Build a bench, everyone is strong
Josée, Quality Assurance Supervisor for a paper mill in northern Ontario, Canada, told Session 9B of the Leadership Development Lab:
"A few weeks ago, my superintendent asked who did my job when I am away. The answer was, 'No one. I have always managed to make sure I only leave for one week at a time and that everything, all of my supervisory duties are completed in advance before I go.' He then asked, 'Well, good for you, and what if you want more than one week, or you get sick, or are hit by the proverbial truck?' 'Good point', I thought. Maybe it would be wise to train one of the engineers in my department on the 'must do's' of my job, such as payroll time entry and scheduling.
About a week and a half later, I sat down with my fellow engineer who I knew could capably do the job with the right training. I took this training opportunity to use Turbo's 3-step Training Model. First I showed him on the computer a few examples of time entry, all the while explaining each step as I entered the steps of the process. Then I asked him to sit down at the computer and do a few entries as I coached him on each step as he went along. Third, he finished an entry on his own while he explained to me each of the steps he was taking. The entire process only took about half an hour 30 minutes! Now I am free to take a 2- week vacation if I want to. More importantly, our operation isn't as vulnerable.
The lesson I learned from this experience is that I need to let go of some of my tasks. I'm not the only one who can do it right, and that when I do let go of some of my
work, I need to be sure and provide the thorough training needed to ensure everyone's success. Knowing how to successfully train someone to perform a new job has given me the confidence to let go more freely.
The action I call you to take is train someone on the tasks that have to be done if you're not there, the ones that only you can do.
The benefit you will gain is you will have peace of mind when you are away and you won't have as much catching up to do when you get back. You will make a great contribution to the creation of a learning organization that will sustain your gains."
And what is the rest of the story? The #5 machine in this mill is running at an average production rate of almost 390 tons per day compared to 337 tons per day the previous twelve months. Soft skills, exercised with courage and confidence, something as simple as empowering team members with a little more training, broadening job capabilities so everyone can do a little more can help create amazing bottom line results.