Who’s running your shop?
Roger, shop foreman for a machinery manufacturer in southern Washington, told Session 3 of Turbo’s Leadership Development Lab (LDL):
“In 1977 I was just out of trade school when I got a job with a Portland manufacturer as a production machinist. It was a good job with good pay. I enjoyed it and picked up the routine production system quickly. A few weeks into the job, the leadman came over to me and said, ‘There are only two things you need to know to be successful here - one is that there are unwritten quotas for the parts you are running and you are never to exceed those quotas. The second thing you need to know is that management doesn’t run the shop, the employees do.’ I was dumbfounded. The unwritten ‘quotas’ were so low, I could reach them in 3 to 4 hours. If I tried to go as slow as he wanted me to, it only made the job harder. Management was pushing me to get more parts out and when I went over the unwritten quota, I experienced retaliation. My machines were being sabotaged and the tires on my car were flattened. I was caught in the middle. Now instead of enjoying my job, this made every day miserable. I was always wondering what might come next. It became more and more clear to me every day that the inmates were running the insane asylum. It finally got to the point where I couldn’t continue in the direction it was going. I came into work that day and told the leadman that the only part of the job I liked was setting up machines and making parts. I told him if I could make quality parts faster than his ‘quota,’ I was going to do it. He got mad and said, ‘You do what you need to do,’ and walked off. I knew there was a good chance things would become so h ostile that I would need to quit. To my surprise, things changed that day. The harassment stopped. I still couldn’t get any help or cooperation from a
couldn’t get any help or cooperation from a few of the other machinists, but I really didn’t need it to do my job. It became the good job I thought it was when I was first hired on.
“The lesson I learned from this experience is that sometimes I just need to stand up, speak out and be counted. I need to take a stand for what I believe in, stand up for myself, stand up for what I know is right. The action I call you to take is be the kind of leader who inspires and creates a culture where peers enforce high standards of excellence – high standards of excellence for safety, quality and productivity. The benefit you will gain is the pride that comes from knowing you are helping create an empowered workplace where good people find fulfillment.”
Due to the success of SWCA’s
Leadership Development Lab, is sponsoring a fourth open enrollment Leadership Development Lab in Clark County and a second LDL in Beaverton NOW!
For more info, call us at (503) 625-1867.
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