Team Action Management (TAM)

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This article explains Team Action Management (TAM) by Albert Humphrey in a practical way. After reading you will understand the basics of this powerful team development and performance management tool.

Introduction

Performance improvement can only be successful when organizations know exactly what needs to be changed. An organization depends on employees who work in teams. To demonstrate the importance of this dependency, the American business consultant Albert S. Humphrey developed the management concept of Team Action Management (TAM®) at Stanford Research Institute in the 1960s. Albert Humphrey was a leading expert in the field of corporate strategic planning and strategy realization. He was a remarkable business management guru. He developed various management models and he was one of the co-developers of the famous strategy tool: the SWOT Analysis.

Group dynamics

According to Albert Humphrey, it is the people in an organization that can make or break a project. Unfortunately, a good approach can be hindered by bad group dynamics. Bad group behaviour can lead to inaccuracy and indecisiveness and they in turn will lead to budgets and planning. In the worst case, nothing will happen at all. Team Action Management can give new impetus to the group dynamics which will result in people being more effective and productive. Time and money can successfully be saved because of this.

What is Team Action Management?

Team Action Management is a step-by-step management method that encourages people to work well together in a group. Such a group may consist of a team of employees, a council, committee or board of directors. Team Action Management facilitates a group as a result of which a group is better able achieve the desired results. Team action model has been designed to obtain the necessary agreement and commitment from the appropriate people required to guarantee results. If the rules are followed, the team action model ensures success according to Humphrey. The team action model solves human problems of project management work.

Using Team Action Management

The use of Team Action Management can be explained in three phases.

Each phase is divided into time units:

Phase 1 – preparation

1. The team chair sets the objectives, the corresponding planning and specifies results (1 hour).
2. The agenda, venue and the objectives are presented to the working party (1.5 hours).
3. The team and support staff are trained in the process and informed about their duties and obligations (3 to 12 hours).
4. Business accounting information are produced by the team. The planning of (possible) issues from all employees are collected (8 hours).

Phase 2 – planning session

5. The working session is directed by the leader under the supervision of the assistant. This session produces the actual plans that are used to control the project and achieve results.(38 hours).
6. Higher authorities grant authorisation to implement the plan (2 hours).

Phase 3 – implementation

7. Implementation is evaluated in meetings. The leader directs this meeting under the supervision of an assistant. The results are reported and updated. (5 hours per month).
8. The team is coached until the final results an objectives are achieved. (from two weeks to 18 months).

The success factors

The success of team action management is underpinned by a number of factors that are interrelated and that have to be developed simultaneously:

  • Products and services – What products and services does the company deliver, how do they work and how should they be improved.
  • Process – How the products and services are made.
  • Customer – Who will buy the product and how can they be persuaded to buy them.
  • Distribution – How the product and services are transported, delivered and warehoused.
  • Finance– What are the revenue sources and how can the cash flow be controlled.
  • Administration – How is the organization managed and how is the organization structure organized?

In practice

Performance improvement starts with an extensive investigation of the entire business operations from the operational shop floor to the strategic apex. Success can only be guaranteed when everyone within the organization is aware of the importance of working together. Team Action Management has repeatedly proved its value in practice. In relative short periods of time, successful mergers were brought about in Great Britain and Team Action Management has also prevented the closure of companies. Team action management is also used to prevent bankruptcies and has even led to the relaunch of companies that are now counted among the world’s leading companies such as Roche fine chemicals, Rist’s Wires and Cables Ltd, Thomas Waide and Sons (Leeds) and Food Security Group.

It’s Your Turn

What do you think? Is Team Action Management still applicable in today’s modern organizations? Do you recognize the practical explanation or do you have more suggestions? What are your success factors for good team management?

Share your experience and knowledge in the comments box below.

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More information

  1. Bradt, G. B., Check, J. A., & Pedraza, J. E. (2011). The new leader’s 100-day action plan: how to take charge, build your team, and get immediate results. John Wiley & Sons.
  2. Humphrey, A. S. (1986). Gearing up for Change. Management Decision, 24(6), 12-15.
  3. Humphrey, A. S. & Groves, P. (2005). Turning Downturn Into Major Upturn. IEEE Engineering Management Review, 33(2), 47-50.

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