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Trainees Change Their Tune


My organization has been providing some lean manufacturing and soft skills training to a group of supervisors of a company. Last week we took a different approach where we asked the participants to name their biggest concerns. The clear leading issue was "ownership" where people did not like having someone else point out their mistakes and people did not finish things well. The plant manager said that he had been talking to them about ownership for weeks. They even claimed that they rework 50% of their production and were three weeks behind.

We followed up yesterday focusing on ownership where you can ask bad questions internally and interpersonally or constructive questions. We used an analogy of home ownership with its rights and responsibility. The managers said that they cooperate with each other and are glad when another manager points out errors/ shortcomings because it is easier to correct them before the go to the customer. The plant manager did not attend yesterday's meeting.

What are your thoughts as to saying one thing when the plant manager is present and something opposite that when he is away?

How would you suggest determining what is really occurring?

What training and exercises would you suggest in this kind of situation?

Thanks for your input.

One Response

  1. Absence of trust, fear of conflict etc….

    Hi there, this could be almost anything; as mentioned in the title it could be lack of Trust or fear of conflict or almost anything really.  It could just be that each party's understanding of the situation is different.

    In terms of training etc it may be worth doing some work around Patrick Lencioni's 5 dysfunctions of a team; maybe getting the group to complete questionnaire's.  The only caveat with that is that without anyone asking for it; they may wonder why you are doing it and not really buy into it.

    I would have thought that there would have to be some moment of truth amongst the group where they realise things need to improve or they may not recognise that they need to do some work on improving things.  That probably means that you need to give them some feedback that suggests that they could improve things and getting their buy-in to explore this area further.

    Hope that helps and good luck.

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