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Does Your Manufacturing System Work? 4 Steps to an Engaged Workforce

Scott Favreau, Senior Consultant, Competitive Solutions, Inc., Alpharetta, GA, USA

Keywords: Accountability, Engagement, Leadership

Industry: Manufacturing

Level: Intermediate

Abstract

In many organizations today, team functionality is actually working against overall business success and efficiency. Organizations have become a slave to team models that are inefficient, unproductive, and bureaucratic. As well intentioned leaders attempt to add the latest Continuous Improvement tool as a sign of forward thinking strategic commitment, sustainment and ownership is compromised due to ineffective teams. Business acumen, execution skills, and scorecard driven communication cadences all form the proper “Run the Business” team infrastructure. Without

non-negotiable systems, organizational leaders will never be able to truly “Transform the Business.” The ability to collectively harmonize often disparate functions and colleagues into a cohesive team tasked with driving and sustaining clarity of communication, connectivity and ownership of the metrics, and consistency of the daily rhythm of execution is no longer optional. Simply adding yet another tool (LEAN, 6S, Six Sigma) to a broken infrastructure only adds to the

chaos. This session will challenge attendees to examine their current operating system and team functionality, while providing proven and practical solutions for improvement. Four specific processes will be presented that ensure a sustainable culture of Clarity, Connectivity and Consistency. A robust Business Acumen Process that translates metrics into the capacity to answer – “Are we winning or losing?” Simply stated, every communication, action, and priority

should originate from the understanding of winning and losing. Too often organizations are overwhelmed with data and underwhelmed with understanding and execution. Technology has allowed us to capture, measure, compile, and collect more data than ever imaginable. We can view dashboards, scorecards, KPI’s, trend charts, glide paths, and spreadsheets. But have you ever stood by a timeclock or guardhouse and randomly asked colleagues and associates –

“Did your team win or lose today?” You might be amazed at the answer or more likely, non-answer. The translation of metrics into “Metrics that Matter” isn’t an easy exercise. However the dialog begins not with numerical values, but rather with “How” are we going to use this data. How will we compile, How will we report, How will we communicate results, How will we affirm positive performance, How will we address RED performance, How will we create urgency of response, How will we recalibrate metrics, How will we make the data matter? A robust Execution Process that makes accountability visible, personal, and measurable. Too often teams are powered by selective engagement rather than collective accountability – where a few engaged colleagues drive the meaningful work and actions while others “fly beneath the radar” of accountability. Moving from an engagement definition of “feeling” toward a definition of “doing” is essential. Effective execution lies in the ability to connect critical activities to a broader purpose, hence the pre-requisite of business acumen. A robust Communication Process that drives a non-negotiable cadence of both daily and weekly priorities. Meeting saturation is the biggest enemy of effectiveness and efficiency in organizations today. In our zeal to involve and engage people, our meetings have become organization behemoths running rampant through our weekly

calendars. It seems the default answer to every problem is “let’s schedule a meeting.” Yet, interestingly enough, with all the hours we spend in meetings, the number one issue on every employee satisfaction survey is still…POOR COMMUNICATION! How can that be true when we spend so many hours in meetings? A team meeting should be the vehicle to operationalize the business acumen and execution processes. It should be the vehicle powerful enough to

rapidly diagnose winning and losing, drive execution action plans, cascade critical information, allow for a quick harmonization of priorities, and then…go back to work to execute the meeting results. It should be viewed as the “Enabler of the business,” not an “In addition to the business.” A robust Behavioral Process that defines demonstrative expectations, demonstrates an appreciation for individual communication styles, and fully grasps the power and pitfalls of multigenerational teams. For teams to truly be functional, leaders must learn to “manage by process, not

personality.” What does that mean exactly? The day-to-day transactional running of the business should not be dependent upon the leader, but rather owned and managed by the team’s business acumen, execution, and communication processes. These all tie together to create a robust Team Based Assimilation and Orientation Process that drives a sustainable “Way of Work”


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