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World Class Manufacturing

Increase the effectiveness of your
Lean Manufacturing Program

Manufacturing Simulation Game 

Teamwork Development
Part 1 of 3


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Lean Manufacturing, Basics, Principles, Techniques

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The purpose of this program is to discuss teambuilding and the elusive quality of empathy. We will use interactive exercises to help develop, as one participant said, "astute observational skills and sensitivity to personal characteristics."

The program starts with an overview of the skill sets that an indi­vidual must have to work as a member or leader of a team. Next we proceed to an interactive exercise that will heighten one's awareness of others and how to motivate people to participate more in the team. This program is sometimes called the Apple Game. Our plan is to have a group from the audience "play" the game even if we have a large crowd. However, we will pass out instructions about how to play the game so people can take the program back to their company.

Next we shall proceed into an interactive exercise, where all the at­tendees can participate, that will point out the importance of cultivating good listening skills. Again we will be able to pass out handouts that allow people to apply the exercise to their own situation. We round out the discussion with the concept of goal alignment and examples of how this powerful concept of building teamwork has worked for others.

GROWING TEAMWORK SKILLS

Someone once said that "leaders are not born, they are made." Well, I believe that about teams also. None of us are born with the gift of how to work together as a team. In fact we are taught all of our educational lives that it is individual performance that counts. However, when we begin to work in a company that must compete in the business world today, it is paramount the we work effectively with others.

So it is important for each and every one of us to cultivate the con­cepts of teamwork and how to work effectively with others. One very good way to experience this need is to practice being a leader of a team. Each of us must at one time or another act the role of the leader of the team, and that helps us to become a more effective member of the team.

The purpose of this presentation and paper is to cultivate those skills that will help each of us become a more effective leader and team mem­ber. Dwight Eisenhower once said that leadership was to "get others to do something because they want to do it." I believe that a team is founded upon that very same principle. We want to engage people and draw them to do something because they want to do it. Another has said that we want to inspire the people to feel passionately about what they do.

There are three skills that must be cultivated in order to carry out the tall order of working effectively in teams. They are leadership skills, people skills, and management skills.

Not only do we need these skills in our personal tool box, but the secret to success is to be able to integrate or, as 1 call it, "blend" these skills all together into a fabric. This fabric forms the environment in which we operate. It is similar to the concept of what makes a product a really world-class product. It is not any one feature; rather it is the blending of all the features that allow the customer (user) to achieve value from that product. It is the same with our teamwork skills—we must blend them together.

Management skills include all those concepts that we learn in vari­ous operations management and APICS courses. We need to establish plans on several levels such as strategic, tactical, and operational. Here is where we take the goals of the organization and turn them into ac­tions that must be taken to achieve those goals. Also we need to have a spirit of excellence that is forever trying to get better, sometimes called continuous improvement.

People skills, on the other hand, include all those attributes that we usually refer to as "soft" skills. Here is motivation, communication, and developing people to their fullest. Hence we must be aware of skill development and how people have a tendency to work towards achiev­ing their own individual goals.

That brings us to leadership skills. Here is where we must have the vision to see where the organization is going—not just a single vision, but an understanding of what is possible and how we will get there. Others have said that a leader will engage the people to actively work towards an articulated vision of the future. This aspect of teambuilding is where pride, vision, and the skills of the people come together into what I call "goal alignment." In order for us to be able to exert that leadership with our team, it is necessary that we have the concept known as empathy.

To Be Continued


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