Ask for Input: Building success in the construction industry with 6 management actions (PART 3)

By Wes Lee

|  July 26, 2013 |

Two construction workersIn my second post on this subject, I mentioned a circumstance that made me realize I needed to ask for input from my team prior to making decisions. Here’s another example of how getting input before decision making helped to set the company on the right course.

Action No. 4: Ask for input prior to decision making.

It was the 90’s and another period of learning how to be a manager for me. It was my first opportunity to lead a medium-size company as president and CEO. The company specialized in exploration, mining and continuous production of industrial minerals. It was a company with three processing facilities, multiple mining locations and distribution throughout North America.

The 6 Management Actions Wes LeeWhile this is not unique, it did present some interesting management challenges related to mining methods, process control, continuous improvement and international growth opportunities.

Many of the employees were well-trained and highly competent. In fact, I was only the second president of this company, which was founded in 1945. My challenge was to take advantage of the high-growth opportunity related to export markets and move the company to the next phase of business.

This necessitated greater employee engagement. So, an executive management team was formed for strategic thinking about the future direction of the company.

Asking for input on how best to use our resources and what new resources would be necessary to arm the mission, resulted in making a decision to undertake  a Total Quality Management Initiative. This became the cornerstone for changing the way employees worked.

We also developed and adopted the  Six Management Actions, which changed the culture from “It’s okay as it is” to “How can we do it better”. It took a couple of years of regular training, several process improvement teams and frequent and timely reporting (feedback) on results before the Six Management Actions became a normal way of working.

The company expanded into global markets, doubled and tripled in size and today is still one of the world’s top suppliers of specialty industrial minerals.

In my next post, I will wrap up this series on the Six Management Actions, looking at providing information and feedback in a timely manner and how not to over or under manage.

 

About the Author

Wes LeeWes Lee, president of Lee Advisory Services, has a vast resume of experience in the construction equipment business, serving in positions ranging from engineer to president with several companies, including the former International Harvester (now Navistar), Kysor Industrial, Construction Equipment Trading Company, Dresser Industries, the former Komatsu Dresser (now Komatsu America), Eagle Picher Minerals, and Case New Holland (now CNH Industrial). He  retired in 2013 as vice president of key accounts for Volvo Construction Equipment North America. He can be reached at www.weslee.biz, wes@weslee.biz, (828) 279-2068.

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