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Grasping your lost potential

15-Jul-2004

Despite the huge pressures on manufacturers I am amazed at the lost potential that exists in our UK factories. As an external trainer and facilitator supporting people to make change happen, I am in a privileged position. I do not have to lead the teams that appear in constant turmoil due to the dictates of retailers and the vagaries of the English weather.

I get a huge buzz out of helping people to that 'light bulb moment' when they can see a better way of doing things; their enthusiasm and pride as they recognise that they can actually make a difference. The buzz is greatest when the organisation also recognises the need to take collective action.

To take your team to the next level of world class manufacturing requires a look beyond a set of tools and a dig into 'lost potential' from a people perspective. The very best world class initiatives employ a few well-used tools and loads of attitude that really taps into the spirit of 'ordinary' people.

An operator perspective

As an operator, I will do things differently if:

I am asked for my opinion on an issue and I have a say in the solution

I get feedback on the result

I am given time to do it

I receive the necessary training and support.

A leader perspective

As a leader, the key to this will be to develop a team with the following attributes:

A desire to challenge and improve

A real interest in performance

Visible leadership and decent teamwork

Consistent use of data to check understanding and target improvement effort

Team-based working and geographic improvement zone ownership

Focus and enthusiasm

Ability to take action and be accountable

Dedicated improvement time.

The first three of the above are non-optional attributes; you must give an absolute commitment to allow them the time to make it happen. Without this there is a real risk of the changes not being sustainable.

Andy Spooner Director, Suiko-WCS http://www.suiko.co.uk

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