Dec. 21, 2004
Communication can always be improved. I have never yet been to a plant or organization that has not said that communication is an opportunity. It still is in our plant, but we have closed the gap through several methods. After our weekly leadership meeting, the plant manager hand writes a communication to all associates of items discussed. These are posted in the afternoon of the same day in each cell for teams to read. This lets everyone know the key items for this week, who will be visiting the plant, who is going to our customers, any problems we are having, etc. This has been extremely effective in updating everyone. We also found a way to make all screensavers "time out" to a slide show that notes detailed key-events information that is of interest to everyone. Birthday roundtables with leadership team members focus on what is going right, what is not and, finally, what we can do to improve. This has also increased the two-way communication needed to get engagement to achieve our vision. This is followed by a general Q&A session. Quarterly all-associate meetings to discuss key business items that include a Q&A period, combined with our monthly newsletter, also help the communication process. -- Autoliv Steering Wheel/Airbag Facility, Columbia City, Ind.Communicate and recognize. Communication is key in a large organization. It focuses every employee on what is important, where we are and where we are heading. It allows leadership messages to reinforce needed behavior and correct unwanted behavior. Maple Grove uses quarterly updates, communication walls, the Intranet and other more commonly used methods to communicate to the broader organization. At the quarterly updates, awards are presented to individuals and teams that have made key accomplishments. -- Boston Scientific Corp., Maple Grove Operations, Maple Grove, Minn.Communicate. Communicate. Communicate. Communicate as early as possible. Be honest with the people. Hold no "hidden agendas." Communication can be a double-edged sword. It is important to differentiate between when you are passing along information as opposed to asking someone to participate or provide feedback. If you are asking for participation, you need to treat any suggestions/comments seriously or it will quickly stop. While it is not practical to utilize everyone's ideas, it is critical that you give all input reasonable consideration. -- Delphi Corp. -- Delphi Connection Systems', Cortland Precision Molding Center, Cortland, Ohio

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