The Key to Profitable Growth

The Weekly Report – June 6, 2022
Combining lean thinking with leadership skills

When manufacturing executives aim to improve their enterprises, they invest in employees’ knowledge to improve efficiencies, develop leadership capacities throughout the company, and communicate more effectively across the organization.

Over the past two years, that’s exactly what Enterprise Minnesota expert consultants Abbey Hellickson and Greg Langfield have worked with manufacturers to do. They’ve developed Leading Daily for Results, a service that shares a clear understanding of how blending continuous improvement and essential leadership skills can demonstrably contribute to better business performance. In the absence of this holistic approach, Abbey and Greg say that when companies address CI and leadership separately, manufacturers experience ineffective communication from leadership and lack of employee buy-in.

Leading Daily for Results combines lean thinking with leadership skills to help employees at all levels of the organization feel connected to the company’s mission, vision, and values, and they understand their role in making a good company even better.

Through six half-day sessions, Abbey and Greg work with participants to develop and implement a communication process customized to their company’s needs. The goal is to make sure communication is aligned from top to bottom. This can be accomplished by defining “what is important” in both words and actions — and recognizing that every action a leader takes communicates this as well.

In the Summer 2022 issue of Enterprise Minnesota® magazine published May 12th, Kate Petersen, one of our favorite freelance writers, interviewed executives at Tuohy Furniture and Twin Cities EDM, who recently completed Leading Daily for Results about how this work has impacted their companies.

Michael Tuohy, chief operating officer of Chatfield-based Tuohy Furniture, said his leadership team and employees have gained improved leadership skills across the company. “The entire executive team, literally, meets every Monday morning with each area or department on the production floor. For five to 10 minutes, the lead in that production area will present his or her week, discuss critical points, what got done, and what didn’t get done. Then they have an opportunity to ask questions of us and tell us if there are things that we need to engage in to help.”

For Twin City EDM & Mfg., vice president and CEO Steve Lindell contrasts the daily and weekly sessions with how his company managed employee progress prior to Leading Daily for Results. “Before, you’d sit down with a manager for a review and you’d spell out expectations and then in six months you’d check on the review and find out you’re right where you started,” he says.

Lindell says his company has tried to get all employees cross-trained over the last several years, but progress has been stalled because it seems everyone runs out of time. One result of the daily and weekly sessions has been accountability toward the goal. “We have a plan in place, and we’re working through it,” Steve said.

If you are a manufacturer and would like to learn more about Leading Daily for Results, Abbey and Greg will present a forum on this topic at our in-person June 23 Executive Manufacturing Forum in Maple Grove. Manufacturers will learn what it takes to acculturate these business skills inside your organization; how the development of leaders at all levels of an organization starts with self-development; and the application of Lean Thinking principles. Takeaways include:

  • Developing fundamental skills in lean thinking and leadership
  • Building “daily dialogue” as part of everyday management practices
  • Developing a sustainable communication process throughout your company
  • Developing team problem solving skills, and
  • Establishing leadership presence

This new integrated approach to growing business can yield tremendous dividends for companies that want to develop and retain employees and grow profitably.

Register for the June 23 event

Read ‘Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts’ article

Events Calendar

June 8 – How to Better Learn From Your Manufacturing Peers
How Peer Councils help executives lead better companies. Exclusive to manufacturers. Online via Zoom

June 23 – Executive Manufacturing Forum: Maple Grove
Leading Daily for Results – How continuous improvement leadership and communication work together. Exclusive to manufacturers. In-person in Maple Grove.

July 27 – Creating a Culture of Continuous Improvement
Continuous improvement workshop. Exclusive to manufacturers. In-person in Duluth.

August 2 – A Model for Manufacturing Excellence Using ISO 9001
ISO 9001:2015 manufacturing workshop. Exclusive to manufacturers. Online via Zoom.

Industry News

Lund Boats bringing light manufacturing facility to Willmar
June 4, West Central Tribune

Ford to invest $3.7bn in Midwest US manufacturing amid electric vehicle push  
June 2, Financial Times

MN pontoon company Premier Marine is moving its headquarters to Big Lake  
June 1, St. Cloud Times

Duluth’s Arbor Wood growing in soft timber trade, opening Eveleth plant  
June 1, Star Tribune

Minnesota Rubber and Plastics to officially open its new Innovation Center  
June 1, Medical Design & Outsourcing

MN-based pet food company Tuffy’s expands with purchase of Chaska business  
June 1, Star Tribune

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