By Karin Lindner, founder of Karico Performance Solutions
How easy would it be for you to define the cause of success? Well, I guess first we would have to define what success is, and obviously success means different things to different people. At this point I will leave it up to you to discover your own definition of success.
One of the things that I have noticed in the corporate world is that everyone is constantly searching for causes of failure, so I have to ask myself, why isn’t anyone searching for the causes of success?
It all comes down to mindset. Unfortunately, we are conditioned to look for the negative rather than the positive. If we evaluate why something didn’t work out, it gives us a chance to complain. On the other hand, it would come as a surprise to most people if you were to ask them to please share the causes of their success with the group.
There are, of course, companies out there who are consciously on a journey to success, but they are the minority.
A mindset of targets, profits, numbers, and facts is the norm in most workplaces, and most leaders seem to forget that in order to get the numbers, they have to have their people on board. Many people in manufacturing have a very analytical and logical mind, and it is in their nature to require proof in order to believe that something is possible.
Don’t get me wrong, facts are important -- as long as they don’t dominate the workplace and don’t destroy people’s desire to make things happen. In my opinion, FACTS can stand for “Fear And Complacency Threaten Success”. Sometimes we refuse to believe things we don’t understand, but this is also how we create our own limitations.
Just think about Henry Ford when he decided that he wanted to build his now famous V-8 engine. He worked against the odds, and all the experts told him that it was impossible. Henry Ford’s formal education was limited, but who can say that only book-smart people are smart people?
Ford’s desire, his strong will, and his persistence helped him to succeed even when people told him countless times that it could not be done. That’s exactly the mindset we have to develop, and we have to teach this mindset to the people we work with.
Recently, I facilitated a workshop for a group of shop floor employees. It continues to amaze me what is possible when you show a sincere interest in a person and not only listen, but hear what he or she has to say. It is all about genuinely paying attention to their challenges and concerns and finding out the real reasons for their frustration because that’s when the energy in the room starts to shift.
The same applies on the shop floor, and that’s what you want. You want the energy to shift and to be able to develop a success-oriented mindset within yourself and your team.
Why don’t we think that the pursuit of perfection is everyone’s job? Why have we settled for mediocrity? Why are we trying to secure the right answers instead of pursuing the right questions? How do you think your bottom line is impacted when your employees are negative, frustrated, and stressed?
If you want to succeed, do not label people and do not give them the feeling that they are inferior, stupid, and offer no value just because they work on the factory floor. They are the cause for success because that’s where the money is made. These are the people who have to ensure that a quality product leaves the door; these are the people who give 100 percent if you don’t take their self worth away; these are the people who are the specialists in what they do and can offer incredible assistance and support in the area of continuous improvement and innovation.
Unfortunately, most shop floor employees are still seen as bodies and not as minds. My shocking observation is that most employees are not used to using their brain. And what’s even worse is that they are actually not allowed to use their brain. Isn’t it our responsibility to teach them and to help them look at their job with different eyes?
How do you view your workforce?
If you want to explore the cause of success, go to your people, talk to them, build trust, and listen to what they have to say. It is the secret recipe for success to make them a part of your success.
Karin Lindner is the founder of Karico Performance Solutions (www.karicosolutions.com), a company specializing in employee engagement and motivation in the manufacturing sector. Besides writing a book entitled "How Can We Make Manufacturing Sexy?", Lindner is in the process of creating a Youth Award to encourage high school students to come up with new ways and ideas to make manufacturing in North America more attractive. For more information, she can be reached at (647) 401-5274 or firstname.lastname@example.org.