One area where we can continually improve is communication.
I’ve spent a few days recently on an improvement venture in a plant and I was struck, again, with how important communication is and how important it is to maintain a discipline of sharing information and ideas amongst the team.
As a leader/manager, it is easy to get into the habit of filtering information. I can do it for a couple of reasons:
It doesn’t concern you.
In my experience, leaders err too much on the side of secrecy and privacy because “it’s none of your business.” In recent years, that has shifted a bit. How we do as a business has a direct impact. Jobs, house payments and college tuitions depend on us surviving. I find teammates are vitally interested in how we are doing and what the future holds. Everything about how we succeed and fail is important to share.
People want to know about their local circumstances. They want to know about our circumstances throughout the company.
That’s why I write these notes every day. It may well be I could get better information out, but please know I want to be a better communicator every day. Transparency is a goal I seek through this daily effort.
It doesn’t interest you.
Candidly, we may hold back on information because we don’t want to overload you. But, that puts us in the position of censor and editor. We have to strive to offer increasing transparency so that you can pick what you read and what you want to know. I believe our best vehicle for that is our PalletOne Intranet.
We compile and “store” a great deal of stuff there which would allow you to develop a bigger picture. If you don’t regularly visit it, I recommend it. If you don’t have access to it, discuss it with your plant manager and see what we can arrange.
As a rule, our team is more concerned and more interested than we think. When we are in a position to share more, do so. I’ve learned that if we don’t share our reasons for making the decisions we do, folks left in the dark will create their own story about why things are the way they are. It’s a leadership responsibility to make sure that everyone has the big picture in mind and in focus.