Who Will Solve the Problem?

Karyn was in the conference room when I arrived. We only had ten minutes to talk, so right to the point. “What have you decided that you would say?” I asked. Last Saturday, there was a shouting match that ended poorly. Karyn did not want a repeat performance. At the same time, she wanted the…

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Escalating Emotions

“I didn’t mean to raise my voice, but I guess things just escalated.” Karyn described this latest blowup with one of her team members. “I am only her supervisor on the weekend, so I feel a little helpless. Her weekday supervisor lets her get away with leaving early. I talked to Rick about it. He…

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Service System Capacity

From the Ask Tom mailbag – Related to Integration is a Fancy Word. The illustrative example described an imbalance of systems in a manufacturing model, where there is a build-up of finished goods inventory (unsold). Question: Can you provide an example of an anemic sales function in a service industry. What would you get instead…

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Integration is a Fancy Word – Part III

The purpose of system and sub-system integration is not to get rid of our silos, but to integrate them together. The second issue in this integration has to do with individual system capacity and total system throughput. As organizations grow, there is constant pressure on efficiency (lean, six sigma, MUDA), but as the internal systems…

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Integration is a Fancy Word – Part II

Even small organizations assemble systems and sub-systems, and face the same system integration issues as large organizations. Remember, this is not an exercise to eliminate silos, but to integrate them together. The first integration issue has to do with work as it travels sideways through the organization, from one function to the next – marketing…

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Integration is a Fancy Word – Part I

Each level in Elliott’s level-of-work schema corresponds to a macro organizational function. S-I corresponds to production work, timespan 1 day to 3 months. S-II corresponds to supervisory work, to make sure production gets done, timespan 3 to 12 months. S-III corresponds to system work (single serial system), timespan 1-2 years. S-IV corresponds to system integration…

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Critical for Growth

Nicole was still stymied over our discussion about the role of the supervisor. “But if I am not actively working on the line with everyone else, I don’t feel like I accomplished anything at the end of the day.” “Nicole, let’s talk about the value-add of the supervisor. While your team members do the production…

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Make Improvement Easy

Nicole had the numbers posted. She was still working side by side with the team, helping on the line, but at least the numbers were posted. “But, we didn’t make our goal,” Nicole shook her head. “That’s why I was afraid to write the numbers on the white board, before.” I ignored her body language….

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The Weeds Part of “In the Weeds”

Nicole was complaining. Her department was behind. She worked 10-12 hours per day and could never seem to get ahead. She thought her boss should appreciate her efforts and hard work, but instead, she got quite the opposite. He was disappointed in her performance and intended to follow-up on her numbers every two weeks instead…

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