Tag Archives: Emotional

How Do You Improve Internal Processes and Procedures? Five Approaches

Situation: A CEO’s company has experienced margin erosion due to designs that did not transfer well to manufacturing, and inefficiencies in the transfer process between design and manufacturing engineering. He wants to transform the culture without losing technical performance while meeting cost targets and delivery timelines. How do you improve internal processes and procedures?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • Reinventing the culture of a workforce is an organizational design challenge.
    • The heart of the challenge is understanding the motivations and desires of the individuals involved – particularly the natural leaders within the groups.
    • Learn this is by speaking with them one-on-one, either as the CEO, or through individuals with whom they will be open and trusting.
    • Once their emotional drivers are understood, design accountability and incentive solutions that will align their personal reliability and accountability drivers with their emotional drivers.
  • Tailor the language of communication with the organization so that it responds to the emotional triggers discovered during the 1-on-1s. For example, if there is a negative reaction to sales within the engineering teams, use a different term like client development.
  • Expose the designers to the “hot seat” that gets created when their designs produce manufacturing challenges. The objective is for the designer to see the manufacturing group as their “customer.”
    • Involve manufacturing engineering in design architecture meetings. Do this early in the process so that they can communicate the framework and constraints under which manufacturing occurs and suggest options that will ease manufacturability.
  • Shift from individual to team recognition on projects. Instead of recognizing the contributions of the design component or the manufacturing component, recognize the contributions of the team of design and manufacturing engineers that produced a project on time, on budget, with good early reliability.
  • To kick off the new process:
    • Identify some of the waste targets.
    • Involve individuals who are known to be early adopters.
    • Have them look at the problem, develop and implement a solution.
    • Deliver ample recognition/rewards to these individuals.
    • Next use these people to mentor the next level of 2nd

How Do You Have a Fierce Conversation? Six Factors

Situation: A valuable tool for CEOs is Susan Scott’s book Fierce Conversations. This includes challenging conversations with staff. Scott characterizes Fierce Conversations as being robust, intense, strong, powerful and passionate. These are the traits that a leader must bring to challenging conversations instead of avoiding them. How do you have a fierce conversation?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • The first step is to master the courage to interrogate reality. This means confronting the difference between “ground truth” or reality and official truth or what we or others wish to believe. There is often a difference between the truth that we want others to see and reality. Jim Collins calls this confronting the brutal facts of our situation without losing faith in our ability to deal with it.
  • Be here, prepared to be nowhere else. The conversation must be your only point of focus when you are having it. Choose a location where you won’t be interrupted or distracted. Don’t allow yourself to be distracted by texts, phone calls or anything else.
  • Tackle your toughest challenge today – you gain little by putting it off for another day. Prioritize your challenges, and tackle the most difficult ones first. Handling these will make the most difference.
  • Obey your instincts – but remember that instincts are subjective and must be verified through reality checks. Trust your gut, but verify it objectively with evidence.
  • Take responsibility for your emotional wake – what he or she will remember after the conversation. Keep the focus on factors that the other party can control, and offer to assist. But be sensitive to how you deliver the message and how the other party responds. Don’t leave more of a mess than you had before the conversation.
  • Harness the power of silence – silence slows a conversation and increases your chances of making it meaningful.