Many companies start leadership development programs that fade and yield minimal results. CEOs and businesses hold leaders accountable for results vs. training. What is missing from these programs?
New Reality Leadership worked with the leaders of two businesses to improve their training programs and the overall success of their businesses.
For several years the leaders of a business tried to improve product output but had little success. A new leader applied several core leadership approaches, and within seven months, improved production rates 25%.
Another business had a million dollars in waste each month. A technical team worked for a year to solve the problem with no improvement. They learned how to apply several core leadership approaches and eliminated all the waste in four months plus improved the production output.
What did these leaders do? Previously, technical teams worked on the issue without involving the folks making the product. The operators did not know or understand the problems, the opportunities, and how they could help. Leaders did not see operators as a vital part of the solution. The new leaders in these areas engaged the operators and their entire teams in several ways:
- They shared the challenges with them and made them part of the team to solve the issues. Before, operators were “just operators.” Now they were an equal part of the business.
- Leaders translated the complex business challenges into clear language so everyone could understand. They painted a picture of how the needed improvements would value the team and organization.
- Leaders made the business challenges visible to everyone, including operators. They kept score. For the business losing a million dollars a month, they put a whiteboard in their area and had the operators mark the number of good and bad rolls of product as it came off the line and had them calculate the cost of each roll. Everyone could see how much they were making or losing each day.
- Leaders enrolled the frontline for ideas and help in solving the issues. Leaders asked for input and found the genius in those making the product. They discovered that operators if asked and respected, were glad to be part of teams solving problems. They taught everyone problem-solving skills. Operators focused on a few issues at a time, which made significant progress over the next months.
- Leaders improved technical training so operators understood the operation and troubleshooting. Leaders could then empower the frontline to make more decisions autonomously.
In both cases, there was no formal leader program. The leader who increased product by 25% simply engaged his entire team to achieve the business goal. Rather than send his leaders to a “program”, he mentored them with the help of a coach and practical resources to get results using the above approaches.
With the second case of eliminating waste, there was no formal leadership training. The area leaders spent a few hours with a coach and adjusted their approach to achieve amazing results.
Few training programs achieve desired outcomes. Focusing on business improvement and connecting training directly to the improvements yields success. If you are striving for outcomes like these, contact Neil Cordrey with New Reality Leadership, LLC at firstname.lastname@example.org.