In the manufacturing industry, management performance is an increasingly hot topic. Entrepreneurs in the manufacturing world now require their Department Managers to effectively lead so that they can work on their business, not in their business. To remain competitive, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) need to continually improve efficiency and effectiveness, and that can’t be done without the right management team in place. An article from Beth Miller of Entrepreneur.com, 7 Caustic Management Behaviors to Avoid, outlines the red flags to look for when evaluating manager performance. At Fusion, we have developed a company culture of communication and respect that eliminates these problems before they begin. Essential elements of our culture that foster successful working relationships are:
Rhythm. One of the first caustic behaviors that Miller cautions against is having irregular meetings. Fusion combats this by subscribing to Verne Harnish’s mantra, “Routine sets you free”. Every morning at 8:07am, Fusion holds a Company-wide Daily Huddle. The Daily Huddle is a meeting in which all employees gather to prepare for the day’s work. In addition to Daily Huddle, we also conduct Weekly Meetings and Monthly Meetings. These regular meetings enable all employees to have real time access to the current state of the company, the progress we’ve made toward our goals and other updates that take place in our fast growing organization.
Communication. Miller then writes about the dangers of dismissing the opinions and ideas of others. She warns, “Over time, people will stop sharing their ideas, and innovation will shut down”. A cornerstone of our company culture at Fusion is open and honest communication. Performance feedback to employees is objective, supportive, and delivered with respect. Specific examples of jobs well done provide clarity and help the employee focus on future improvements. Conversely, it is essential that employees feel comfortable sharing their observations and experiences. Department Managers have a responsibility to listen and include this feedback into future plans.
Appreciation. Employees want to feel successful and that they are making a valuable contribution. As Miller states, displaying arrogance shows a disrespect for others, so at Fusion we work hard to connect the dots from employee performance to company objectives. In order to accomplish this goal, we developed the ECI Program, a monthly check-in between employees and their Department Managers. Ongoing feedback is crucial to our success as a contract manufacturer and has helped both our recruitment and retention efforts. The ECI Program reinforces individual opportunities for improvement and how they fit into our Painted Picture. Regularly tracking progress also provides the opportunity to recognize and reward employees for performance and exceptional effort, contributing to both job satisfaction and productivity.
Support. Not delegating effectively is the last caustic behavior that Miller described, citing fear of the results as the biggest driver. She writes, “reluctance to delegate is often driven by fear: a fear they’ll lose control, lose their reputation as the “expert,” or have to face the unknown”. Managing the performance of another individual requires many skills, including how to: understand human behavior, inspire, develop, listen, provide coaching and deal with conflicts. At Fusion, Department Managers are given the tools and resources to ensure they are prepared to effectively complete all the tasks related to leading a high-performing team. As a result, they are empowered observers able to assess a situation, provide encouragement and identify potential issues that might affect employee performance.
Forward thinking companies like Fusion are implementing innovative solutions that ensure processes deliver results and improve management performance. Our Management Team is evaluated according to their performance as leaders, and that requires not subscribing to the caustic management behaviors listed on Entrepreneur.com. A healthy work environment has kept us competitive and prepared for scaling the business according to customer demand.