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My Aisles Cultural Adjustment Continues

my next step of cultural adjustment journey through the implementation of my three rules;

  • Don't put anything in my aisles and I own all of the aisles

  • Don't be late to any of my meetings

  • Meet your dates, that you get to establish and a reminder that the day ends at midnight

It seemed simple enough, the team loved to store everything and anything in the aisles in order to have more space within their designated work areas to work. Heaven forbid, should they consider getting better organized.


Every morning when I arrived at the plant I enjoyed my walk through the plant. It was time to contemplate, plan and do a Situation Appraisal. But my walk was like navigating an obstacle course ... so of course I stopped and had people get stuff out of MY aisles. They of course begrudgingly complied. Soon, they knew when I was entering the plant and like mice they quickly scurried to get stuff out of the aisle until my walk was completed, then of course back it came. So, I did the inevitable I slowly increased the number of times I walked the plant and the more frequently I conducted those walks my aisles were always clear. Soon the folks got tired of moving stuff into and out of the aisles, and guess what? Their work areas slowly became more organized. My journey of workplace organization had started.



Now we still had many challenges, primarily our internal quality was running around 16,000PPM, just simply beyond horrible. We decided to introduce Morning Market, trained every single employee with some Problem Solving Methods and made time daily to focus on Problem Solving, after 1 year we reduced our Internal Quality to around 300PPM, An awesome improvement.


We had around 80 employees and our cafeteria was disgusting I mean horrible, dingy, dirty and disgraceful, it definitely did not portray appreciation of our team. I managed to find 5 thousand dollars to enhance the cafeteria. I put the challenge to our employees to see what they could do to improve our lunch space, with a clear understanding the area could not contain any company propaganda or legal postings ... and here the results ...

  • Leo negotiated to purchase some ceramic tiles at Home Depot from a Customer Return for 10% of the original purchase price (around 2,000 square feet).

  • Leo had his son lay the tile on a Saturday for $50.00 and a case of beer.

  • Gord found me 2 fridges with front opening sliding glass doors for a couple of hundred dollars from a local Pepsi Distributor.

  • Don, Took all of our tables and chairs and re-painted them in our paint shop

  • Karen and Debbie recruited some of the team and made new curtains and table covers for our cafeteria.

  • Uwe, found some really cool and heavily discounted light fixtures which maintenance installed.

  • I cannot remember who, but someone found a pool table for our entertainment.

  • The team even had money left to purchase some picnic tables and created an outdoor patio for us to enjoy.

After everything was done, we had money left in the budget. I was getting tired of handing out our company credit card so i placed it on the window ledge of our Production Office and then the keys to our Company Van .. so grateful we experience no abuse of either our credit card or vehicle.


What I learned is when you provide empowerment (improve the cafeteria) within limits (maximum 5, 000.00 budget) it is amazing how innovative but responsible your people will react. I am sure their can be abuse, but why discipline everyone for the abuse by one.


Now we all started to trust each other and I learned how to treat my people as Adults. Being an Adult comes with huge responsibility:

  • Creating and Raising Kids

  • Paying Rent

  • Menu Creation and supplies

  • Going to work on time

  • Helping Kids with their homework.

  • Looking after and checking in on Parents


So it just made sense to me they could continue their responsibilities after they had punched in and of course they did not disappoint.


Next week I share my Cultural Pivot Point.



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