“NO UNATTENDED EXECUTIVES”, or “CAUTION EXECUTIVES AT PLAY”.
Both are appropriate after last week. On Wednesday afternoon I worked on the shop floor. Yes, Me the one that have always said they don’t know how to make a spring, ventured onto the shop floor and made a spring. A real spring! It was round, had little coils and sprung back when you compressed it. A SPRING! I MADE IT!
That is somewhat true. I left out the part about one of our top coilers standing next to me telling me to push that and turn the other all the way through. Still, I pushed it and I turned it and I made a spring. Pretty exciting! Of course I left and went back to my office before the springs hit Quality Assurance but none the less, I made a spring.
So what enticed me to wander out on the production floor and actually get my hands dirty? Actually, it is something I have been talking about for several months but my new knees haven’t been up to it. I am assigning myself a familiarization job rotation. I plan on spending one afternoon a week in different departments across the shop.
No. I have no intentions on becoming a coiler or grinder or work in shipping. We have several, exceptionally qualified people already doing that. I will never reach their abilities, they are the experts. So what purpose is their in my spending time working in their departments?
This “job rotation” will provide me first hand knowledge. When team members explain something happening in the shop I will be better able to visualize what they are talking about. I will learn some of their frustrations and obstacles they encounter. As I stand in their shoes, I will gain a deeper appreciation of their individual contributions. That alone would be enough to justify this but their is so much more.
There is value in bringing in someone without first hand knowledge of a process. They will question everything and have no preconceived ideas. In bringing in a novice, the experienced teachers are oftened asked questions that challenge their process and force them to look at alternatives. It is the possible, the teachers, through explaining what they do in detail will realize wastes in the process and find better techniques. The greatest understanding comes from teaching ones that understand little. It forces you to put into words exactly what you do and examine it for its purpose.
The other value to this exercise is in morale building. Actions always speak loader than words. When I talk about how important team members are to me it is merely words. When I take the time to show them, through my actions it has meaning. Me, taking the time to understand a small piece of their job puts my money where my mouth is. When I take time out of my day in an attempt to better understand their job, they see I really do care. It means something when a vice president ask you to teach them. It conveys to them that you do not think you know everything and that they have real value in the organization.
The final benefit is seeing the sphere from the inside. My job requires me to stand outside the processes and look down. I look at everything from a distance and see how each individual piece interacts with the whole. By stepping into the process and seeing it at close up of individual actions I will increase my understanding of. It will also allow me to see it from their eyes, close up and personal. This understanding will allow me to make better decisions when I look at it from afar.
So have I justified my actions? Have I laid on enough of my B.S. to convince you this is a great idea that will benefit the company? Are you telling yourself that this is a great idea that needs to happen at your company? If so I can give you the real reason for it.
“I GET TO PLAY WITH ALOT OF REALLY FUN TOYS AND GET MY HANDS DIRTY!”
Caution, Executives at Play!