Be alert to every crosstraining opportunity
Tom, operations supervisor for a hardwood lumber mill in northern Pennsylvania, told Session 7 of the Leadership Development Lab:
"In the earlier part of spring this past year it became very apparent that I needed to have a backup head sawyer! My primary head sawyer / relief operator had just returned from a workman's compensation case and was limited to four hours a day in the head saw. This has turned into a permanent four hours a day maximum since then. We had a good candidate available in our head filer. We had just given him a fulltime helper as a fitter. The problem with four hours a day in the head saw meant I lost my lead man for the remaining four hours of the day. For the past two months we allowed our head filer to go in the head rig at break time and saw at his own pace. Over the 60 days his skill set has become almost 100%. We have used him recently in a full-time capacity and he has maintained an 87%+ production rate.
The lesson I learned from this experience is that I have a rich resource pool right here in our company. To tap this reserve potential resource, I must be flexible and innovative in how I provide opportunities for training. The action I call you to take is trust your people, believe in their innate abilities, provide them with training, learning and growth experiences, and let
them prove you right.
The benefit you will gain is an empowered crew of bright, capable people who are able to get their job done regardless of circumstances. You will be prepared for the unexpected."
One of the 36 questions on Turbo's Cultural Benchmark Survey (CBS [Employee Opinion Survey]) is "Our training equips us all to succeed". This question consistently scores in the lowest 20% of answers. I continue to ask, "Why would you ask people to perform a task who do not feel adequately trained to do the job or who feel they must work side by side with people who have not been trained for their job?" You can rationalize this any way you choose to and it will come back to a lack of commitment to excellence, a disrespect for your associates, and a lack of ability to prioritize, organize and execute a complex plan.
So how would your team, your department, your company's employees answer this question? Want to find out? Ask them if you like, but they will not tell you. You must have a neutral, unbiased third party do the asking if you want honest answers. Call or click on the link below to learn more about Turbo Leadership Systems' CBS process.