Tag Archive: mentor

NOW is the Time to Invest in Employees

January 13th, 2020

Are you investing in your employees? If you have employees who want to do a good job but who don’t have the tools and skills to accomplish this goal, you’ll end up with frustrated employees who are not engaged. What percentage of your employees do you think are in this position? In our client experience, 70% of employees fall in this category!

Frustrated and not actively engaged employees do not deliver results. Not only are you wasting incredible talent, but you have unhappy employees to boot. There are countless statistics that tell us the dramatic impact of unhappy employees. According to a SHRM article, highly engaged employees were 5 times less likely to have a safety incident. In a separate example, increased employee engagement at Caterpillar saved the company millions in decreased attrition, absenteeism and overtime. It is certainly noteworthy!

According to our featured interview with the EVP of Operations at Fender Guitar, investing in employees in all seasons is key to success. Listen to our interview and how many of the core takeaways relate to investing in employees. It should give us pause to re-think our focus on all sorts of programs that don’t seem to deliver results. Instead, we should focus on our employees.

So, what are some ways we can invest in employees? Here are a few we’ve seen to deliver exceptional value:

  1. Gratitude – A simple thank you can go a long way!
  2. Specific feedback – Although all managers seem to fear providing feedback, the best employees value constructive feedback as well as genuine and specific positive feedback.
  3. Assign a mentor – This can bring meaningful and profound change and results. People learn by watching examples and trying new ideas with immediate feedback. That is what mentoring is all about when done well!
  4. Training programs – Building skills and gaining fundamental concepts are the essential building blocks of success. For example, for supply chain and operations professionals, the Association for Supply Chain Management’s APICS certificiations are best in class.
  5. Special programs for the “best of the best” – Instead of investing in our under performing employees by default, why not take the proactive approach and put together a special program with special experiences and training opportunities for your stars?
  6. Opportunities to try new approaches – One of the most important pieces to invest in employees is to allow employees to try new ideas. We must expect failure in our quest for success. Thus, it will require an investment of time, resources and potentially resolving the consequences of failures along the way.
  7. Celebrate success – Lastly, we should celebrate progress and success. As obvious as this seems, it isn’t commonplace.

Investing in employees is the best way to future-proof your manufacturing and supply chain. In fact, it is also the best way to future-proof your technology road map. Perhaps it is time to re-think your approach to investing in employees AND automation. These are not separate concepts as robots and autonomous vehicles will not work separately from human capital and talent. The most successful executives understand that the secret to success is how to invest strategically into both.

If you’d like an assessment of where you should invest (time, resources, money) to maximize your employee engagement and your business value, contact us if you’d like to assess your situation.

Did you like this article?  Continue reading on this topic:

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Global Consultants & The Value of Diversity

December 23rd, 2018

 

When I was in Australia recently week for a meeting with my global consulting strategy group, it hit home that there is power in diversity.  We represent 4 countries (Australia, Japan, U.S. and Canada), a diverse group of company types (from tiny to Fortune 100 businesses ranging from manufacturing to healthcare to nonprofit/government), a diverse group of specialties (strategy, innovation, organizational change, financial performance etc.) and more.  Diverse viewpoints definitely add value!

I joined the group around 3 years ago. At the time, I was the only woman (although another joined shortly after), and our mentor said he thought I’d add a unique value for that reason in addition to others.  I didn’t see his point until I was the only woman for a brief period of time, and it turned out he was right! I also have received significant value from the group members who have the least in common with me – a fresh perspective can go a long way!  Along the way, I’ve noticed that some of the best feedback comes from unlikely sources. Have you sought out diversity, even when it isn’t comfortable?

One tip to implement this week:
Let’s start by thinking about the groups and people we interact with on a monthly basis.  Are we hanging out with people who are just like us? For example, there is a member of my group who does practically the same thing as I do, just in Australia.  He is easy to talk to (of course), and he adds a unique value because he understands my questions/ concerns but if the group was full of these people, I imagine I would have received only 20% of the value to date.  

It is easy for us to become comfortable with people like us and not seek out diverse, sometimes scary opinions from others.  For example, I remember when one group member pushed back on my comments, and I truly didn’t agree at the time but when I listened to the session again in the car a few months later, I realized he was right.  I just wasn’t understanding and/or ready to think about it at the time. How many of these have you ignored, thinking you were right?

Although I see great value in the global nature of my group, it isn’t because I focus on having a global practice (although part of my practice focuses on international global corporations).  Instead, it simply brings a diverse viewpoint – even if I worked 100% in my hometown and never strayed (as one of our members does in a small Australian town), I’d get huge value from thinking differently.  He has no desire to move beyond his hometown yet he said our group is one of his most important priorities.

Don’t think about diversity in the light they talk about on the news. How many Fox News and CNN people listen to both programs?  Actually, I’ve heard more Australians who tell me they listen to both to understand than I’ve heard Americans. Instead, why not embrace that next person you think “on, no!  I don’t want him/her in my group” and see what happens and whether you gain a diverse perspective. I’ll bet 80% of the time, you’ll feel better off in the long run. And, remember, one bad apple (the 20%) doesn’t make a trend.

