Management and Leadership

Dec. 21, 2004
People need to have a clear vision. They need to know where they are going. Get the leadership team unified and striving to achieve the same vision. Involve all remaining leadership to develop details around this vision, and then communicate it to all associates and get their buy-in to follow the goals resulting. We held meetings with all associates discussing our vision and goals and invited them to follow. A lesson learned was the need to talk with all leadership on a monthly basis and to include time for questions and answers about any subject or concern. We started this about a year later and found it to be very effective. -- Autoliv Steering Wheel/Airbag Facility, Columbia City, Ind.Drive change through leadership. Real organizational change must be driven by the leaders of the organization. This is more than just management support. It must be management-driven. The leaders must review progress and reinforce the needed behaviors, correct unwanted behaviors and reward achievements. -- Boston Scientific Corp., Maple Grove Operations, Maple Grove, Minn.Simple systems done with discipline. Maple Grove's improvement has been based on the integration of several simple business systems and philosophies. Our mantra is "simple systems done with discipline." Our ongoing challenge is to identify and integrate world-class operational excellence practices while creating and maintaining a simple, uncomplicated business. The intent was to create a business system that results in every employee knowing how their hard work drives towards our vision "to be recognized as the best medical device producer in the industry." The challenge is to identify and integrate core business systems that support the vision, without adding complexity or red tape. By keeping the systems simple, every employee can understand what the objectives are and how they contribute to accomplishing those objectives. -- Boston Scientific Corp., Maple Grove Operations, Maple Grove, Minn.Boston Scientific Key Philosophies
  • Identify the future state and drive toward it
  • Empower your people, involve everyone
  • Set stretch goals
  • Lead the change
  • Identify and eliminate constraints
  • Adopt a strategy to "hire future leaders" to ensure a highly talented organization
  • Create a visual workplace
  • Limit duration of pilot projects and drive quickly to whole organizational change
  • Be impatient.
-- Boston Scientific Corp., Maple Grove Operations, Maple Grove, Minn.Set and communicate objectives. We have learned that it is important to communicate goals and requirements that are clearly defined, realistic and achievable. In so doing, it has been our experience that given a certain amount of autonomy, employees will accept and meet the challenges presented to them. Management's operating objectives must include and address the needs of the employees in an effort to guarantee employee buy-in. In other words, where the objectives are sustained growth, profitability and customer satisfaction, this must be communicated to the employee, as being in line with their personal needs, i.e., long-term employment and security. -- Collins & Aikman Corp. -- Guelph Products, Guelph, Ontario, CanadaBeing the best is a vision. "Being the best" is a vision, a target, and an ideal. It is also an attitude that must infect each and every employee, and it must guide what we do and how we do it. At Maple Grove we understand our vision will never be fully achieved.
  • Create a shared vision: Our Strategic Quality Process accomplishes this task with a vision, strategies and values that are visible and easily understood.
  • Align roles and responsibilities to achieve the vision: Organizational design affects the efficiency of the organization. The development of clear functional and team roles enables an efficient, fast organization. Leadership must redesign the organization as the business needs change.
  • Align all activities of the organization to the shared vision: Prioritization is the key to making use of limited resources.
-- Boston Scientific Corp., Maple Grove Operations, Maple Grove, Minn.Aim high. Set goals that are higher than you believe you can achieve, and let your team be creative in how they attack the challenges. Once policies and objectives are established (they must be realistic and attainable), never waiver or compromise. In other words, 'walk the talk.' There will be times when problems arise, and the leader's reaction will set the tone for the future. You must be willing to absorb substantial pain in order to stick to a well-thought-out plan. Once your team realizes that you are completely serious, the entire tone and attitude of the team changes. Compromising during startup is almost impossible to overcome at a later date. On the Cortland project we used a highly talented, cross-functional group to design the facility and production system. The group had worked in the old facility and knew very well what was 'wrong' with the existing production system. They were taken 'off-line' and given the time and freedom to brainstorm and benchmark other operations. This ensured that virtually every aspect of the plant and production system was well planned and fit with the overall goals of the project. Some general guiding principles:
  • Set expectations and goals high.
  • Implement, execute, and hold people accountable.
  • Establish a "true" cross-functional design team.
  • Let those who have lived it, plan it.
  • Let those who plan it, implement it.
  • Celebrate your achievements and successes: "A little bit goes a long way."
  • Continually challenge the organization.
  • Remain open-minded, and don't be afraid to take risks to generate change.
  • Just because it looks good on paper doesn't mean it will work on the floor.
-- Delphi Corp. -- Delphi Connection Systems, Cortland Precision Molding Center, Cortland, OhioAllocate adequate resources. It is important to front-load resources during a startup period and back them out when the plan is implemented. Going into a project without sufficient resources to support it gives the impression that the initiative is not really important enough to pay the price to assure success. -- Delphi Corp. -- Delphi Connection Systems', Cortland Precision Molding Center, Cortland, OhioBe results driven. We are highly results driven. We set clear performance goals, make and document detailed plans to achieve them, create quantitative metrics to assess performance, then focus on execution. We review and communicate progress frequently, and candidly assess whether existing actions are sufficient or alternatives are required. -- General Cable Corp. -- Automotive Products, Altoona, Pa.Integrate IT. Today our shop-floor data collection system is fully integrated into our MRP system; this was not always the case. During the original systems launch there was a manual bridge, which only created an additional opportunity for error. This segmented system launch strategy was driven by a desire to step into system complexity slowly; unfortunately the desire to ease in probably created more work then it avoided. If it were done again, an integrated system would be developed and launched right out of the gate. -- Kautex -- A Textron Co., Lavonia, Ga.

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