Team building returns rewards. Leaders gain ground in respect. Team members gain ground in confidence. The organization gains ground with increased results, greater capacity, and improved capability.
Boost team by intentional confidence building. Yes, you have that power. Your influence will draw confidence from the well of team member souls. At first, you may meet resentment. An unchallenged associate is an unhappy associate. Imagination and ingenuity get throttled
through pursuit of perfection on policy and procedure and process. Lax up. Give room for confidence building challenges.
“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.” William James, Psychologist
Encourage ownership: A hard look at assignments and processes will reveal areas of evident apathy. Workers have abandoned attempts to master the routine as ownership is robbed. No one takes responsibility for areas everyone owns. Put direct lines of responsibility by assigned team member.
One shop kept loosing critical billing information during a transactional print routine. An unpredictable error was dropping out machine tracking needed for accounting. Lost billing means lost revenue and decreased profitability. An early morning worker had acumen for detailed log work. He was assigned a checkup routine to do during the runs whether he was on that machine or another. Through his ownership and attention, he isolated the technical issue, which was then resolved. He also went the extra mile and began manual log updates to ensure accurate billing during the weeks it took vendor programmers to fix the issue. That young man received a bonus and public recognition. Ownership.
Develop visible accountability: Leaders get specific. You don’t like it when the general memo comes out complaining about a frequently flubbed routine. Everyone is played down over one person’s problem. There needs to be direct and visible accountability.
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” Viktor E. Frankl
Quality suffered in this shop. Finishing staff struggled with print production staff over job handoff. With 200-400 jobs a day running on-demand, there were constant slippage items. Runs were short. Runs were on the wrong stock. Runs had quality shifts from start to end. Finishing teams brought work back for reprint and the due times were missed to customer. A quick and easy scanner checkoff was established that could be tracked to exact time and who was on duty. Slippage lessened. Runs were right count. Quality shifts were resolved at the machine. All it took was having clear and visible accountability to the press operator. Team members put spring back into their step. They now loved competing to see who could do the most with least amount of reruns. Personal pride is amazing.
Require synergy: Don’t ask for synergy. Force it. Mix up work assignments to get team members together on unlikely projects. Put the large format worker in the finishing area helping for a half a day a week. Bring the finishing tech into the print production room for help regularly. Get the creative team on a folder for a few minutes. Why? The power of synergy. When 1 + 1 = 50, you find amazing results. Two finishing operators may come up with a creative solution to a problem. But a finishing operator and a creative, who designs the work and layout, may come up with a completely new product line or streamline an existing line for easier production flow. When that happens, the team energy rises to incredible confidence levels.
Summary: Build confidence in each member and the team with intentional ownership, accountability, and synergy. Stir the pot. Communicate your confidence with visible reliance and trust.
Next blog will emphasize a different feature of high performance teams. Your customers deserve it.
COMMON GROUNDS: These tidbits come out of daily consternations, comments, and concerns of real managers doing what needs done. Executives gain insight.
This article focuses on the Operations level of the operational pyramid.