Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Improving performance: who has all the ideas?

Some years ago, while being shown round a car manufacturing plant, I was told a story about the importance of workforce involvement. Part of the plant had to shut down for a refurbishment which meant that one car model had to use the paint shop normally used for another model. The manager in charge was prevailed upon by a company improvement facilitator to have a meeting with the staff involved to plan what needed to be done. The manager was unconvinced that he had anything more to discuss but dutifully went along with the idea.

The meeting was held.  The staff came forward with several ideas which the manager publicly noted but inwardly was ticking off all the ideas that he had already had. "What a waste of time", he thought. Right at the end, one person who had said nothing until then asked about what would happen with the estate models.

The manager paused and realised that was an issue he had not considered. The rest of the meeting was spent resolving what to do. From that day, that manager was convinced of the value of staff involvement.

How convinced are you?

How do you put your belief into action?

Or is this just a trite story with no relevance to the complex challenges you face as a manager..?

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