Monday, 08 June 2009 13:20

Hey Toby 14 --- Understanding Motivation—It Might Not Be What You Think

Written by Toby Chess

Hey Toby—I read your articles on lean production and I would like to set up my shop as a lean facility. I know I-CAR has a class on cycle time improvements. I checked with a consultant on helping me but the cost was prohibitive. What do I need to do first?
        —Thanks, Old Time Shop Owner, Los Angeles

Old Timer—Who said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? I would highly recommend that you go to I-CAR’s Cycle Time Class. It will not show you the step-by-step methods to improve your cycle time, but it will stimulate the thought process for improving your shop’s methods. One of the concepts that is highlighted in the CYC 01 class are the 5 S’s. The 5 S’s seem like a simple and easy system to adopt. The 5 S’s are as follows:
    ► SORT—Select what is needed for completing a particular task and remove everything else from the work area.
    ► SET IN ORDER—Aarrange the necessary items in order so that they can quickly be accessed and put away.
    ► SHINE—This step follows the first 2 completed steps. A clean working environment makes work easier and raises morale. It also makes it easier to spot defects in the system.
    ► STANDARDIZE—Everyone in the facility needs to help produce the same desired results every time. This is where the SOP’s are utilized.
    ► SUSTAIN—This step keeps steps one through four in place, but this step is the hardest to keep going. Why? Because people build habits (good or bad) and they are hard to change. Find ways to reward these changes during the first 6 months of implementation and you will see a reduction in your cycle time.
    One more item that is needed to begin the process is the involvement of all employees. You need to get everyone involved to accomplish this task. You must learn about motivating today’s employees.

What is motivation?
Motivation is a desire to achieve a goal, combined with the energy to work towards that goal. Once ones core needs are attained, motivation turns to a higher level of needs (such as a sense of achievement).
One thing that you need to remember is that you cannot motivate others, you can only motivate yourself. For example, if you are motivated to implement the 5 S’s, how would you motivate your employees to change their old ways of work to these new and different methods?
    The use of fear, coercion and the threat of punishment could be employed. In other words, “my way or the highway”, but this style of management does not get the best results. The new type of management style is that of a coach. Last football season, I watched the new UCLA coach (Rick Neuheisel) routinely go off on his players when they made mistakes. Did it achieve the desired results? No! On the other hand, Pete Carroll of USC is always the cheerleader even if a player makes a mistake.
    Question—Why does USC football continue to attract top-notch players? I think the major reason is Pete Carroll and his style of positive motivation. You can create an environment that will motivate your employees in the same manner as Pete Carroll does. Be a cheerleader. Be positive. Reward and recognize those who achieve their goals. Although the concept of rewarding desired performances is common sense, it is far from common practice in today’s body shops.
    Bob Nelson wrote, “Everyone likes to be recognized and appreciated. How many managers, however, consider appreciating others to be a major function of their job today? It should be. At a time in which employees are being asked to do more than ever before, to make suggestions for continuous improvement, to handle complex problems quickly, and to act independently in the best interests of the company, the resources and support for helping is at an all-time low. Budgets are tight; salaries are frozen. Layoffs are rampant; promotional opportunities are on the decline.” Is this what is happening today? This quote was taken from a book published in 1996.
    Quoting from Bob Nelson again: “In today’s business environment, what used to be common courtesies have been overcome by speed and technology. Managers tend to be too busy and too removed from their employees to notice when they’ve done exceptional work and to thank them for it. Technology has replaced personal interaction with constant interfacing with a computer terminal.” April 19–25 was National Volunteer Week. I-CAR sent out a blanket e-mail thanking its volunteers. Wouldn’t it have been a better gesture on their part to send out a hand-written thank you note?  John Naisbitt stated in his book Megatrends that as we become more highly technical, the needs for employees become more human and personal. If we are going to sustain the 5S’s, we’re going to have to do a better job of motivating our employees.
Food for thought:
● What motivates people the most takes relatively little effort to do.
● Recognition of employees serves to decrease cost and increase revenues.
● Employees will treat customers in the same manner that they are treated by employers/managers.

Take a test
Rank by numbers what you as managers/ owners think is the order of priorities of your employees:
Good Wages ____
Job Security ____
Promotion ____
Good Working Conditions ____
Interesting Work ____
Personal Loyalty To Workers ____
Tactful Disciplining ____
Full Appreciation For Work Done ____
Sympathetic To Personal Problems ____
Feeling “In” On Things ____
    The order by ranking for managers and employers was Good Wages #1 followed by Job Security and straight down the list with Feeling “in” on things as number 10.
    The same process of ranking was done by employees and the ranking was as follows 1—Full appreciation. 2—Feeling “in”, 3—Sympathetic to Personal Problems, 4—Job Security, 5—Good Wages, 6—Interesting Work, 7—Promotion, 8—Personal Loyalty, 9—Good Working Conditions, & 10—Tactful Disciplining.
    Money, however, is not a motivator. “There is little correlation between pay and performance,” John Tschoh, founder and president of the Service Quality Institute, says. “Recognition is much more effective. People have an incredible need for recognition.
    Understanding how your employees feel, will help you achieve a success with Sustain. If you embark on lean production, you will need buy it from everyone. They need to be involved in all aspects of the business. They need to help create the SOPs. They need to be motivated to succeed. In closing, this was not an article on how to do it, but an article on how to change your thought process.

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