I personally think this is one of the things that gets lost in the shuffle today and causes a lot of the polarization of opinions we see. What I’m talking about here is we need to take the time to hear what the other person is saying and try to understand, from there perspective, why they are saying what they’re saying.
This understanding in no way has to imply or state that because you can interpret what they’re saying, that you agree or support what they are saying. It does say though that you have taken the time and made the effort to analyze the assumptions being made, the logical connections being made, why they’re saying what they’re saying and you’ve considered the impacts of the opposite party’s belief. Doing this analysis again does not say you accept their position but it does force you to fully examine and consider another position to your own so that when you make a choice, you are making a fully informed choice. You may in fact, by having fully examined another position from your own, brought to light issues you hadn’t thought of that adds to the final decision
What good leadership needs to do here is come up with no more than 3-4 measurements that everyone can understand, understand easily, and tie everyone together. Make sure they support the company’s overall goals, and second, make sure they don’t conflict with other measurements. (We shouldn’t be telling our purchasing agent to never run out and never have more than 30 days worth of inventory if the lead time for the item is 16 weeks)
I like the following as measurements everyone can understand and support.
Are we making money?
Are we keeping promises to our customers?
Are we doing new things to secure our future?
Everyone can understand these and everyone can look at their job and connect something they do to one of the three above. In addition, they are just vague enough to allow us flexibility in dealing with individual situations that arise out of the norm.
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Chuck Nemer is a trainer/consultant with 40 years of experience in Supply Chain Management, Lean, Leadership, and APICS. He currently works with approximately 50 universities and 3000 students annually in supporting the use and play of the simulations in the classroom. Within those 40 years, he has taught, and continues to teach, professional certification classes for APICS, professional development seminars and programs on his own, and on behalf of colleges in their outreach programs to local and regional manufacturing firms.
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