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A high road to management and human resources development: High Performance Teams

ILO official Peter van Rooij worked 14 months in a factory as part of an exchange of staff between the International Labour Office (ILO) and the French company Michelin. His challenge? To help them move from a "Taylorist" management style to High Performance Team Management.

Article | 06 August 2004

(Geneva, ILO On Line) – High Performance Team Management combines performance objectives, sustainability and personal development as each one does not go without the others. The theory may not be new, but its importance is as relevant today as it was 15 years ago.

Yet even the best management theory needs good practice. That, at least, is the philosophy at the ILO, where one of its staff members was recently sent to a factory undergoing a change in management style. Peter van Rooij was there to help inform staff over what High Performance Team Management is all about, assist with the envisaged organisational target structure, devise and implement a communications' strategy, train staff in High Performance Team management as well as to assist Teams in their development.

According to Peter, better communication is one key component. If staff has clear information on how much material is wasted in different processes, for example, they can find better ways to reduce costs. Also worthy of note: well-informed staff tends to be more motivated.

Training is another key element. At Peter's factory considerable resources were invested to support the technical skills, flexibility and managerial competencies of staff at all "levels" of the hierarchy.

The 14 months certainly did not suffice to put in place motivated, effective and efficient Teams but it did allow for building a solid basis on which to start from and what the factory continued to build on. Factories, enterprises and public organizations that already have more experience with High Performance Teams are continuing to demonstrate that quality and quantity production can go hand in hand with sustainability and staff development. And that practice in turn is vindicating and helping improve the theory.

For further information, please contact Peter van Rooij, ILO Employment Sector, at

Note 1 - Refers to highly specialized, heteronomous and fragmented work.