Greetings from Lawton, OK from a former red leg.
I'm not yet a manager though my chances are very good in the next 18 months to become one.
I've listened to several dozen of your podcasts and I know your recommendations are for 90% of people, 90% of the time.
Being that I work at the Goodyear plant in Lawton, I often times wonder whether or not a FLS at the lawton plant would fall into the 90% or the 10%. For instance, The average frontline has 25 directs. My boss has 48. and they are all mobile. on fork trucks and tow trucks. It really is foolish to think one man can effectively manage 48 people. and everyone would think I was a fool if I vocalized support for such an idea… but I'll meet you 1/2 way on that one and just be quiet about it.
I am currently a belt expeditor, scheduling, and coordinating the production of steel radial belts and their delivery to the tire machines where they are used in building tires. I am a quarterback! and a new one at that. I have 0 role power. And whatever expertise power I have is only what is perceived by my operators and my truckers, and that varies. because I am new in the role, and because, there are expeditors on other crews and the one whose position I am taking did not, and do not do the best job I'm having to work extra hard to build trust with the people I depend on. I say I am a quarterback because I am expected to lead the entire time, but I have no authority over them, I can't write anyone up or reprimand any one. Yet if they drop the ball, it still counts against me as an incomplete as it were. and all I can do is "whine" to the "coach" or the Front Line Supervisor. So your talks on Relationship power are priceless to me, I've listened to those as often as I've listened to the others. I rely on other people to do their job and if they don't it is seen by management as me not doing my job!
But that really wasn't what I was interested in. 3 things have me occupied at the moment.
1. Given than Most front lines have so many directs would it be worth having one on ones once a month. that would be about 30 minutes a day with a direct. I don't know what to do if I get a FLS position in the trucking department. even once a month that would be an hour a day. if we only got together once a month!
2. What about the policies of the company getting in the way of being forgiving? the policy of the plant provides that there are certain offenses that demand an immediate write up. a recent incident involving one of my operators comes to mind. He ran a belt with the wrong specs, and it got delivered to the tire room. The error was caught by the tire builder so it wasn't used, but it could have produced upwards of 1,000 tires being scrapped, and the belts he ran were able to be resized to another code, but there was still probably 100lbs of scrap. This individual isn't a top performer, but his attitude is great! he skips breaks to get his numbers and he is the hardest working member on the team. His boss didn't write him up… going against policy. and that is what worries me about management…. Should I do the "right" thing and seeing that there was little harm done, he is a top worker (though not performer) give him a pass? or do the "right" thing and follow policy? an associate can only get so many write ups before they are fired. 1 today, one 5 months from now, one 11 months and 29 days from now, and one 2 years from yesterday and you could be fired… His boss said because he could hide this one he would and that he might not be able to hide the next one.
3. there are all kinds of political or interpersonal relationship situations that arise at the plant that you haven't covered. for instance your own bosses counterpart on another shift… FLS in other departments in which you might work overtime. can you be friends with them? Or what happens when a skip wants to be friends. your own skip or the skip in another department?! I would hate to be seen as turning down a mentoring session on the golf course!
It is amazing how transparent and open the politics are at the plant after listening to you guys. there are camps wide out in the open. when you hire on you pretty much hitch your wagon to a team… I signed on to team Bobby, and Bobby is doing really well, getting promotions and opportunities on special assignments. And thus I have more opportunities than I would have gotten had I signed on with team Monte, who isn't doing so well.
You've also opened my eyes to the concept of retention. You want to keep the best help on your team and keep them from transferring to different crews or different departments. Now that I see that, I realize the good managers have good teams and the bad managers have all new hires! and as soon as they can bid to another job they do!
Y'all have been a tremendous help and encouragement and I probably wouldn't even be pursuing a management position if it weren't for y'all.
I've been a toolhead ever since I found out about y'all. Keep up the good work but remember not everyone works 7-3 monday though friday. We call those people "day-walkers" at the plant.