This week I am continuing our discussion of providing employees with more information… understandable information, that contributes to ratcheting up some emotional reaction to business performance. A friend of mine once said, “communication is not about information, but rather inspiration”, as it applies to organizations. In that context, last week I discussed dollarizing the dumpster. This week, I want to describe $50 bills lying on the floor.
How many folks, myself included, would walk by a $5 bill lying on the ground and not stop to pick it up? Very few. Why? It has value to us.
Why then do so many employees have little if any connection to the goods or services they produce/provide or to the costs they consume? And, as a consequence, unknowing “walk by” millions of dollars of opportunity every year in your business? Usually because the value is unknown to them… therefore… value-less, and they probably don’t participate anyway. We refer to this as an emotional vacuum.
The story I am about to share with you can be applied to almost any business. Several years ago, I was taking a plant tour of a machining company in New England. As I walked up to a particular machine center I notice more then a few parts lying scattered on the floor. I picked one up and asked the operator what it was. He looked at his computer screen and recited the part number. I said no, what is it really? He didn’t know. I asked, “what’s it worth”? He didn’t know that either. Off to the office I went to find out.
A few minutes later, I was back at the machine. I told the operator, he was making parts that were going into braking systems on Boeing Aircraft. I hoped he was making good one. I would be on a Boeing Aircraft later that evening! And, by the way, this little part was worth about $50 dollars. His entire countenance changed. That bit of information changed his whole paradigm. What had been part # XYZ on the floor was now very important, tangible, and worth 50 dollars. I am sure he told his wife that night that he was making aircraft parts, not just stuff. Not just information, but rather inspiration.
Think about what it might do to an entire organization if employees knew the “customer story”, the value of what was produced or provided, and the value of what was being consumed? And, if this information was frequent and universal?
Now, think about how employees might be engaged if they financially participated in improving those variables… real time… every month. I can tell you that when properly done, the results can be truly remarkable. That is what we have been helping clients do for 25 years. I will share some how to’s in coming posts.