Workcenters A and B are in the exact same industry, under the same corporate ownership, but in two geographically different locations. Both provide a service to customers and are nationally recognized because of their corporate affiliation.
Their products, processes, policies and talent pools are the same. They provide their employees with identical compensation, benefits, and training. Their building décor is identical, as is their parking lots. Even the bathrooms are in the same locations inside both buildings.
Each of these workcenters have operated for a long time and have experienced the ebb and flow of doing business throughout the years. Recently, however, workcenter A has far exceeded the output of B in terms of production…but why?
Why does one workcenter outshine the other when the playing field is so even? It really comes down to the one thing that is distinguishable between both places of employment: Leadership!
Every industry can trace its success and failure back to leadership. You can see it in the military, business, government and the sports world, just to name a few.
In professional sports, for example, certain teams seem to always make the playoffs and the best ones pile up championship after championship. Despite having the exact same levels of player talent, rules, and equal amounts of games to play, the coaching is often what makes some teams excel and others get pounded every season!
Workcenter A has better coaching and this has produced a better team. The leaders know the value of their people and act accordingly. They care for their employees and seek to serve them. They create a safe culture that inspires its workers to give their absolute best every day. Thus, the employees come to work excited and are inspired to perform above and beyond.
Workcenter B has employees (including mid-level managers) who dread coming to work because they are demoralized and dejected. The leaders sit in their offices and only come out to spew their negativity. The employees, therefore, perform their jobs in a self-preservation mode in fear of upsetting leadership. They have given up on going above and beyond and are just wanting to survive another day.
With over 30 years as a working adult, from military units to the business world, I have personally experienced both workcenters. The difference between fantastic places to work and the horrible ones was always leadership.
Author and leadership expert, John C. Maxwell, points out that, “Everything rises and falls on leadership.” The truth of this statement can be seen in business, the military, the government, the sports world, and so on. When you think about it, successes and failures in all endeavors can be traced to a leader who was responsible.
The good news for workcenter B is that they don’t have to stay there! Improving the culture will only occur when the leadership team commits to changing how they lead. They should take an honest inventory of their effectiveness and implement self-development measures.
Paramount to those measures should be regular and ongoing leadership development and training. I have witnessed leadership teams turn work cultures completely around in a relatively short period of time because they first focused on improving their own leadership skills.
If you are in a workcenter B environment, start by developing yourself first. No matter your position, true leadership is influencing others. We can influence our peers, subordinates, and bosses by our actions and attitudes (which are often the most effective way to do so)!
Get a book on leadership and commit yourself to reading a chapter a day. Also, watch some leadership talks, develop habits of leadership improvement and encourage those you work with to do the same.
When you do, you will see your workcenter start to resemble A more than B!