On a recent visit to a very famous manufacturing site I was proudly told that
“People are our greatest asset, without our people we wouldn’t be where we are today, our people make all the difference, its makes us great.”
Ok that sounds fantastic, so using my old consultant questioning handbook I asked
“How are you measuring this valued asset?”
Their reply was
“Oh that’s easy we measure their absence rate”
Using my NLP skills I further enquired:
“That sounds very interesting, what else do you do?”……playing my good to great card
There then followed the awkward 5 second silence and the guilty look, their reply being
“Well I’m not sure the rest is all HR, they are into all that hire and fire stuff”
During the subsequent shopfloor tour we saw great examples of
TPM version 5- the previous 4 versions all having started and stopped over the previous 12 years
A yellow painted 5s square designed as the “next job staging area” that had become the ideal place to store broken pallets, oil drums, change over equipment and spare packaging….”That really winds me up, Frankie move this C**p out of here and stick it back in the stores!”
We continued watching stressed out operators, confused production planners and manic material controllers.
The production meeting was cancelled because “we are too busy –finishing of yesterday”
The visit culminated with the 15 minute finale of the “This is the new robot which does the work of 3 men…..when it’s running!”
So what is the answer?
We’ve all seen it, we’ve all worked in it, we‘ve even been responsible for most of it.
If people are your greatest asset, how long do we spend creating systems for them to work in, giving them tools to make systems work and most importantly explaining why we have to improve?
Tools (the how) in isolation, without systems (the what) and vision (the why) are the way to make this work.
We need to balance our time between the three.
Challenge your implementation, question:
How often have you flooded your organisation with tools?
How often have you introduced a new programme?
How much time and money have you spent on worthless training?
Against how much time you have spent with your team talking about WHY?
Where and how do we lead and manage, is it daily at the workspace?
Is it weekly at meetings?
Monthly at budget reviews?
Annually at performance reviews?
The answer for me is easy, the application however is hard. You need to manage daily at the workspace, talk about why, create systems and use tools where appropriate to deliver sustainable results.
Why is it hard, because it requires empathy, time, and humility and to show faith in your team….traits that most managers find challenging.
Please do contact me if you would like to discuss this further: