The success mindset for manufacturing leaders

All of you face competition. It’s easy to focus on quality, delivery and time-to-market in an effort to lead the pack. The reality is that those are now entry level requirements for success.

To truly lead the pack, it is essential to identify and live the key distinctions between those who thrive, and those who drift away. Great manufacturing expertise is not enough.

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Mindset can evolve, as can people. Make an overt decision whether you will thrive or drift away

Let me share six critical elements of the success mindset in manufacturing today.

1. Legitimate demonstrated respect for all constituencies

These constituencies include employees, customers, suppliers, investors and the community at large. The community includes not only your physical neighbors, but competitors and future generations.

2. A mission and vision that matter

It’s not easy to get excited about making stampings, plastic casings, or printed circuit boards every day. Ending workplace injuries, providing safe mobility for all people, or immediate diagnosis of cancer: now those can ensure employees know the value they are creating.

3. Clearly defined priorities

There is ONE top priority. Not five, not 25. Leaders that can’t or won’t make hard decisions can’t lead effectively. This doesn’t mean sequential activity. It means clear priorities. When people make choices, and they do so constantly, a clear understanding of what matters most right now is vital.

4. Constant learning

Whether you use a tried and true process like PDCA or form your knowledge capture and management process around software, knowledge must be recognized as such and then leveraged. Tribal knowledge is a distant memory to manufacturers that thrive. It’s “what we count on” in businesses that struggle.

5. Unwavering commitment to credo

Whether you prefer the term credo or the phrase core values, exemplars stand for something important. And they do not accept behavior to the contrary, from the CEO to the part-time cleaner.

6. A covenant of value creation

Paragons of success are committed to providing value to the five constituencies for decades to come. No short cuts to maximize near-term profits to the detriment of others. They invest, they think long term, and they continually endeavor to create value.

Mindset can evolve, as can people. If you and your leadership team fall short in any of these six attributes of the success mindset, you can do something about it. Start now. Start now either to thrive, or to drift away. But make an overt decision about which you will do. Regret is useless.

As published on American City Business Journals