In the world of manufacturing, it’s hard to imagine a more exciting topic than Leadership – Leadership affects everything a company is or could be. It’s all about energy, passion, commitment – having vision, driving accountability and motivating others to take pride in their tasks, goals and accomplishments. We were very fortunate to have a Host who exemplifies these qualities and moreover who was as excited to share as we to learn from his insight and passion with respect to “Leadership in Manufacturing” - Brad McKay, CEO of HFS – Healthcare Food Services!
“The best way to test whether a person can lead rather than just manage is to ask them to create positive change…” John C. Maxwell
“A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus…” Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without the strategy…” Norman Schwarzkopf
Brad takes pride in a lengthy list of books and movies that he has read (or seen) that explain or demonstrate various thought concepts regarding leadership. He mentioned that understanding a craft will be more meaningful if you take the time to learn from the experience of many (through reading as an example) and that by and large for the most part – leaders are readers. Books supply you with information but also provoke your thoughts opening the door so to speak for the reader to visualize/conceptualize/consider a different perspective.
Our Speaker explained that reading a book has a set process as well – he begins with the cover, endorsements, the inside flaps, considers if the idea presented is relevant, ponders the bio, introduction and table of contents and then takes a peak at the concluding chapter. He is looking for the “idea behind the book” – in an attempt to have a “conversation” if you will, with the author.
A great idea, our Speaker keeps a Learning Binder with a 1-2 page summary of what he read. Brad encouraged those present to really think about reading and get fully engaged. He even broke it down citing that if you spend 1 min per page – in essence you could finish a 250-300 page book in only 5-6 hours – not unlike attending a “1-Day Conference”!
So what are some of the best books or movies you might want to consider checking out? Our Host has a “Top 100” list categorized by title, author and subject – some of his favourites include:
Art of War (-513) – Sun Tzu
- How to win on the battlefield
If Disney Ran Your Hospitals – 9 ½ Thing to Do Differently (2004) - Fred Lee
- Great analogy from Fred Lee about Noah and a woodpecker – for the good of the organization, you have to get rid of the woodpecker or the whole organization is in peril – culture will eat strategy seven days a week
Straight from the Gut (2003) – Jack Welsh
- Development of the ABC Analysis (A – top 10%/B – middle 70% who keep the machines going/C – bottom – have to deal decisively with the C’s – drain on energy)
Team of Rivals (2006) – Doris Kearns Goodwin
- A book about Lincoln, dynamics of leadership, how to get things done
12’O’Clock High (1949) – Film
- Risk – this film looks at day time precision bombing – a much higher risk than the cover of night
12 Angry Men (1957) – Film
- Using persuasion to move to the right decision
Brad’s Thoughts on Leadership:
A Leader needs can create effective leadership through vision, accountability and energy.
1. Vision – create a vision that inspires employees to believe in and accomplish great things.
- Leader has to see the future and give reason to be
- A Leader needs to be clear, compelling, motivating
- Planning is paramount and decision-making is the most valuable part of planning
- Keep things dead simple
2. Accountability – create accountability by identifying each employees’ role in achieving the vision
- A locked in plan with a deadline creates more urgency than a rolling one (ie. HFS has one page/Department set of goals established and every year it is refreshed)
- Annual performance management reviews – HFS has quarterly check-ins and now pushing into hourly employees and meeting with union annually – helps you better manage the organization
3. Energy – infuse the whole process with energy and urgency
- Monthly meeting – townhall style – successes celebrated (20-30 years) – letters of thanks
- Successes by Department – free lunches for targets – attendance bonus – perfect attendance for a year equals one weeks’ pay
- Trying to teach that metrics are important
- Financial incentives do not work – commission doesn’t drive performance
a) Autonomy to do the job how you want to
b) Learning while you do the tasks
c) Task must have some noble objective
In summary, our Speaker mentioned that your “Leadership Style” is unique to you. He challenged us to find our own leadership model – “what is the positive change you want to create?” Our decision making process is as unique as our fingerprints or DNA. Brad shared information on the Gartner Leadership Model and Rogers Innovation Adoption Curve (innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority and laggards). Did you know that it can take almost 30 years to fully adopt an idea (ie. Just think of the changes in a 30-year time period with trains, farms, internet, cell phones, etc.). These charts can be a powerful tool to use in today’s complex world of decision-making.
Your Leadership Model:
1. What are your strengths, your superior qualities?
2. What are your weaknesses, disadvantages?
3. What leaders do you admire?
4. What can you learn from the good ones and the bad ones?
What is the positive change you want to create?
- Design a new product?
- Improve cost effectiveness?
- Create a CI culture in the organization?
- Conceive, design and implement a new capital project?
Round Table Networking:
• Finding balance between movement of plant and leadership model
- Important to “be yourself”
• Food Fraud (ie. adulterated honey) – how do you keep on top of this?
- CFIA – random sampling (olive oil)
- Supplier/Vendor Programs
- Certificate of Analysis – Lab Testing (could be your only defence)
- Have to look at food fraud from a global perspective
- College studies – St. Lawrence and University of Michigan
• Co-Packer requirements – baked goods in pouches
- Interested in acquiring equipment which could be at low cost due to business issues
- Discussion on why the supplier’s business might be failing and how to grow the same if purchased
• GF2 Funding (Next Intake)
HFS – Healthcare Food Service – Plant Tour:
Founded in 1980, HFS has been a leader in the healthcare food service for over 30 years. This is a world class facility where safety comes first. They have several certifications and accreditations including SQF, HACCP, Federally Regulated by CFIA, Halal Certified, and Nut Free. They have a continuous and linear flow from raw materials to finished goods for better food safety and efficiencies.
HFS offers a variety of nutritious foods with home-cooked flavour including breakfasts, soups, salads, entrees, starches and side dishes, sauces, gravies, desserts and formee and texture modified foods. With a 75,000 square foot imprint, this modern facility is always a pleasure to visit not only to explore their processes but also to appreciate the means in which they communicate and celebrate with their staff. Not surprisingly, there was lots of discussion around the bulletin boards with our participants and admiration at the wall of service showcasing employees who have been with the company for a notable period – some up to almost 30 years!
Very, very special thanks to our Guest Presenter and Host – HFS – for providing us with such an informative and thought provoking experience! All the best as always!
Bren de Leeuw, Director - EMC Food, Beverage, Bio & Ag Program Canada
Excellence In Manufacturing Consortium - bdeleeuw .org - 519-372-6009
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