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LDL Back to Basics

I like to think of it as “the great everything, all the time, and all-encompassing overwhelment all at once.” While it’s not necessarily a Dr. Seuss book, there was certainly enough zany and complex themes about to make you think you’re roaming through an endless Truffula tree forest chasing The Lorax and craving green eggs and ham.

To say this team was overspent, overwhelmed, and undermotivated only scratches the surface.

And still, they were working. Working diligently, day in and out, 10 to 12 hours per day, stressed, pressured, and at times very unhappy with the work in their elusive work/life balance equation. Here in lies the problem… or the opportunity depending on your field of view.

Manufacturing production planning is a very complex and complicated profession. While you attempt to box a portion of a gargantuan process into a manageable field of study, you then must account for all the internal and external variables that could potentially impact your process. Even mere mortals with the strongest computers cannot claim control over every aspect of this virtual and physical universe. So, we do the best we can with the information, technology, and other resources we are given.

But what happens if we aren’t given everything we should have to work effectively in this space? How do we determine we don’t have all we need? Perhaps the best indicator is our increasing blood pressure, locks of hair missing from our heads, that headache that doesn’t seem to go away, or the unending emails that trickle into our Inbox all throughout the workday… and night.

We once worked with a leader responsible for about 100 people in this manufacturing production planning organization, facing a very similar situation. While this leader was responsible for a significant team, they were not in a position to influence the leadership or garner resources to address several fundamental gaps in information and technology accessibility in their company. This leader had a list of improvements needed that would have certainly made the team much more efficient and effective, while expending much less emotional capital. This emotional capital, which we later identified as their missing link, was draining productivity, morale, teamwork, and overall value delivery.

With LDL Consulting’s help, the leader was able to investigate, review, and re-assess how their team connected, re-engaged, and got work done. This rebuild included a total review of resources against the business goals and objectives and narrowing on the functional responsibilities of requirements needed to be fulfilled by this team. LDL helped the leader and their team identify “spheres of enablement and impact” that was formed into a plan of engagement, prioritization, and action both within this organization and their connections to many others.

The team enjoyed several quick wins in the early weeks which helped build their engagement and motivation, and wins were crafted across the next 6 months to maintain and grow that productivity momentum. The biggest lesson this team learned was to control what they could control, improve their overall engagement and effectiveness, and be honest about their capabilities and clearly articulate where and how they add value. They were much better received by their internal partners which translated into receiving more resources to further their plan.

And then, the plan was replicated to other parts of the organization with very similar, and in some cases better results.

The solutions created were a great example of how LDL encouraged the client to introspectively scrutinize how they manage work, while leveraging our industry experience and bespoke models. The team was already used to performing well, but it was at a great personal cost to the people. In the new environment, team members reported enjoying their work experience 27% more than before LDL, felt they were more productive with less stress, knew how to find and use the resources available to them, and were 35% more willing to stay with their role and the company as opposed to when they were last surveyed 12 months before.

However, this potential was already in the organization. It was just trapped in a forest of complexity, and they needed to get “back to the basics”. LDL Consulting helped them uncover it, develop it, and take action to control what they could control for their own success.

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