The practical nature of the TWI program makes it the ideal vehicle to commence leader capability development. So much so, that Oscar practices the skills in his everyday working life. Oscar Roche is is the Director of Training Within Industry Institute in Australia.
Related Podcast and Transcription: The People Side of TWI
An excerpt from the podcast:
Joe: You have a tendency it seems that you really like the Job Relations part of it, what had made that different than all these other leadership books and how to lead and how to train? Is it because it’s so central to maybe middle management?
Oscar: I think there’s a couple of things. I think one thing is its simple. There’s not a 150 to 200-page book on it because it doesn’t need to be. You look at the four foundations and a lot of the training that we do, in a group of 10 which is the group size, generally there would be someone in there who reads the card and says, “Yes but I do this. This is common sense.” It might be common sense to 1 in 10, but it’s not common sense to 10 out of 10. So one thing is it’s very, very simple and straightforward, particularly the foundations. Two is; good leaders do that stuff anyway. Job Relations in my experience helps a good leader become even a better leader, and it helps an average leader become a good leader, and a poor leader become an average leader. There’s not a silver bullet, but I think its simplicity is probably one of the things it can offer.
Another bit of feedback we’ve had from an HR person is that there’s a tendency to look for complexity. So we’re having leadership issues, so we look for weak causes or six-month part-time course or something in how to build leadership and respect, but what we doesn’t do and it’s all good concept and great knowledge, but what the leader has difficulty is when I walk out of the training is, what can I actually do now? Whereas that pocket card gives them something that when they walk back into the workplace, they can actually do some specific things that will change that Job Relations line. So it’s very focused, it’s very simple, and it’s very direct and its four things are not complex, and I think that’s the value it adds.
Joe: Is Job Relations something that you do just when there’s a problem or is it something that you really should review and use it every day in the way interact with the people you supervise and other leaders?
Oscar: Well there’s two elements to Job Relations. One is the four foundations of good relations, and those four foundations are things that you can practice hour by hour, day by day that will reduce the chance of people problems. Then the other side of the pocket card is the four-step method for how to handle a people problem. One of the learnings I’ve had in the last probably 6 to 12 months is I’m pretty sure I used to say how to resolve a people problem, well you don’t always resolve them. There have been excellent cases with the companies I’ve worked with where they’ve applied the four-step method, and they haven’t actually solved the problem. The method is actually a means of handling the problem. And sometimes and it is PDCA; the four-step method for JR is PDCA. So what that implies is you may not always resolve the issue. You may have to go around two or three times, and that’s normal PDCA. So to answer your question Joe, there’s two sides of the card. One is the four things you should do on a daily basis to reduce the chance of people problems.
Joe: Could you name them?
Oscar: The four foundations are, let each worker know how he or she is doing — that’s prime, and then each of them has sub-foundations. That’s the first foundation. The second foundation is to give credit when due. The third foundation is to tell people in advance about changes that will affect them. The last foundation is to make best use of each person’s ability.
Joe: That’s being proactive in things you should be doing all the time.
Oscar: That’s exactly right. Every minute of the day thinking is one of these — many will get it, but that’s what I’ll try and do. Which one of these foundations need to be used — is there an issue now? I’m working with people now, which one of these foundations if they need to, I need to be practicing right now?
Joe: And then when you do the reactive on how to handle a problem, the four steps there is get the facts, weigh and decide, take action, and then check the results. Those are good things, and I think the one intriguing thing that you really said about that is that handling a problem is at iterative as a hypothesis as PDCA is. It’s something that you may not get it right the first time.
Oscar: You may not, and one of the instances I’ve had recently was a supervisor followed it and didn’t get it right. Let me go back a little bit. The key thing you’ve missed there Joe is, you’ve obviously got a card in front of you, what does it say at the top of the card, just under how to handle a problem?
Joe: Oh, get the objective.
Oscar: Exactly and I look back on my time when I was a manufacturing manager and a production manager, and me of course had people problems, that’s the thing I never did. I never sat down and thought before I open my mouth, before I do anything here, what’s my objective? So actually, if you want to think of it as a five-step method because you must determine your objective and that must happen before you open your mouth; before you write anything down, you got to sit and think that through. It’s very challenging because when you do that, people think, “Ooh, hang on…” People find that difficult and the reason they find it difficult is because they’ve never done it before, and it’s critical to this.
What occurred in this particular case, it was that the supervisor determined their objective, followed the four-step method perfectly and didn’t achieve the objective. I said to the supervisor, “You haven’t failed. Please don’t think you failed. You have not failed. You’ve actually been very successful because you followed the method. What you have learned is that you now have to change your objective, which you did. So you change the objective and follow the method again.” I said, “Don’t think that’s failure. That is PDCA. That is exactly what this is about.” You’re not going to get it right the first time every time, but follow the method, and you’ll be consistent in the way you apply method, and not only you but your peers will as well and that’s the value in it. Then the worker sees consistency in the way that there being treated, and managed, and handled.
Related Podcast and Transcription: The People Side of TWI
Lean Sales and Marketing: Learn about using CAP-Do
Lean Engagement Team (More Info)