Judy Dobles, General Management Consulting


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  • Let’s start by acknowledging that it is really hard work.  At one point in my career I was on a leadership team that was created to transform a manufacturing organization of approximately 1,000 people.  A company officer gave us a pep-talk on what was expected:  you have one year to make this business profitable or else it will be totally shutdown.  Then he went on to say, if you feel you do not have the stomach for it….talk to me after the meeting and you will be reassigned.   The officer made his point – this is going to be really, really hard and the company needs you to be fully engaged to make it happen.

    The first task we set for ourselves was to quantitatively understand what we were aiming for; in other words, our crisp and concise goals.  We then made sure everyone in the organization understood what the organization needed to accomplish.

    Next we reviewed every manufacturing step, along with the financials for each step.  We broke all costs down into discrete elements.  We did not simply say that a roll of photographic paper costs $1000*** to manufacture.  Instead we looked at all elements of cost:  direct labor, indirect labor, staff labor, employee benefits, manufacturing supplies, depreciation, equipment maintenance, travel, utilities, and etc..  In addition, we tracked down external benchmarks.  All this data was used to analyze where the opportunities were in the manufacturing flow.  Transparency was the key in everything we did.  All team members got to see all the data.  In doing so we had the maximum brain-power working to solve the problems.

    In parallel to the work above, we also evaluated the organization structure, decision making processes, skills required to do the work and the overall culture.  We found opportunities to streamline the organization structure, speed decision making and enhance employee skills.  We worked diligently to move decision making closest to the individuals doing the work.  We also found that the culture needed to change from a traditional command and control style of management to an empowered workforce or people-centered style of management.

    With the difference between the As-Is state and the To-Be vision understood, we were able to prioritize our work and implement the needed changes.  In the end we reduced the overall product cost by 25% and improved the quality.  The journey took us one year.

    Significant change is possible when you know where you want to go and the entire workforce is engaged in helping to create and implement the solution.

    Do you have business transformation challenges that you would like to address in your organization?  Give me a call for a complimentary session to review the opportunities in your company.  Look forward to talking with you.  Judy: 585.329.3754

    *** $1000 is not the real cost.  It is used for illustration purposes only

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  • Quote:  “Man’s mind once stretched by a new idea, never regains its’ original dimension.”  Oliver Wendell Holmes

    Throughout my years of coaching and mentoring, a question I am asked frequently is, “How do I get employees to adopt something new, in a lasting way?”

    The secret is ask don’t tell.  If you tell people what to do, the impact is fleeting.  If you ask for an opinion and involve people in the solution you will get two things.  First – the best solution possible since it is based on the ideas of many people.  Second – buy-in to the final solution.

    If you are new to change leadership it is important to remember that not every decision is the result of a democratic vote.  The leader needs to make decisions based on experience and knowledge.  Everyone will not always agree with the outcome, but they will respect the fact that they were involved in the process.

    The more monumental the change, the more effort will be required to garner support for the new direction.  The current way of doing business is familiar and comfortable.  A new way of doing business is unknown and gets people out of their comfort zone.  Adopting the new means abandoning the old; which is very difficult.

    One experience I remember vividly, from the mid 1990’s, is when I assumed responsibility for the travel and expense accounting group.  The accounting system was old and the team was still using CRTs.  The team did not want to use PCs.  I said that the world had moved to PCs and they needed to also.  The team unhappily accepted the training and new PCs.  However, about 7 to 8 months later, one by one they stopped in to see me to say, “Thanks for helping us move to the new technology.  Now that we have been using it, we love it and cannot believe we did not do it sooner.”

    In that example, I did ask but in the end had to implement an idea the team was not keen on.  However, I understood their reluctance, supported them during the transition and in the end it was a win-win situation.

    Do you have an example you want to share?

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