While bike riding with a group of friends, A. and H. began a heated argument. As I got closer to them I heard it was about a bike riding event that took place many years ago, and they each had a different memory of. Each was convinced their memory was more accurate, and as often happens in such cases, they only listened to each other in order to quickly contradict each other. This wasn’t a dialogue, but two monologues.
Covid-19 changed many things in one fell swoop. One of those is the prohibition on face-to-face meetings. With the meetings we were used to no longer possible, we started using Zoom or similar softwares. School and university lectures, management meetings, consultations, workshops, coaching sessions.
In some companies, working with improvement teams brings quick, clear, and considerable success. On the other hand, in others the work done by improvement teams is accompanied by frustration, and has no quick and clear results. Why? What's the difference?
I drew a big pyramid on the board, with him at the top, below him 8 VPs, and at the bottom 10,000 employees. I asked – how can you guarantee they'll efficiently produce quality products, if they aren’t engaged or invested in company goals?
I write a lot about getting employees invested, about efficiency, improved service, measuring indicators, and precision work with employees and clients. But if, at the same time, you have to lower prices in order to preserve clients in a competitive market, and to supply custom products to every client – you might find yourselves running fast in order to stand still. There's a danger that increased profit as a result of improvements in production will disappear compared to competition in the market, and at best you'll maintain low profit margins.
When the team deals with sales development or debt collection, there is almost no new information on a daily basis, and so there's no need to meet daily. But work on the production floor is continuous and at the very least daily. So there are new developments every day. Should results be analyzed daily? Weekly? Monthly?
I am sometimes asked if I provide organizational consultation regarding management conflicts, and I answer that usually the source of the problem lies in the missing parameters in the allocation of authority, within management, and from there, the situation spreads to the entire organization.
When I was young, I managed the kibbutz field crops section. Meir (not his real name) was one of the main workers, a serious professional. He knew all the tasks and could do any of them equally well. But he didn't want to perform just any task. He chose what he wanted to do and what he didn't, as well as how he performed it.
One of the most popular articles from my blog is one I published last year on coping with employee absenteeism. In the article, I discuss how, 15 years ago, the significantly high rate of employee absenteeism was handled through positive rewards for employees who were never absent, along with interest and concern for the health of anyone at home sick.
In a course I gave to a certain company, some employees mentioned the "lean production" the company was implementing at one of its divisions. Nathan, who works at that division, stated that "actually, all this lean stuff has one hidden agenda. It's directed towards moving maintenance over to the operators, loading them with more tasks than they are already loaded with".
One employee interviewed said that she loved working there. People were nice and she enjoyed working with them. I showed this same employee a photo of the sign over the door and asked her if she recognized it.