albert humphrey's tam® model (team action management)
a reliable process for improving company performance
Albert Humphrey (1926-2005) was a leading expert in the field of corporate strategic planning and strategy realization. He said: "Most executives realize that the best way to build a 'pre-action plan' is to use the people who will do the work to plan the work. But they commonly find that such an approach is hampered by poor group human behaviour. Poor group behaviour has been the subject of research since 1940 (notably and for example starting at Bethel Main USA ultimately called 'group dynamics'). Because of this tendency for groups to be poor at organising themselves and their activities, the executive then has to work with woolly, fuzzy, often inaccurate and indecisive pre-action plans, which inevitably exceed budget and timescales, or worse till fail altogether. Here is a method which can be given to and used by the pre-action planning team which makes the ideal approach practical and achievable, and also actually produces results and almost guarantees success in both achieving the benefit as well as in the time/cost budget."
Albert Humphrey was a remarkable business guru. One of his incidental achievements is to have been is one of the founding fathers of the famous SWOT analysis model. Albert Humphrey more recently developed the TAM® (Team, Action, Management) business performance model, which is summarised in this article, by kind permission of Albert Humphrey, which is gratefully acknowledged. Humphrey's work at the Stanford Research Institute in the 1960's arguably provided seeds of the UK 'Investors In People' model, and his pioneering work involving all employees in business planning was perhaps the first example of what has now become known as the 'Stakeholders Concept', which is now used and promoted by leaders of business and nations all around the world.
Albert Humphrey's methodology makes sound business sense, and moreover is especially relevant for the business leaders and managers of today because of its strong ethical and inclusive qualities.
Today more than ever business and organizations must be managed and developed using decent, honest, caring principles.
Humphrey saw this clearly. Forty years ago.
tam® - team action management model
TAM® is a step by step formatted precise method which facilitates and enables any group - for example, a team, council, committee, or board of directors, working together - to produce and achieve a plan to accomplish a specific result, in a specific time, to a specific budget.
According to Albert Humphrey's experience and case studies, using the TAM®method virtually guarantees results.
The TAM® model and process came from the research and development work done at Stanford Research Institute by Albert Humphrey which later produced the 'Stakeholders Concept' and 'SWOT Analysis'. TAM® is designed to obtain the necessary agreement and commitment from the appropriate people required to guarantee results. Humphrey's experience in using the TAM® process indicates that if the rules are followed, TAM® ensures success.
TAM® is a unique multiple programme management system which solves the human problems of project management work. It overcomes traditional personality problems experienced when introducing changes. It can be used with any project management software programme or by itself to produce immediate and measurable results. A performance improvement between 25% to 50% can be expected because of its 'fair play' quality.
It's fast (within a week) and proactive, so if you are in a situation that seems to be going nowhere fast, despite endless meetings, reports, reviews and edicts from on high, then the TAM® process could be the answer to your challenges.
purposes and uses of tam®
TAM® is designed for use by the CEO, MD, Project Manager or team leader to achieve development results, ie., to speed up and guarantee the success of any project. The method is able to overcome politics, the seven deadly people sins, and games that people play.
Using TAM the executive manager or team can produce the specific results required, on time and within budget.
Acquisitions or divestments are made easier. New product launches are more successful. Productivity throughout can be uplifted. TAM® can also be used to ensure the successful delivery of other initiatives such as MBO (Management By Objectives), Re-Engineering, Total Quality Management, Continuous Improvement Programme, Quality Circles, achievement of ISO 9000 or equivalent quality accreditation, and Investors in People.
TAM® can be also expanded into a comprehensive 'Strategic Planning' system, with more accurate budgets and controls.
The method overcomes the aggravations associated with sales forecasting, gaining commitments - 'buy-in' and getting agreements between employees. Its use is discretionary. The project leader, chairman, managing or functional director can decide to use it or not. It can be imposed on existing projects or on operating subsidiaries to give visibility, to increase control and accountability.
The TAM® method is best used when more than one person or multi-skills are required for success.
TAM® works because the 'truth of the matter' is revealed and decisions made are seen by the people affected to be based on honesty and true understanding.
Results come from a new perception of 'Fair Play'. In this respect the process is one of ethics and philosophy, as much as structure and content.
TAM® can be applied to any function of the organisation, or project, located in any country in any language. It can be used to guarantee that the desired results are obtained.
how the tam® model and process works
This is a simple step-by-step summary of the process. Like all the best ideas it's actually quite simple.
phase 1 - preparation
1. The senior man sets the objectives, the timing, and specifies results. (1 hour)
2. The agenda, venue and objectives for the working party are published. (1.5 hours)
3. The team and support staff are trained in the process and briefed on their duties and obligations. (3 to 12 hours). This may require training in financial planning.
