to share their ideas, through transparent and respected communication.
On November 20, 2014, William-Hill Online won the UK Agile Awards 2014 in the category of “Best Use of Agile in the Private Sector.” By adopting the new way of working, William-Hill achieved 7-figure annual savings, profit growth and improved team performance
We were faced with unprecedented market change and an inability to respond through delivery. Radtac [the company that assisted William-Hill in the adoption of TameFlow] introduced and skilled us in an Agile approach that made the impossible possible and we’re now delivering far more than anyone thought possible a year ago – and the attitude of our teams is transformed. Everyone is far more positive now.
– Andrew Lee, former MD William Hill Online
Bosch: Taming Complexity
In 2015/2016 the Diesel Gasoline Systems business unit of Robert Bosch Gmbh was facing massive workloads. The 8.000 people strong business unit, serving most of the automotive industry, was struggling to deal with 70.000 change requests per month, hitting its 120 teams, distributed across the globe with locations in Germany, Austria, France, India, Vietnam, South Korea and other places too.
Every one of those 70.000 change request could impact any one, and more than one, of those 120 teams, creating incredibly complex decision matrices to prioritize and decide what should be worked on first. Yet the combinatorial explosion of possibilities proved to be unmanageable.
After a few months of preparation work, the adoption of flow metrics across all teams clearly identified one small team of only 25 people as the constraint (“bottleneck”) of the entire engineering process. A surgical coaching and training effort, during the course of only three weeks, on that single team resulted in a significant raise of the throughput of the entire business unit. Thereafter constraints management was adopted throughout the whole business, and that single team became the pace setter (the “Herbie”) used to prioritize and schedule all change requests and projects of the entire organization.
What are the Benefits of TameFlow?
A Culture that Creates a Learning Organization
TameFlow produces a number of tangible improvements across all of Four Flows. TameFlow brings improved time to market, cashflow, bottom-line, innovation, and happiness. The aggregated effect will substantially increase your organization’s total performance.
While the adoption of TameFlow will produce immediate, real and significant advantages in all four flows, a major long term effect is the development of a culture of ongoing improvement. TameFlow is a systemic and integrative approach that will move an organization to higher levels of consciousness in terms of human development of its people. Eventually TameFlow will evolve an organization into an “Ever Flourishing Company” and “Teal Organization”, progressing quickly through stages of performance development, and finally arriving at a state of a continuously improving, sustainable and humane organization that is capable of outstanding performance.
Benefits for the Operational Flow
Value delivery will happen faster and with less resources. Increased Operational Flow means a number of positive developments. Time to market will be shorter. Due date performance will improve. Performance will increase several times. Companies are able to optimize scarce and valuable resources. Unexploited and underutilized capacity can be unleashed to make competitive market offerings. Work is prioritized to maximize value creation. Flow time efficiency are enhanced. Unproductive multitasking and work-in-process will be reduced. The need to expedite will decrease significantly or even be eliminated entirely. All key performance indicators (KPIs) will be completely aligned with the company’s goal. Planned work will be managed better, while the capacity to handle emergencies or unplanned work will increase. Resilience will improve. Productivity will rise without the need for resorting to overtime or other untenable practices, yet overall, the pace of work will be relaxed and sustainable. And, most importantly, newly developed capacities can now be channeled towards competitive growth initiatives instead of depressing cost savings.
Benefits for the Financial Flow
The organization will become more capital and cash efficient. Improved Financial Flow has many important consequences. The entire organization will act in a consistent and financially responsible manner. Focus is squarely on value maximization instead of cost reduction, with the objective of gaining further leverage from investments. The organization will become knowledgeable about where and when investments are needed, and how these sustain all four flows. Strategic and operational decision making will be supported by relevant financial flow data. Metrics and KPIs will be chosen in such way that they truly drive financial performance and positively impact the bottom line. Strategic alternatives, sequencing of initiatives, and resource allocation will be founded upon flow-based economic models, which maximize the financial return for the company. Progress of initiatives and projects will be monitored in terms of financial throughput. Cash locked up in unfinished work or work-in-process will be reduced to a minimum. Return on investments will be anticipated by avoiding unproductive multitasking.
Benefits for the Informational Flow
The organization will become a “Continuous Learning Organization.” Improved Informational Flow has many beneficial effects. The transference of information and ideas will accelerate. Innovation becomes faster. An organically growing “Ecology of Ideas” and “Collective Intelligence” develops from which novel approaches emerge. The organization will self-organize in a way to optimize effective flow of information. Response time for problems is reduced and the leveraging of opportunities is increased. All essential attributes of effective communication (coordination, information and inspiration) are reinforced. The entire organization will be in agreement about which information is relevant and important. Information communicated towards the market and customers will be consistent, relevant and current. Any level of management will receive early signals of oncoming risk materialization; and likewise operational staff will receive timely support and issue resolution from higher levels of management. Tight, short and quick information feedback loops will emerge at all levels throughout the organization. Dependable reporting and management information will be available, covering all management portfolio initiatives and all value streams. Efforts across units and teams can be prioritized, coordinated and synchronized effectively.
