Training for Success – The Management Team

libraryLast month I discussed the methodology we use when training manufacturing operators, but spent no time discussing our Manufacturing Management Team training and our mindset when it comes to training managers of people. In general, managerial training is relatively uncommon in organizations. There are plenty of external training options (seminars for example), but they all lack one very important feature – the ability to train as a team. It’s one thing to train an individual about working in a team, training with the team takes the training to a new level.

By definition, getting all of your management team in a room to discuss management theory has a direct impact on getting your managers to start thinking and acting like a team. So, you say, tell me something I didn’t know. Andover Manufacturing Operations learned a number of years ago, continuous improvement is synonymous with continuous learning – you pretty much can’t have one without the other.

Here’s the bad news, you have to do a lot of the work yourself, and this isn’t as easy as it sounds. Our first few sessions were tough but improved over time. People had to get comfortable with learning again. We kept it light, had a bit of fun and the mood of the group began to change. Discussion points were hit head on and people started to see the impact of learning new ways to deal with old problems. To date, I don’t believe we’ve had one gathering where the group didn’t connect on one or more topics. This had never been the case in the past.

As of now, we’ve covered over 25 books on management theory and case studies on management topics. The books range from “In search of Excellence” written by Thomas J. Peters and Robert H. Waterman Jr. published in 1982, to more recent publications by authors like Malcolm Gladwell (several including “Blink” and “Outliers”, Stephen Covey (“Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”), Tony Hsieh (“Delivering Happiness”) and many others. Our reading reviews are far more interesting today than they were at the start, and continue to leave room for improvement as time goes on.

By far “Leadership Isn’t for Cowards” written by Mike Staver has been out favorite read. It gets right to the heart of the requirements that any leader needs to enable them to be effective in driving performance management. “Never Give In!” by Winston Churchill holds the distinction on the other end of the scale (a good read but very difficult to get through).

Just as World Class Manufacturing demands continuous improvement, continuous improvement demands continuous training. If you happen to make it in for a visit and need a good book for the flight home, stop by, and we would be happy to recommend one!

I almost forgot to mention, our entire manufacturing management team is also trained, tested and certified to IPC-A-610 Acceptability of Electronic Assemblies standards. We are all “Certified IPC Specialists”; we work hard to practice what we preach.

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