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Building the Muscles of Our Workforce

Running improvement projects in a wide variety of service organisations over the last couple of years, I had to relearn what I thought I had a good grasp of already. I had to restudy the basic drivers of productivity and process efficiency. Yes, it is certainly possible to drive productivity by process changes.

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Do You Have Quality Conversations with Your Staff?

During my time at one public service organisation in Singapore, I recognised one day that I had a problem calling my staff by their name. Even worse, I did not know anything about my more junior level officers. Of course, I met my managers and deputies quite often. But, some of the executives I did not have any chance to engage in a chat with.

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Manager as Coach

To be a good coach is hard work. Coaching requires a set of skills that need to be built. The journey as a coach is a long but rewarding one. How will we know when we have arrived? “With the best of leaders, when the work is done, the project is completed, the people all say, ‘We did it ourselves.’” Lao Tzu

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Management by Walking About

“People leave bad managers, not companies …,” is one of the results of a famous Gallup survey at corporations in the US. This does not mean we have “bad” people as managers. It rather means that not every high-performing employee is really suitable for a managerial position. Other surveys have shown that less than 30% of high performers have the ability to do well as supervisor.

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What Makes A Good Leader for Change

In response to evolving conditions, you came to realise that your organisation must change. Change leadership consists of project sponsor, with overall responsibility, seconded by a project manager. These people will be your change agent – the ones upon which success of your initiative will rely.

Driving Change With Clear Messages

Two weeks after joining Central Bank in Germany, I spend a full week in the so-called Black Belt Training by TE Capital Europe. Black Belts are the project managers for process improvement approaches at TE. This approach comes from Motorola and is called Six Sigma. The first two weeks in the new company, I have tried to understand Six Sigma and to learn about the methodology and steps, after I got somehow familiar with TE Capital and its terminology, our banking products and our bank itself. While my new colleagues could help me with the latter, the learning of Six Sigma seemed to be an unsuccessful venture, as nobody in my bank had more than a hunch about it.

Our Company Has No Heart

“We have a problem. Our staff turnover is quite high; our people make many mistakes and do not take any initiative. Moreover it seems to be impossible to hire an HR director who can survive longer than 4 months,” said the frustrated CEO of a service management company with staff strength of about one hundred. In addition, there were many rumours about nearly everything in the company – a sign for a harmful culture.

Every Beginning is Difficult

New undertakings or experiences are always challenging at first. This is no different when Schenker Singapore (Pte) Ltd, a transportation & logistics company, decides to embark on something new like Lean Six Sigma. It might seem to be even more demanding at the outset since the number of 3rd party logistics providers rising to this challenge is very limited. Best practices in this industry are not widely spread and hard to come by.

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People Development – The Smart Way

A couple of years ago, I was meeting the President of an Asian multi-national mid-sized service company for a Six Sigma Training on Saipan, a nice sunny pacific island south-east of Japan. Together with a colleague we were sitting at the beach, wearing swimming suits and preparing the next days session whilst getting sun-tanned. When the President arrived – he was in shorts and ugly slippers! – we had a casual briefing for the Leadership Team session and the Staff Awareness Sessions we were about to run during that week.

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