In the past, when I managed Osem-Nestle’s factory in Yokne’am, we often had improvement teams working with internal leaders. For four years, we had a yearly workshop teaching employees how to lead improvements teams. The woman leading these workshops then led and managed the improvement teams, and coached the leaders. After four years, we transitioned to doing that internally as well.
Our event focused on changing the production department and increasing efficiency. The team led a radical change in the department, including opening a wall which separated the two parts of the production space. On the third day, Osnat, one of the team members, burst into tears and couldn’t continue. She went home and returned to work only after a week of sick-leave.
In it they could see how, at the end of the work day on Thursday, at three in the afternoon, the door to one of the departments was left open. Actually, it wasn’t a door, but a wide gate, made of two metal doors. Its width is about three meters, its height about four meters.
About a year ago I started working with a medium-sized company, about 200 employees, and a shift-supervisor listed as CEO a consultant who would come to the site once a week. I asked what job the actual CEO did, and he said he had no idea.
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?
We often used the term motivation, but do we always mean the same thing? Last week I gave a talk in two classes in the School of Economics & Business Administration at the Ruppin Academic Center, as part of Dr. Adi Loria ("Select Issues in Management MBA"). The topic was "The Relationship between Management Methods and Employee Motivation".
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.
I asked the Swiss manager how he addressed the situation. He shrugged and said "There's nothing you can do. An employee who gets up in the morning and doesn't feel like going to work just goes to his doctor and says he has stomach or back pains. What can the doctor say?"
We may often be faced with a specific problem, a breakdown. The breakdown may be in production, in purchasing, in sales or in any other realm. Our first goal is to resolve the problem: to find the reason, to come up with a solution and to carry on.
You know that saying that a lot of CEO's repeat, "My door is always open to my employees" ? When I was a CEO, I, too, thought my door was always open to my employees, but was that really true? Not necessarily.