The Power of People

Delegation, communication and cooperation are key to maximizing this power.


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When visiting shops, working with our Leadtime Leaders, speaking with our editorial advisors and meeting with industry leaders at trade events, a recurring theme related to their success emerges: PEOPLE. You can have all the right technology and business strategies in place, but without a focus on people, you can’t truly succeed and grow.

Over the years, successful shops have shared with me their perspectives on the value of people to their organizations. “We recognize the value of professional and personal growth for our team.” “We encourage employees to bring innovative ideas to each project.” “We focus on putting the right people in the right places.” However, managing, motivating and retaining employees is sometimes easier said than done. Moldmaking is full of self-starting, hard-working individuals who wear many hats within their organizations.

And this is why one big challenge that many business owners and management face is delegation—allowing others to step up and take on responsibilities that will help grow the company even more. It’s one thing to have a handle on all aspects of your business, but it’s another to take on all responsibilities yourself, or even micromanage your staff. Many shop owners have key people in the right places, but only when it becomes absolutely necessary do they let go of some of the responsibilities. They are then forced to learn how to delegate. To effectively manage, you need to establish a system that eliminates overlapping responsibilities. This not only improves operational processes, but employee loyalty and satisfaction as well.

This brings up communication, which is another people-challenge. Regular employee meetings for updating, sharing and listening are essential. For example, when implementing corrective actions, it’s smart to be strategic in your delivery and message. It’s not a time to bring people down, it’s an opportunity to build people up. Corrective actions should be learning experiences, designed to prevent the same mistake from happening in the future.

The final challenge is cooperation. The blame game is something everyone wants to avoid. It can severely impact both productivity and morale. A better game plan is to foster cooperation among the team players. Put a system in place that allows your people to act rather than react; to be accountable rather than point fingers; to see the bigger company picture rather than what is just right in front of them; and to feel comfortable to offer ideas for changes and improvements to the system.

Now, as you go about your day wearing your many hats of the trade, maybe you’ll think more about how to better manage the people around you who have helped you get to where you are today.