Industrial Engineering

Telling Timelines

Picture source: timelinePicture source: www.unionhistory.info

BY: KEVIN MCMANUS

INDUSTRIAL ENGINEER – VOLUME 46 NUMBER 4

Timelines help us shape work cultures

One of the business worlds most powerful video is “You Are What You Were When”, in which Morris Massey shows how events over time shape a workplace’s personality types and culture. The video aims to help people appreciate individual differences and how culture are formed, in turn helping their teams work together more effectively.

I have used timelines that can decades to help understand key factors that shape the prevailing culture and may compromise an organizations’s efforts at better performance. I even have applied timelines to analyze and understand my career and challenges. Human typically are” blessed with short memories, which can leave them wondering how they got into their messes, struggling to find those systemic leverage points that will put them on better tracks.

Using Measure to evaluate system performance involves building theories about how different work systems contribute to trend shifts over time. Just as annoted trend lines help us diagnose a system’s performance, timelines can help us explore, evaluate and shape more effective work cultures. Without the context of a timeline, we often change work systems without fully understanding their real strengths and weaknesses, let alone the ramifications of shifting gears to new work systems or alternate system designs.

We often tend to view all organizational, team and personal events as relatively equal in weight. Timeline mapping can free us from this trap by giving us a visual history of events.