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Action: Institute comprehensive strategies, processes, and measurements that focus on having employees be ardently committed to getting continuous cost reductions, and those reductions will far outpace ones achieved through re-engineering. Productivity: Clearly, productivity isn't about doing things simply faster but also better. To speed up and be more productive, employees must slow down, reconsider their situation, reevaluate their education and training, then take new action. Only employees who have a strong emotional commitment to their jobs do well in that sequence of actions.
Lesson: Fifteen minutes before shift change, a machine starts to break down. The motivated operator will stay with that machine until its fixed or he will at least get a repair process under way. On other hand, less-than-motivated operator will punch out and let next shift operator take care of problem. Incidents like these are common and cost countless billions of dollars in lost productivity.
Action: Develop operational systems that are woven into very driving force of productivity: heartfelt convictions of rank-and-file.
Efficiency: Businesses cannot compete well simply by selling what they make. Instead, they have to make what they sell. Which means that operations must be closely connected to sell, customer. And because customer needs change rapidly, operations must change with them or risk making inefficiency an institution.
Lesson: Efficiency begins in one place: with small-unit leadership, leadership of supervisors and front-line managers. In trying to realize operating efficiencies, top leaders often get jammed up in small-unit leader meat-grinders. Top leaders can usually persuade their direct reports to participate in changes needed to make efficiencies happen.
However, far more important task is to persuade small-unit leaders to champion those changes. Small-unit leaders, who don't buy-in, can and will make mincemeat of any operational program.
Action: Get small-unit leaders to champion your changes at beginning of change process to insure that those changes take root.
In summary: When driving cost-reductions, productivity and efficiency, avoid re-engineering reflex of ringing doorbells by rolling up cannons. Instead, roll out simple, precise strategies tied to heartfelt needs of skilled employees — then let them get big results.
============================= 2005 © The Filson Leadership Group, Inc. All rights reserved. =============================
The author of 23 books, Brent Filson's recent books are, THE LEADERSHIP TALK: THE GREATEST LEADERSHIP TOOL and 101 WAYS TO GIVE GREAT LEADERSHIP TALKS. He has worked with thousands of leaders worldwide during the past 20 years helping them achieve sizable increases in hard, measured results. Sign up for his free leadership e-zine and get a free guide, "49 Ways To Turn Action Into Results," at www.actionleadership.com