Sunday, March 15, 2015

Hello 2nd & 3rd Shift

"I'm not sure you know me, maybe we haven't yet met. I work in the company when everyone else is out to dinner, at Little League games or sleeping. I've been with the company for 7 years. I exchange pleasantries with the folks who punch out when I show up, and I've gotten to know some of the people who punch in after me. I can see by many of the changes around here that we are doing LEAN. (I guess that is a code word for belt tightening). I can't really tell you that I fully appreciate the improvements...changes to my job, but thanks! I can also tell by the employee of the month posters on the bulletin board that the people who work on days are like rock stars. Just last week, one change Frank in Shipping was applauded for the improvements in deploying front-end mindshare. Suzy from accounting was named employee of the month last month for her work in reducing time in facilitating leading edge portals. By golly, she even got to park in the front row this month for that! Let's not forget all the fanfare when Harry and his team were able to eliminate so much waste in recontextualized interactive solutions. I'm surprised they didn't rename the company for him on that one...but someone said he got a check, one guy said he got 10 grand, someone else told me it was a week's pay, I know he got something. I wonder what everyone would say if they ever knew about the time Pete and I completely saved one of our biggest accounts by envisioneering the viral infrastructures. Did anyone even notice? Or last year, when we would have been shut down, but Doris, Driftwood and I were able to completely improve (on our own) target ubiquitous action-items, and save the day (I mean night). Did I even get a thank you? An attaboy? Why bother? If a tree falls in the forest and nobody is around to hear it......From now on, I come, punch in, do my work and go home. PERIOD. Every once in a while, we get invited to some training on first shift.....ever see a possum during the day? That's how I feel, tired, grumpy and ready to go home. It sure would be nice to go to the Bar & Grill down the street with the big group of 1st shifters to celebrate someone's retirement or promotion or whatever once in a while."

Editors Note. It is so easy to forget that the energy and effort we invest in developing out people and partners (P2) needs to happen on the off shifts also. It is entirely possible that an entirely different culture (aka morale) exists there. Here are 3 quick things to keep in mind-they need to be thought of as someone's standard work.
1. Development and Learning-If you are doing kaizen activity, what percentage is being done on the off shifts? If you use A3 to do kaizen, how many are being completed by 2nd or 3rd shift people? Are your A3 closings always at high noon every week? Can you have some of them at the shift change (they don't take that long). In this day of technology, can you make video of the closings and show them on your monitors when the 2nd and 3rd shift shows up?  For that matter, the videos can be shown with a phone.....make it a goal to keep everyone in the loop. Make sure that 2nd and 3rd shift people are on some improvement teams, and the 20 minute A3 meetings are at the shift change. Several of my customers are doing this and it works well.
2. Go to GEMBA-there is no substitute for showing up, asking questions and showing respect. This is where the real standard work kicks in. Make sure that your senior leaders and managers regularly show up. It is amazing the number of times I hear an off-shift person complain that they never see "management", or "THEY don't care about us". If you do A3 to do steady kaizen, go to the board, pick a project that is being done by someone on an off shift, and ask them to show you what they are doing. NOTHING demonstrates importance or respect like that! 
3. Gratitude-if you can improve #1 and #2, it puts you in a position to do this one. All of us like to feel like our contribution matters. Some might argue that the satisfaction of knowing you are valued and contributing is more powerful than a monetary reward. When you show up, you really see first hand the brainpower at work on the company's behalf. I have heard a manager say "their paycheck is their thank you." I just shake my head and think there is nothing better than looking someone in the eye and saying, "thank you, we are such a strong company because of you!" (bring pizza once in a while too).

This is one of the reasons lean is HARD, not easy. Develop your People and Partners means EVERYONE.

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