Manufacturing 2day: How to Conquer Functional Blindness

Have you ever noticed that people in the manufacturing industry spend a lot of their time and energy focusing on problems? Individuals in companies have become so “problem-centric” that they can’t see all of the opportunities around them. It is as if they have been blindfolded.
My advice is straightforward, simple and if applied, will bring immediate results.

1. Awareness
You have to become aware of your current work environment and your vision for the future in order to be able to change your perception. This means being courageous enough to discover the gap.

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What are the desired behaviors that you would like to see? Start simply by observing how managers and employees interact with one another. How do they walk? How do they talk? Do they have good energy or are they dragging their feet? Do they understand how their work affects the person down the line? People often don’t understand how their daily job impacts the overall process and the company as a whole. It is important to be conscious of the people who don’t cooperate because they will utilize lot of your resources. They will need more time, more supervision, more direction, more working capital and more energy. As soon as you come to terms with your own observations, take a note pad and start walking the floor. Interact with your employees and take note what they have to say by asking them this question: “How can things be improved around here?”

2. Self-improvement
Continuous improvement in the manufacturing industry is a must in order to stay competitive in the global market place. Lean Manufacturing utilizes the word Kaizen, which is Japanese for continuous improvement but what about self-improvement? The power of self seems to be overlooked. How can a company possibly believe that they have high quality standards if their employees don’t even know what they themselves are good at or what they stand for? How can they be expected to take responsibility for what they do if they don’t believe in themselves? Everyone in the company has to understand how they individually contribute to the success or failure of the business? Start the self-discovery process with yourself and see where it will take you. Here is another question you can ask your employees: “What one thing can I do better for you?”


3. Respect
Why does it seem to be so difficult to be respectful to one another? Employees will never give their discretionary effort if they are not treated with respect. The great news is that respect is a choice. It’s not an attribute that only a select few have. The choice is yours as to how you will treat the people around you. You can create a lot of change within your immediate circle of influence. Don’t think you have to “develop” a culture of respect. There is a reason why people don’t respect each other. Find it and act on it. If you would like a great starting point, get out of the way and allow people to think for themselves. This is the highest form of respect you can give!

Let’s keep it simple. In the big picture it is the willingness to help each other become better at what we and how we do it without sacrificing ourselves and our values. Once people start speaking and communicating in a more positive and encouraging manner, we will be able to create a completely different energy in our work environments.
Don’t wait another day. Start your engines and go for it!

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