How Can I Help You?December 1, 2011
Certain moments in your career can forever impact how you conduct yourself in the workplace. For me, one such moment occurred some 15 years ago while conducting a performance review for Rich, an editor who worked for me. As we wrapped up a rather traditional review, Rich asked me a question I’ve never forgotten:
“Enough about me,” Rich said, being sure to thank me for my positive feedback and constructive advice. “How can I help you achieve your goals?”
I found this unselfish display of camaraderie and teamwork overwhelming, and, to cut to the chase, from that point on Rich and I forged an amazing partnership. We worked selflessly and without ego in perfect lockstep toward achieving the company’s goals for our particular business unit.
Once in awhile, I’m lucky enough to visit a metalforming company where management and production interact in similar lockstep. In this issue, we’re proud to bring you three such stories, packed in a special section under the heading “Metalforming Pioneers.” These companies are being honored by the Precision Metalforming Association Educational Foundation, as part of a program sponsored by a grant from the Hitachi Foundation.
What you’ll read about, in this first of three Metalforming Pioneer special sections we’ll present over the next several months, are production workers encouraged by management to improve themselves, in part by participating in voluntary continuing education. In turn, you’ll learn how employees return the favor, by completely devoting themselves to their company’s success.
I just read an article online titled, “10 Things Managers Should Never Do,” by Steve Tobak, and when doing so I couldn’t help but think back to the managers I interviewed for the Metalforming Pioneer articles. In each case, I’d bet that these managers follow Tobak’s 10 guidelines religiously. For example, Tobak says, “Never order people around like dictators…Employees are not soldiers or children.” He also says to never “behave like arrogant jerks that are better than others…It makes you look like a little brat and completely neuters your authority and credibility.”
The managers at our Metalforming Pioneer companies—owners, presidents, CEOs, etc.— epitomize how to gain credibility and respect while also reinforcing one’s authority. At the same time, they build employee self-respect and self-worth. The end result, in every case, is ultimate team effort toward achieving another one of Tobak’s directives: Never forget about the customers.
“Organizations and companies exist for one reason,” writes Tobak: “To win, maintain and support customers. Business is about business, and when you make it about you—your issues, your fears, your empire, your thin skin, whatever—you cease to be an effective manager.”As you read about our Metalforming Pioneer companies, in this issue and in two additional issues in 2012, please join me in congratulating these managers and their employees on jobs well done. These companies should make us all proud of our metalforming industry.
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