Leadership and ChangeBy: Joe Rodriguez
During a recent Improvement Project, we were struggling to make any significant progress in a certain area of the plant. Suddenly, the manager at that time left the company and a new manager Don, took over the operation. Interestingly, Don had expressed a great deal of negativity at the very beginning of the plant wide initiative; using statements such as "weíve tried it already, it hasnít worked." After a few weeks in his new assignment, Don showed his commitment to change, and his employees placed their trust in him. The project quickly resumed its momentum; the sudden difference being the level of faith the employees had in Don and his authority.
To move an organization to change we depend on mobilizing the knowledge of the workers to align it with the goals of the enterprise and in the relationships created determining the ability to work together. This ability is dependent in Trust and in Commitment.
Don was consistent, caring and competent. He had worked in other areas of the plant and had, over 20 years acquired a reputation for being trustworthy in the eyes of management and workers. He showed he cared by looking into employee suggestions and implementing them. He showed he knew the products, the machinery and that he had become a Lean Manufacturing convert. In short, he took a group of disgruntled employees and made them into a team. He achieved this by dealing with the social aspects of the work environment as well as showing them the direction and the need to change by adopting Lean Manufacturing.
Don followed the following principles:
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