Tour: Arcosa, Tuesday, November 12, 2019
Departure Location: Francis Tuttle Rockwell Campus, Corporate Training Building Time: 8:30 - 4:00
Lean Enterprise 101 Training and Simulations, Wednesday, 11/13/2019
Location: 12777 N Rockwell, Corporate Training, Room D1810 A&B, Oklahoma City, OK. Time: 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM Registration fee: $250/person Minimum class size: 14 Lunch will be provided. Call Fernanda Hagen to register: 405-717-4291.
Workshop: Lean Middle Management, Dec. 6, 2019
Location: Francis Tuttle Reno Campus,, Room A1020A, 7301 W. Reno, Oklahoma City Time: 11:30 - 1:00

Who Owns It?

By John Carnuccio

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending a speaker event at the monthly EEG meeting at Francis Tuttle. Bryan Coats, a very experienced and learned manufacturing professional gave a presentation on Total Productive Maintenance, or TPM. This presentation covered the history of TPM and the key ingredients for a successful endeavor, but the thing that struck me the most was his discussion about the “TPM culture.” This reminded me of so many other “culture” discussions I have been involved in over the years concerning Lean, quality, safety and other important elements of a high performance organization. Everyone always ends up talking about culture. It seems that success and sustainability in anything always comes down to the right culture. But who’s to say what kind of culture is “right”? And how do you know when you’ve got it?

Merriam-Webster.com defines culture as (my summary): the beliefs, customs, arts, ways of life, etc., of a particular society, group, place, or time; a way of thinking, behaving, or working that exists in a place or organization (such as a business). As the definition would suggest, every organization has a culture. It may not be a good one, or a desirable one, but like it or not, it’s got one! The culture is a direct result of what the organization believes in; the way it “lives” every day; how it thinks. Obviously, most of us aspire to work in an organization that believes in continuous improvement of everything and everyone. We want to be part of something good that lives and breathes excellence in everything it does. In short, we want to work in what I call a high performance culture; otherwise we wouldn’t be interested in TPM or being on a “Lean journey” or attending EEG events!

It has been my experience that culture is a direct reflection of leadership. And although leadership is responsible for the culture of the organization, the culture itself will grow from the bottom up. Culture change, therefore, must begin with leaders who can articulate a vision of a new reality and are willing to let their people create the path to it. This cannot be done by mandate, desire or appointment. It is not achieved through coercion, promises, or threats. It only happens when everyone owns the desired change. When everyone is empowered to put their personal stamp on it. When everyone walks the walk and talks the talk and lives it every day. Not just the managers and supervisors, but everyone. This is evidenced by the way people work together; the subject matter and terminology of casual conversations; the questions that are asked at meetings; the desire to participate in improvement projects, training classes, and company events. The workforce will take on a certain swagger and attitude. These are telltale signs of the developing culture of an organization. Astute leaders will pay attention to these indicators and use them to help guide their plans and initiatives.

So as you move ahead with your lean journeys, TPM initiatives, safety programs, quality systems, etc., and you desire to achieve the “right culture,” step back and ask yourself: “who owns it?”

Leave a Reply