Blog Article Written By: Ray Attiyah, Chief Innovation Officer
Obstacle #2: Personal Beliefs
Our personal beliefs have a profound, often subconscious, impact on our behaviors and attitudes. This outward manifestation of our internal biases can affect our communication at work without us even realizing it. Think about how your beliefs affect your attitudes at work. What drives that behavior? For front-line leaders and middle managers, these biases can take away from the effectiveness of the company’s operations and growth opportunities.
A good example of this comes from one of our good friends, Mark Hartings, the Plant Manager at PDi Communications in Springboro, Ohio. PDi is a growing company that produces adjustable television arms and consoles for a variety of industries including healthcare and fitness. Just six months ago, Hartings realized that despite his best intentions, he was a bottleneck for the company. The reason for this lay deep within his belief system.
As Plant Manager, Hartings believed that everything had to go through him for it to be done correctly. In addition to the overseeing of plant production, he took on the company’s scheduling responsibilities. There were only so many things he could handle at once. This caused him tremendous stress and had a devastating effect on on-time delivery.
In mid-2010, we partnered with PDi and worked with Hartings to show him how to let his supervisors take responsibility for much of the work he kept for himself.. With fewer operational tasks, Hartings was able to spend more of his him implementing lean improvements he had be taught. By the end of the year, the front-line’s acceptance of responsibility and continuous display of accountability allowed Hartings to do something he hadn’t done in his thirty years at the company: he took every one of his vacation days. Under his new belief system, Hartings was no longer worried that the operations would be in disarray without him there.
At the beginning of the year, Hartings believed his people couldn’t handle the operations on their own. At the end of the year, Hartings had complete confidence in his team and was making a more valuable contribution by focusing on the continuous improvement efforts of the company. It took some time to build that trust, but once he saw results such as an increase in on-time delivery from 30% to 84%, a lead time reduction from four weeks to four days and a productivity increase (as measured by televisions produced per hour) of 24%, he had the confidence to let the front-line leaders handle the operations. .
So why don’t you spend some time today analyzing what you are working on and how you are communicating? Ask yourself what biases and beliefs are present that could be holding your company back from achieving its full potential. It all starts with your personal beliefs. Do you believe you can do a better job? Do you believe that your company can improve in 2011 like the team at PDi Communications did in 2010?