No manufacturing organization can become successful, much less enduring, without a leadership team and culture that is disciplined. We all know that variability negatively impacts quality, and that’s true not only for products, but for communication, decision-making, processes, and more.
As a leader it is your responsibility to ensure that employees understand organizational priorities and how day-to-day actions must mesh with them. Just because you give an order doesn’t mean it is implemented, or that it will be. Leaders and managers are frequently known for dropping ideas and suggestions in hallway conversations, emails, or meetings with many of those really reflecting “thinking out loud” and not actual decisions.
Disciplined follow up by leaders to ensure the entire team understands priorities and is working on the right things is crucial. It is NOT micromanaging unless you are telling the worker how to do the work. Verifying significance and common understanding, listening to challenges and providing help to address them, and communicating clearly when things change is part of disciplined leadership.
Discipline does not preclude innovative or agile cultures; in fact it is a requirement of both of those.
How disciplined is process design and execution, prioritization, decision-making, communication, and capturing and sharing knowledge in your manufacturing organization? Probably not enough.