Daily with HQ

Notes from PalletOne CEO Howe Wallace

PalletOne CEO Howe Wallace writes a daily note to the company’s 1,000+ manufacturing employees with the goal of keeping teammates informed, connected, engaged and motivated. These notes contain ideas and observations to help teammates address the challenges they face in the workplace and serve as a forum for establishing the company’s culture and values. A selection of these notes is shared here.

Learn more about PalletOne, the nation’s largest new pallet manufacturer.




Thanks for Your Efforts to Improve

It’s hard to believe that March is here already.

I’ve visited a number of plants so far this year and I notice one consistent trend: our people are fighting incredibly hard to help us to succeed.

Every place I go, folks are trying out a variety of strategies to correct hassles that have plagued us for awhile as well as new problems that crop up daily. They are putting aside old methods to try new ones.

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Posted in: Improvement, Lean, Motivation

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What Does “Fair” Look Like?

I mentioned recently in an HQ Note that a pillar of a great place to work is whether associates believe they are treated fairly.

I was reflecting about fairness. What does “fair” look like?

“Fair” listens. It seeks to understand before reacting. Frequently, someone complaining about unfair treatment is frustrated because his version of the truth of the matter remains untold.

“Fair” is predictable. People don’t like surprises. We create a predictable workplace when we endeavor to clarify expectations,

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Posted in: Communication, Leadership

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Learn from Shortfalls Instead of Making Excuses

“I never knew a man who was good at making excuses who was good at anything else.” – Benjamin Franklin

When things turn out in a way we don’t desire, it’s important to study what happened, determine what we have learned and make a plan to get better.

People who make excuses tend to get stuck. Making excuses usually involves pointing a finger at someone or something as the reason for the shortfall.

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Posted in: Improvement

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Treating Each Other Fairly and With Respect

We have more than 1,200 teammates in our company.

As CEO, it is my honor to lead our approach to how we treat each other as we serve our customers. Here are some thoughts I hold close.

As we interact with others daily, I would hope that every person would be able to say that they were treated with respect and they were treated fairly.

Certainly, those of us in leadership positions have the greatest responsibilities in this area.

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Posted in: Communication, Leadership, Teamwork

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Making a Good Process Better

A “lean” parable:

I go to airports a lot.

Some folks like to get to the airport early. I don’t.

My goal is to get there as early as necessary. No sooner. I think it’s “lean” not to spend extra time in airports.

I’ve gotten my routine down. It works well for me. I got a good place to park. I dress the right way not to trigger alarms.

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Posted in: Improvement, Lean

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Four Characteristics of a Good Coworker

A woman named Ashley Hoffman recently suggested four traits that would cause you to be “loved” on the job.

Generosity. Would your colleagues describe you as generous? Are you free with words of encouragement? Do you readily help someone who is struggling in some fashion? Are you quick with a smile or laugh? Will you go out of your way? Are your teammates glad to see you coming? That’s what generosity in the workplace looks like to me.

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Posted in: Teamwork

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Leaders Should Know When to Follow

Tom Izzo is the coach of the Michigan State Spartans basketball team. He has led the Spartans to 6 of the last 13 Final Fours in the NCAA tournament. He is a future Hall of Famer when it comes to basketball.

This weekend the Spartans upset third ranked Ohio State in a Big 10 matchup. In the post game interview, Izzo described “listening to his team” as one of the keys to victory.

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Posted in: Communication, Leadership, Teamwork

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Understanding and Adjusting to Those We Encounter

Lyle Lovett is a country performer. I would call him a singer but it’s the poetry of his songs that sets him apart.

I was reading an account of an interview. He said this:

“I got into a significant scrape with a bull of mine. My leg was broken. Really, it’s a miracle I can walk. That bull was just doing what he does naturally. I learned to keep my guard up and allow him to be himself.

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Posted in: Communication, Leadership

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Pressure is Something You Feel When You’re Unprepared

I was impressed with the manner and the substance through which Eli Manning led his team to a Super Bowl victory on Sunday.

Eli just plays. His interviews are bland. He credits his teammates, his owners, everyone else. In a game where quarterbacks are valued for swagger, he is low on the swagger index.

His teammates say you can’t faze him. Whether winning or losing, he just plays the next play.

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Posted in: Leadership, Motivation

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Patriots Coaches Teach Players to Win

In honor of our colleagues in Livermore Falls, Maine who are eaten up with all things New England, I will be rooting for the Patriots in the Super Bowl Sunday.

Bill Belichick is the coach of the Patriots. He is on television a lot this week as the game is upon us. Belichick is among the most successful coaches in NFL history. He is not a flashy coach with a lot of PR pizzazz.

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Posted in: Leadership

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