Who I Work With
WHO I WORK WITH
HR Professionals, Plant, Office, Operations, and Other Managers
My clients are a variety of manufacturing, consumer, and service organizations, including high precision manufacturers serving the OEM, or making products for direct applications. Half of them serve domestic and international markets, and are in metal working, pharmaceutical, glass, underground utility equipment, mechanical components, and other industries.
My consumer clients deliver financial services, apparel, fuel, medical services, and food products on a regional basis.
Service clients provide educational, healthcare, and social services for at-risk individuals and families.
Other clients deliver town or county government services; one is a national US government agency.
What they all have in common is a desire to improve their productivity through improved communication.
Which of these issues are true in your organization?
I’ve discovered that there are three main issues or categories that hold organizations back from being the best they can be. They’re the issues of Communication, Conflicts, and Performance.
Communication issues that result in misunderstandings and resistance
Employees underperform in their jobs because they fear, or don’t know how, to ask managers for help. Their requests are often about simple things managers could do to help them improve their performance, but they stay silent, because it’s safer to do so. They also hold back talking with managers about improvements, ideas, and potential problems they see on the horizon, limiting results.
Your shop floor supervisors and employees don’t communicate about improving works-in-progress, processes, or OTD. Instead, employees do what they’re told to do, without contributing what they know, see, and experience in real time. Mediocrity and “doing it the way we’ve always done it,” becomes built-in, and petrified.
Some of your managers delay needed feedback, letting costly problems continue. Plus, other employees lose respect and job momentum, thinking “why should I work so hard if others don’t have to?” Customer service problems continue. Productivity and morale decline.
Top and middle management don’t communicate as effectively as they could, negatively impacting decisions, and their successful implementation. Middle managers have valuable input and expertise to respectfully contribute or communicate to top management, but their opportunities to do so are few and far between.
Workplace conflicts that undermine morale
Peers don’t work together well, creating delays, and reducing the quality and output of their work. They butt heads instead of working out concerns, and create turf battles. They withhold helpful information or explanations from each other, while projects in process and other teams and departments wait.
Departments point fingers at each other instead of collaborating to solve problems. Internal or external customers don’t get the quality responses or solutions they need on a timely basis. Projects being worked on by other departments or teams are delayed, along with customer orders and satisfaction. Prospective or existing customers select other vendors.
Managers get into conflicts with each other, withholding cooperation, or delaying progress. One manager may have overstepped a boundary by criticizing another’s employee, creating resentment and a roadblock. Or, managers don’t agree what course of action should be taken, so they dig in their heels instead of finding an alternative. Sometimes an internal need or promise hasn’t been met by one manager, limiting future responsiveness by the other.
Individuals and groups take more and more of HR’s already limited time to resolve their conflicts. They just don’t seem to be able to work out the issues that come between them, or others, over and over again. Or, it’s easier to just “upwardly delegate” problems to HR instead of working to solve them.
Issues that sidetrack your organization’s performance and productivity
Directors and executive teams may have strong opinions or disagreements about issues, decisions, and solutions, but don’t discuss them collaboratively, creating factions. Or, they may withhold concerns about another director or their department, so that improvements that serve the organization or customers don’t occur.
Employees aren’t improving their performance as much as they could be between performance appraisals. Managers hesitate to conduct even brief coaching because they fear it’ll result in long discussions that will take away from getting the job done. Manager success at improving employee performance is less than it could be.
Costly employee turnover disrupts production schedules, increases overtime expenses, and gives HR even more work. Including spending more time and money to recruit, interview, hire, and onboard. Plus, some new hires don’t work out, putting you further behind. Others continue to make mistakes, or take longer than expected to reach the previous employee’s productivity level.
Employees hide mistakes and errors, drive up costs, and create more problems and delays down the line. It’s a negative snowball effect that happens within your organization, yet sometimes it seems there’s little that can be done about it. Frustrating.
Your organization just doesn’t seem to be making the progress it should be given its strengths. These include the quality of your products or services; the knowledge and expertise your people apply to their work; and the above-average efforts your organization makes in serving its customers or clients. Something’s missing.
Are many of these issues ones that keep recurring?
Since you’ve read this far, it’s likely that many of the above communication, conflict, and performance issues are things that you’d like to see change. Perhaps you’ve had other training programs that didn’t resolve the reasons you scheduled them for in the first place. They sounded great, made a lot of sense “on paper,” and were well-presented, but the desired results didn’t happen. Discouraging.
On the next page, How I Work, I’ll explain how Conversations at Work resolves these issues quickly and effectively.
The type of clients who are most likely to succeed working with me
I’m candid enough to admit that I’m not a good fit for every organization. My best results are achieved working with organizations that:
• Believe in and respect their people, and value their contributions.
• Are open to receiving appropriate feedback and input that may be difficult for others to express, and not always easy to hear.
• Are willing to make positive changes or improvements in how they work with their people, and with each other.
• See training as a strategy to create positive long term changes, versus a task to be checked off on a list.
• Want to use more of the potential their people and organization have.
• Have high standards and integrity; also high quality products and services.
• Desire more dialogue and two-way communication for everyone’s gain.
• Want to take fear and blame out of the workplace.
• Believe that treating people well is a powerful strategy for improving organizational productivity and competitiveness.
Simply put, we’re all here to make a positive difference.
“This training engaged our managers from the very start; delivered skills instead of lectures and theories; addressed our needs and expectations; and gave us ways to improve internal work relationships.”
“We were very pleased with the performance feedback training that was developed for Blair. The program delivered very strong content and skills that our managers could put into practice right away. It was highly customized to meet the needs of our managers and organization, and most likely would have cost thousands of dollars more from a large firm. We are scheduling it again.”
Free people to communicate & do more productive work.
Conversations at Work helps people in organizations have the workplace
conversations they’ve been avoiding—and improve productivity.