There's nothing worse for a business than a culture of blame.
It sours relationships and encourages paranoia.
And, whatever the issues, let's face it - if it’s anyone’s fault, it’s yours.
When I am asked to consult or create a training package for a manufacturing facility, the very first thing I do is carry out a 1-day survey of the site.
In the course of a working day, I will know most of your problems.
It’s no exaggeration to say that I can know, in broad outline, pretty much all of the problems afflicting your business.
If I can’t, then you don’t pay. Simple.
In the first few hours of the survey, I simply watch and engage in casual conversation with both shopfloor and backroom staff.
These conversations soon point me toward the biggest areas of concern because, believe me, everyone knows what’s going on and they’re only too willing to give their perspective.
Part of the skill of these surveys is sniffing out the ‘sour grapes’ issues from the real ones.
Then it’s just a matter of going and checking for myself – either on the shopfloor or in amongst the processes and systems.
Eventually, of course, all issues lead back to the boss.
I recently had a discussion with a Plant Manager regarding one member of his team that was causing an enormous amount of concern among the rest of the team and, to a certain degree, on the shopfloor.
It transpired during our chat that, whilst he was aware of the concerns, he didn’t lend any credence to them.
‘So you’ve discussed these issues with your team?’
‘And they gave you their honest feedback?’
‘Wow. Either they’re all very brave, or they’re really getting pissed off. And their accounts all tally?’
‘Brilliant. Can I ask what you’ve done about it?’
Nothing, I don’t think it’s anywhere near as big an issue as they say.
‘Have you told them that?’
The boss is, ultimately, the custodian of all that takes place within the organisation.
You need to know what’s going on and why.
If you’ve chosen to leave something rather than fixing it, well, that’s a conversation to be had.
If you haven’t fixed it because you don’t know it exists, or you don’t think it’s a problem, then you’re the biggest problem.