“We need to train the people.” “We need to change the thinking."
An agenda that comes as an essential topic.
But this agenda is strange. Isn’t a human being a creature that continuously learns and develops? Aren’t we capable of changing?
What we need to understand is the reason why people stopped learning or developing. Unless you take out those stoppers, any training is a waste of time and money.
A factory lectured the operators on Toyota Production System, despite some warnings not to do it.
The result. Nothing changed. To some degree, the resistance increased.
I got the opportunity to survey some of the operators. Most did not answer any questions. But one guy opened up about what had happened to him.
He heard the lecture with interest. He did not memorize those Japanese words, which I was okay with, but the concepts interested him. So after the class, he stopped the machine due to a problem (Jidouka & Andon). It was a while before anyone responded. Once the supervisor came, he was told to keep working even if the problem persisted. The operator was puzzled.
The following day, the operator faced another problem. He called for help and got an even worse response. The operator was confused.
The following day, another problem. The operator tried again and was yelled at (he used more polite words, but that is what happened.). In the end, the operator learned that he should shut up and keep working the same way. Whatever in the lecture was a “fantasy.”
The problem he saw was something like the cap of a switch came off. Or an alarm lamp keeps going on. One of the materials looked damaged. When we investigated, everything the operator highlighted was essential to take care of. Yet, since it is possible to keep the machines running, those alarms were typically ignored.
The plant manager was upset with the supervisor, who didn’t appropriately react to the operators. But we stopped the plant manager. Isn’t the supervisors treated the same way? Aren’t they told to keep working with problems? During the morning production meeting, the plant manager commented, “The OEE is low, so keep it up.” What would be the reaction when the supervisors don’t know how to improve or have permission to stop the machine from investigating?
This kind of contradiction between the contents of training and reality is happening in many topics. After a problem-solving training, on the first real problem, the trainee was told, “Just add the safety stock” by the coach. A factory had these “Genba first” signs and messages in training, while the plant manager only came to the shop floor for five minutes. The theory of Heijyunka was introduced in a classroom, followed by the chaos of daily firefighting of schedule changes.
The truth is that we human beings are perpetual learning and changing creatures. We see that in children. Every day they are learning and evolving. Do that natural habits stop when we become an adult? I don’t think so. Look at smartphones. I know some people using the fax machine have changed to using text and mail after the introduction of smartphones. Smartphones are so easy to use and forgiving of mistakes that they welcome people to start using them. Some resist, but they are not using dial phones anymore. The ratio of those who oppose smartphones is far less than those who resist organizational change.
This is because we are very capable of learning the wrong behaviors. Because we learn every day, there are situations where the words and actions do not match. And we learn from such unfavorable conditions. This may be the same for children. A child somehow got away with not doing the homework. Somehow that “success” becomes a lesson that you can get away with not doing homework. A small problem piles up and becomes a significant issue later. A slight inconsistency can become something huge.
The question is how many correct and wrong messages are sent out daily. There is no way that every message is perfect. We are human beings, and sometimes wrong messages or interpretations can happen. The management should always be aware that wrong messages can send out.
Great leaders care about the contents of training. They check the trainers thinking & contents before the training. It is easier to fix during the planning stage.
When you see the gap, don’t blame the student. They showed how a wrong message was sent or misinterpretations can happen. Focus on the flow of messages and the root of the mistake. Otherwise, the same mistake will happen again.
Focus on the senior management first. Make sure that they understand what traditional thinking might contradict with new philosophies. Cascaded training makes more sense.
Don’t rush to train everything. “Batching” of training is horrible. Introduce one thinking at a time.
Continue to go to the genba. Genba is the only place where you can confirm the contents of the training were correct or well understood.
Without such preparations, training is nothing but waste. It is like pouring water into a tank with holes. Don’t train something that a manager will contradict. The manager should learn and understand first.