Turbo Leadership Systems

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Issue 23 To our clients and friends January 20, 2005
Drill Down to Find the Real Mistakes are Made
Larry W. Dennis, Sr.
Turbo Leadership

Building relationships is the first stage to building quality effectiveness

"I had just taken over the engineering responsibility for our 150D side shifter production a few months earlier when I was called out to the shop floor to look at a production a few months earlier when I was called out to the shop floor to look at a production problem. A 150D unit that I had engineered was at final assembly and there was a problem. The backrest couldn't be added because the holes were drilled too deeply. While I was standing there trying to figure out what I did wrong, the guy who had drilled the holes came over (from the other side of the building). He looked at the unit and said. You didn't adjust for the heavy duty fork bars. That hole depth is supposed to be (and then he stated the correct dimensions, and the correct dept). I was so made because he knew all along that there was an error on the print but he didn't take the time to bring it up to me and say, I think we have a problem. He just blindly followed my print even though he knew it was wrong. Did he want me to fail, us to fail? Was he trying to prove something? Was he mad that a woman he come up through the ranks and because an engineer?

The lesson I learned from this experience is to do the best job I can of building relationships with everyone on the floor especially those who manufacture the products I design.

We need each other. I need their help, I need their support. We can't operate as if we live in different worlds, work for different companies and be successful. I learned that have to earn the respect and support of the team member who manufactured what I design.

The action I call you is to take the imitative in building strong relations with everyone on your team, especially those upstream who provide with information of material and those downstream who are your customers. Who are your partners in the creation of what you produce to create value for your external customers.

The benefit you will gain is greater ease in your daily life. You will go your job done easier, faster, and get it done right the first time. You eliminate the cost and frustration rework."

The action of the machinist in this story borders on sabotage and is completely inexcusable. Yet, if you over-react, you run the risk of creating a situation where people potentially will do what he did and not admit they knew better, so your job as an empowering leader is to be proactive building relationships, creating open doors of communication, relationship and understanding.