Go to any plant and ask a manager or supervisor how they are doing, and you will no doubt hear they are busy. Everyone is busy and there is likely no getting away from that fact.
The real question is what we are doing with all that “busyness”.
I have used the phrase many times: “Don’t confuse activity with achievement”. As leaders, we are not in these positions to just be active and work long hours. We are not here to see who can be involved in the most activities and appear the “busiest”. We are here to accomplish….and accomplish through others.
Here’s a set of questions to evaluate how you are doing with activity versus accomplishment:
Do you find yourself trying to quickly knock out those two safety observations per day so you can move on to something else, or do you think through where you are most concerned about your people and go to that area and observe behavior.
Do you find yourself getting through a safety observation and moving on quickly to another task, or do you stop and make meaningful contact with the individual you just observed (MOHI)
Do you find yourself looking over safety training materials right before the class, reading the slides to your group, and quickly getting through the material to get back to “making boxes”, or do you prepare for the training class in advance, ask many open ended questions to facilitate discussion, and validate understanding through more questions?
When performing a safety incident investigation, do you quickly go through the basic questions with few people involved and get to the first idea of corrective action, or do you dig into the “why’s” of what happened, talk to several people, and jointly develop a well thought out corrective action?
When addressing a customer complaint, do you take a quick look at the item and make a quick judgment as to cause and convey that we will do a better job of inspection, or do you review the item with the machine crews and dig into the “why’s “ of what happened and the “how’s” of permanent corrective action?
When working on waste reduction, do you find yourself talking about getting better in the same areas month after month, or do you engage production and maintenance personnel and jointly identify and implement lasting change
When trying to improve machine productivity and uptime, do you find yourself constantly addressing crew performance, dealing with machine issues, and fighting operating downtime, or do you engage employees in clarifying key processes and standard procedures, enlist CI professional assistance on problem machines, and work with maintenance personnel to address quality and reliability issues to permanent resolution
I think you get the picture. Many of us are really busy chasing the same items month after month. Are we really accomplishing anything? I know it’s not that easy, but it is something we all need to take a look at. Are you adding value with your time at work or just getting through the day?
Don’t confuse activity with achievement.