Mission Critical Element

Manufacturing operations can be very complex. Especially in situations where performance is low and many changes are in flux. What was being done yesterday isn’t exactly what we are doing today. How we did something yesterday isn’t exactly how we are doing it today. And both may change, yet again, tomorrow. But, the reality is that if we want different results we are going to have to do things differently. We can’t keep doing things the same way we did before. Now, I definitely realize that all of us fully understand this and have probably stated it in some way many times recently.

Leading our teams toward victory requires, at minimum, 3 critical elements: What, How, and Why

In order for us to be successful it is our jobs to communicate:

  1. What needs to be done. What is the mission. And what is the mission within the mission. I think we all understand the overarching mission – For the business to be effective. Within that mission/goal is to deliver product with excellent quality, on time, and under budget. Three different but connected missions/goals within the mission/goal. And if we gave it some thought we can quickly break down each of those missions/goals to the lower level missions/goals that facilitate their accomplishment.
  2. How it needs to be done. Of course this is where our experience and expertise has to be transferred downstream with clarity so that those who will actually execute the actions to accomplish each mission/goal and each sub-mission/goal and so on. This is also where we must engage the team to enable and activate their individual experiences and skills to help the whole be even more effective and achieve the missions/goals more quickly and thoroughly.
  3. WHY it needs to be done. This is perhaps the MOST critical element that makes success possible. Unfortunately, it is also the most often understated and under-communicated element. Often we naturally assume that people understand why. But, unfortunately, it is not a clearly understood why. And many times it is completely mis-understood.
The WHY is vitally important to succeeding. Every day each employee is faced with in-the-moment decisions throughout their shift. They are the little things that doing them drive towards the daily goal and not doing them doesn’t. These little things seem unimportant and insignificant to the person who doesn’t fully understand why. But to the person who does understand why, every little thing gets us just a little bit closer and is very important to accomplishing the goal. It’s the WHY that drives a good employee to do the little extra and not procrastinate. It’s the WHY that makes getting the What done a little quicker and more important.
The WHY for each small change should be easily connected to the overall goal and vision. Each employee needs to be able to connect the every day little things to the bigger picture and it’s the WHY that brings that clarity.
So, in the midst of communicating the what and the how, don’t forget the WHY. As a leader, that’s your responsibility. You have to do whatever is necessary to ensure that your team understands why.
Understanding that a head on collision can seriously injure or even kill me; That why is what makes clicking my seatbelt every time I get in my vehicle simply automatic. It’s a simple menial task. But I can easily connect it to the goal of seeing my family at the end of the day.

Thank You


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