4. Business accounting data required by the team is produced, and given to each team member. Planning issues from all employees are collected. (8 hours)
phase 2 - planning session
5. The Working Session is directed by the leader and policed by the assistant. This session produces the actual plans, which are used to control the project and to achieve results. (38 hours)
6. Authorisation to implement the plan is obtained from higher authority. (2 hours)
phase 3 - implementation
7. Implementation review meetings are directed by the leader and policed by the assistant. Results are reported and the document is updated. (5 hours per month)
8. The team is coached until the final results and objectives are achieved. (elapsed time from two weeks to 18 months)
tam® the 6 success factors
TAM® identifies some very sensible underpinning factors; that for a business to be successful, there are six inter-related areas which have to be developed simultaneously. Again, simple common-sense.
- Products & Services - What are they, how do they work and when and how should they be improved.
- Process - How the products and services are to be made and/or assembled, including subcontracting and purchasing, labour and machinery.
- Customer - Who will buy the products and services and how will customers be persuaded to buy them.
- Distribution - How the product and services be warehoused, transported, delivered.
- Finance - Where will the money come from and how will the cash flow be controlled.
- Administration - How the organisation will be managed, the management style, the organisation structure and the people skills required.
'performance management' enhancement using tam®
This is achieved by a comprehensive, holistic examination of detailed activities from level one of the operations, up to the top level, combined with instant team work for implementation.
It is not normally possible for a manager or executive to 'pre-fabricate' team-work in order to complete a specific job.
Humphrey maintains that using TAM® It is possible to literally bring a group of people required to improve performance, to a conference room, people who may or may not know each or even like each other. And then apply TAM® and like magic - the people turn into a team, plan the work they will do, and then (believe it or not) will actually do it.
Performance improvement depends on finding out what needs to be done at the lowest levels of the operations, to the top. To get this translated into action the leader must call on people to do the work. This is called the team.
Because performance is paramount the team leader needs a process like TAM® in order to guarantee success.
Performance improvement first starts with a comprehensive examination of the entire operations from the bottom to the top. This is then followed by a 'how shall we go forward' planning workshop.
Because instant team work is made possible using TAM®, it can give the team the power to produce a performance improvement plan between 24 to 38 working hours (ie., between 3 to 5 days).
The plan produced is more reliable because it is based on a comprehensive, holistic, assessment, and then having produced it themselves, the team is more focused and dedicated to getting the results, which virtually guarantees performance improvement.
some tam® case study highlights
As you can see from these examples, TAM® has been around for a while, and there is plenty of evidence of its effectiveness.
- Within a very short 9 month period and under the direction of John Massarella, TAM® was used to effect the merger of CWS and JW French and the subsequent sale of this merger to Spillers.
- TAM® was instrumental in the successful merger of J Lyons and Tetley.
- TAM® was central in preventing the closure of the Roche fine chemicals plant and then creating what is today the world's largest vitamin C production facility in the world.
- Rist's Wires and Cables Ltd became the world's leading automotive cable manufacturing operation in Lucas plc after implementing a comprehensive TAM® programme
- TAM® was used extensively to create the UK government agency 'Crown Suppliers' out of PSA Supplies.
- TAM® was central in preventing the liquidation of Thomas Waide and Sons (Leeds).
- Norflex Ltd (Horncastle) used TAM® to reposition the company. It was subsequently sold to Polypipe for over £3million.
- TAM® was used to create the 'Food Security Group'. Starting with Anglia Canners (£3million turnover) the group expanded and now enjoys a turnover in excess of £800million.
- Wensum plc used TAM® to build it's share price from 30p to over 145p in 18 months.
And here's an interesting TAM® article from Finance Today, featuring two more detailed case studies.
albert humphrey - biography
Albert S Humphrey (1926-2005) appeared in Who's Who in the World, Debrett's People of Today, Who's Who in the City, and the Directory of Directors. He was also listed in Who's Who in Science and Engineering (7th Edition 2003 2004). He held directorships with several large companies and consulted with over 100 others in the UK, USA, Mexico, France, Switzerland, Germany, Norway and Denmark. He was responsible for the 'International Executive Seminar in Business Planning' for Stanford Research Institute and prior to his death was the European Operation Director for the National Bureau of Certified Consultants in the USA. He graduated from the University of Illinois in Chemical Engineering, took a Master's degree at MIT in Chemical Engineering, and at Harvard was awarded a Master's Degree in Business Administration. At Stanford Research Institute, he was instrumental in creating the 'International Executive Seminar in Long Range Planning'. His team method for planning created SOFT (which later became SWOT) and was used by WH Smith plc from 1970 through 1987 to develop their annual budget at the same time their long range planning programme. This was the first such programme to involve all their employees in business planning and a precursor to 'Investors in People'. His work at Stanford produced the 'Stakeholders Concept' which is commonly used and references by many famous industrial and political leaders. This programme was subsequently renamed TAM®.
With acknowledgments also to Philip Webb of Tam plc now the principal provider, rights-holder and advocate of Albert Humphrey's TAM methodology.
- SWOT Analysis - Albert Humphrey was involved in the development of the SWOT model
- Business Planning
- PEST Analysis