I’ve visited two small plants in the last week. Our Douglas, GA plant is a new location to us. It is recycling pallets gathered from the growing distribution sector in South Georgia. The other is Waterloo, WI which is a plant newly re-purposed to handle industrial byproducts from throughout the Midwest.
Both visits were a “breath of fresh air.” Why?
The teams were small – less than 10 people. There is a camaraderie that exists among small teams. They are each for each other. There’s no place to hide. Folks have to learn a variety of tasks. They have to pitch in to help with whatever comes up. There’s no such attitude as “that’s not my job.”
They have a pioneer attitude. There’s no certain way to do things. There’s no burden of “we’ve always done it this way.” There’s an atmosphere of continual learning that keeps things interesting.
They have a “founder’s pride.” They are earning a check, but they are energized with the idea of starting something new. Setting new records. Being satisfied with each new milepost past.
The newness of the setting helps to create that “engaged” environment. But it’s possible to create a “freshness” in every environment we have.
We can build small units where individuals care for each other. We can endeavor to set new records and better ways. We can be satisfied with every new environment.
My visit to Douglas and Waterloo reminds me that we all need to resist the drift into “the same ‘ol, same ‘ol”. It’s more fun as a pioneer.