I’d like to re-iterate a very important, but often overlooked aspect of “Team Building”, “Moral Improvement”, and positive mindset within a business place, group, team, and even a family.
Yesterday I had the privilege to be involved in a day of physical experimentation with a manufacturing client of mine. This was the first day of any actual experimentation, following a few weeks of much research, discussions within the management team, as well as true feedback from their customers regarding the product we are striving to improve.
To step back abit…. this product has been dwindling in sales because a competitors product performs better in one important aspect. Significant sales have been lost over the last 18 months to this competing product. Our project is to improve my client’s product so it can perform comparably, if not better than their competitors product… while keeping costing and overall sell price under control. No easy task. But it can and will be accomplished, one small documented step at a time.
Our experiments performed yesterday were a very large step in the right direction….. but “why”, and “how so”?
While I have been doing research over the past many weeks for this project and interacting with my client’s employees out on the shop floor, the usual and expected mindset seemed to be present. The employees out on the shop floor thought I was crazy, management was wasting time, etc. Really….. How could I, could their management team know better when it comes to producing this product in question. Guess what…. I don’t, we don’t. BUT, we all MUST be successful in this project or sales will slip further and the people that actually manufacture this said product will be out of a job. That was and is the harsh reality. It’s always important to have employees like this understand the reality and purpose. Then at that point…. INVOLVE THEM by asking for some ideas, feedback and suggestions. This was done over the last few weeks and gradually I and the management team didn’t seem so crazy. Our team was beginning to unite to the common goal.
Starting off these experiments yesterday had the expected and usual comments like, “this won’t work” or “how are we going to deal with this?” Human nature causes any of us to be unsure and even fearful once our normal/standard procedure is not followed. As the experimentation began, negative aspects were pointed out almost in a “see, I told you so” manner.
But, step forward a couple hours…. the experimentation is beginning to have some positive results. This is the exact time where you interact, praise, congratulate and celebrate with these same employees. Their excitement was simply un-disguisable. We all pushed forward excitedly and positively. Many additional “what if we try this?”, statements came from these same employees. Why….because everyone was working together toward the common goal and we were starting to see some rewards for our efforts.
We still have many days of further research and experiments to make even greater improvements so our end product will reach the objectives slated for it. This product must be competitive, if not better than the other product. In closing, yes…. I am very confident that the product we are all working on to improve WILL be successful. Sales will be re-gained and hopefully even improved further. This is the direct, tangible positive outcome of this project that my client will see. And this will be awesome…..project will be deemed successful.
But, what is even more valuable will be the intangible/indirect “bonus result” if you will. And that is…. the unitedness of their team, the drive to improve even further, and the probability of even inventing an entirely new product that is needed in the market place. Everyone’s ideas need to be heard. To have some employees, team members, family members too scared and unwilling to speak forth ideas and perspectives will be devastating to the business or group in time. Build confidence in people around you and you will automatically be building a better business, group or family.