With a developing Unity of Purpose, consistent, coherent and current information will support the decision making process. Not only will the right information be available to the right people at the right time, but decisions will be made faster and with much wider internal support. Decisions will be based on a deeper shared understanding and complete agreement about the problems, the solutions and their implementation, rather than on hunches, gut feelings or ego-inflated opinions. All relevant roles and operatives will become active parties and participate in the organizational decision making processes, enabling the company’s collective intelligence to make better judgments. In this way, the company will become a true Learning Organization. A learning organization that is not cemented to yesterday’s obsolete “Best Practices,” but instead continuously transforms, reinvents and adapts itself to the ever changing, competitive environment in which it operates, and continuously re-invents its own Next Practice.
Benefits for the Psychological Flow
Your people will reach higher levels of conscious engagement. Heightened Psychological Flow creates a more humane and effective organization; an organization which aligns behind a clearly articulated Unity of Purpose. Decision making will be streamlined and characterized by fewer unproductive conflicts and more unanimous decisions made in collaborative ways. In the case of divergent opinions, the organization will learn to resolve them by converging towards the recognized Unity of Purpose. Once decisions have been made, they will be supported and executed with full energy. Individuals will improve their own performance, and perceive their own personal goals as aligned with those of the business. The organization will be based upon a Community of Trust where individuals enjoy coming to work and are happy to contribute with their skills, abilities and personalities. The company will become a “Learning Organization” and provide space for personal growth, and social development. Acts of leadership will be encouraged and appreciated at all levels. Individuals and teams will have the knowledge, awareness and empowerment to make positive contributions to the company’s goal. They will also enjoy management’s full support and sponsorship, receiving recognition when recognition is due. Likewise, managers will enjoy unprecedented respect and esteem from their subordinates. Engagement, purposefulness and mindfulness will be common feelings.
Who Benefits from TameFlow?
TameFlow is for Leaders and Teams
If you are in a leadership role such as: business owner, managing directory, or chief executive; executive, manager, business unit director, or department head; line manager or team lead; HR manager; PMO manager, programme/portfolio manager, project manager; process engineer; product manager, product owner or Scrum Master; designer, engineer, software developer; or any other similar role with responsibility over a group of people (such as: teams, departments, business units, organizations, etc.) and you are also responsible for the performance of your people, then TameFlow is for you.
Conversely, if you are a member of such a group of people (team, department, business unit, organization, etc.), and care about working together with your peers and your bosses in better ways, then TameFlow is for you too.
How Can I Get Started with TameFlow?
Get in Touch with Us
Innovation is one of the most common goals for every business, but it is also the hardest to pull off. Most executives rank innovation as one of their top three priorities for their organization. Yet few executives believe that their companies are effective innovators. Even fewer think they can achieve “breakthrough” innovation; let alone breakthrough performance innovation (innovating in the ways of achieving performance, in a breakthrough manner).
While it is possible to compete through product and service innovations, what we at TameFlow Consulting teach is how to produce innovation in the performance of your organization; and especially if you are in a knowledge-intensive business. We guide knowledge-intensive businesses to develop their own breakthrough performance innovations through both educational services and professional services.
TameFlow Educational Services
Our educational services include:
Class and On Site Training
Courses, classes, workshops, seminars and conference talks to assist organization to successfully adopt the TameFlow Approach.
Online courses, webinars and coaching about the TameFlow Approach.
Printed and electronic publications like books, handbooks, case studies, reports and articles about the TameFlow Approach.
TameFlow Professional Services
Our professional services include:
Process Performance Evolution
We assist businesses to rapidly evolve their current processes to heightened levels of performance by focusing on operational flow improvements.
Performance Constraints Management
We help businesses improve their financial performance by exposing, managing and breaking any latent constraints that limit financial flow.
Organizational Performance Design
We assist businesses to expose and improve their effective structures of communication and interaction to improve the internal informational flow.
Performance Mindset and Attitude Development
We facilitate the organization’s people to gain awareness of how their own beliefs and values impact performance, how they can nurture a Community of Trust, build a Unity of Purpose, and exercise Inspired Leadership while we guide the organization to attain psychological flow at the individual, team and organizational level.
Breakthrough Performance Innovation
We advise about how to explicitly and deliberately align the four performance flows to produce a real breakthrough performance innovation in the organization’s overall exercise.