Hearing the phrase “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it’ always gives me a reason for pause. Too often it’s the beginning of MBC (Management By Charts) which many employees are accustomed. Lean practitioners everywhere will tell you charts are valuable but rarely convey the true picture. For instance how do you measure loyalty, job satisfaction, ethics and values?
I know there are qualitative research models that can extract quantitative values that can be charted showing a trend. However this is lagging data and typically requires further study and interpretation. I prefer the stand by water cooler method; it’s real-time, cheap and not censored. Talking to real people can be frightening but also enlightening.
Toyota has it right with the expression “We build people not cars”. Managers become teachers developing exceptional people. Let me repeat this developing exceptional people!
Too often organizations primary efforts go into mining for exceptional talent from the outside. Searching for talent in College and Universities is customary and should continue however ignoring talent in your own organization is ludicrous. Where is the chart that reflects a stagnating workforce unable to reach potential due to organizational constraints? Leadership is not a plug and play proposition every employee top down requires development.
Oftentimes an employee doesn’t even recognize their own potential. Once they obtain the perceived organizational ceiling most cease to develop both personally and professionally. Think of this in sports terms do coaches allow players to ever believe they have peaked in their performance, of course not. Even we Cub fans believe the coaches will find a way to win it all! On that note congratulations to the Jack Robinson West little league the new United States Champion!
That is the passion needed in the workforce, not written in a handbook but felt and shared throughout the organization!
For example one becomes an expert at welding possibly suggest they could learn more about metallurgy. A Senior Engineer could take a finance class; Customer Service Representative could study a second language! Motivate individuals to learn the science or business surrounding their job not for professional reward but personal development!
I believe organizational culture is truly derived from the ability to lead, teach and guide organically. If you’re always searching for supermen but cannot develop them internally you’re in trouble.
Let me pose this thought provoking question; How far could Bill Gates or Steve Jobs (neither finished college) been able to progress in your organization? Be honest do your exceptional employees get frustrated and quit, are identified and developed or give up and coast.
Tell us your thoughts solutions or stories. Remember in Lean it’s the journey not the destination that makes us grow!