 



Women in Supply Chain (and Why Men Should Care)

August 22nd, 2017

Supply Chain BriefingWhether you’re a man or woman, if you are in the end-to-end supply chain, you should be thinking about women in supply chain. We’re facing a serious skills gap in the next several years in manufacturing and supply chain circles. Although women make up 47% of the labor force, they compose only 27% of the manufacturing workforce. Thus, logic dictates that if we can raise that percentage, we’ll cover much of our skills gap!

I spoke on “Women in Supply Chain” at the western district conference for APICS (#1 supply chain management association) this weekend. I also am a mentor for Women in Supply Chain at the Drucker School of Management. Since I have been the sole woman in a leadership role in manufacturing circles frequently throughout my career, I don’t even notice it. However, we should pay attention.

Women in Supply Chain

Talking about “Women in Supply Chain” at the Western District Conference for APICS

What Should We Consider and/or What Impacts Could Arise?

There is no doubt that we should be concerned about the impending skills gap.  Almost every client tells me that they do not have the skills  they need in certain areas of their manufacturing/ supply chain.  And, this issue is not improving – as baby boomers retire, knowledge leaves with them.  Technologies are constantly improving, requiring higher skill levels in every respect – which is also driving the skills gap.  We are in process of researching the current skills gap.  Please provide your feedback with this short survey.

The great news is that there are many people thinking about this topic.  The Drucker School and Toyota created the Women in Supply Chain mentoring program.  APICS, the Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte created STEP Ahead.  Harvey Mudd College, the #1 school for engineering attracts an enrollment of at least 50% women.  The attendees at my speech last weekend for the western district of APICS was 50% women.  And the list goes on.

So, what can we do?  Mentor young women in supply chain.  Find ways to volunteer your time, educate and be involved with the women in your company.  Perhaps think about how you see them and make a conscious effort to encourage them to grow, invite their colleagues and friends to join the supply chain field.  And, by all means, do NOT ignore the men.  We need to grow our skills base dramatically to meet the demands of the next century.



New Survey Says Manufacturing Key to American Prosperity

May 17th, 2017

According to a survey by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute, more than three quarters of Americans surveyed believe the U.S. should invest in the manufacturing industry. Nice to see what I see on a daily basis come to life and gain momentum! Specifically, more than 80% see manufacturing as vital to America’s livelihood, 76% believe the U.S. needs a more strategic approach to developing its manufacturing base and 90% believe industry jobs will require a higher level of technical skill.

manufacturing

Interestingly, the overall public ranked manufacturing 3rd, just after technology development centers and health care facilities, in terms of the country’s leading sectors for job creation. The bottom line is that manufacturing is “in”! Are you thinking about how to leverage this opportunity?

What Should We Consider and/or What Impacts Could Arise?

Manufacturing is riding a popularity wave. While Americans are seeing its relevance, there will be more interest, investment and education in the sector. Take stock of your professional career and of your company’s position. What can you do to get ahead of the curve so that you’ll be ready for opportunities?

For example, from a career perspective, what is your ideal job? Do you have the skills, experiences and behaviors required to move up the ladder? There will be vast opportunity with manufacturing’s popularity, which will be heightened as baby boomers retire. Sign you and your team up for relevant classes. For example, APICS Inland Empire has several classes in manufacturing processes. Become a mentor and simultaneously find a mentor. I find being a Drucker Women in Supply Chain mentor, a Pomona College mentor and an APICS student case competition chair and mentor rewarding, and I learn just as much as my mentees. On the other side, I wouldn’t be nearly as successful without my consulting mentor and business mentors. There is no better way to learn than from someone who has “been there, and done that”.

From a company perspective, shore up your skills, resources, processes, technologies and the like so that you are the ideal source for new business. Tailor your approach to the most likely opportunities. Do you have capacity availability to jump on opportunities? Think strategically about what will arise down-the-line and put your company in a proactive position purposefully. Think about your supply chain partners and include them in your plans.

 



Vision Backed by BIG Goals and Leadership

October 4th, 2016

SAP CEO Bill McDermott talked much more than just about data. One of his most compelling stories related to turning around Xerox’s lowest performing division and ending the year as #1. Who says success isn’t derived from leadership has his/her head buried in the sand.

The keys Bill described were quite simple: 1) Listen. 2) Provide the vision and goals. 3) Lead.

We believe this proves the premise behind our newsletter, Profit through People — people are any organization’s #1 assets! Do you treat your people like assets? Or costs?

Bill said that the people at this division were quite disgruntled and specifically upset because the cost cutter that preceded him took away their Christmas party. So, he listened to what they requested — for him to communicate clearly what he wanted and for him to give them their party back.

The next day he stood before them and told them that he had booked the best place in town for the party, and he gave them his vision for the future. He accompanied that with the BIG goal of going from last place to 1st place by the end of the year. And then he supported them — and LED.

Guess which division ended the year in 1st place? Theirs!

As my HR mentor used to say, leadership will make or break success. Bill proved this theory. Will you?

 

Did you like this article? Continue reading on how to strengthen your Eagle Eye:

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