Episode 147: Transcript
The Rewards of Civility in Manufacturing & Continuous Improvement
Speaker 0 00:00:04 Make it right. The manufacturing podcast
Speaker 1 00:00:10 Make it right podcast. We often talk about the importance of creating trust in the manufacturing environment, by respecting our team members, their experience and their knowledge. This trust is built quite slowly, but it can be shattered in a second by an uncivil actor, a comment, and this can be a costly error for morale and the bottom line, because when trust is low, engagement is low this week on the, make it right podcast. We’re talking civility in the manufacturing environment and its importance in a continuous improvement plan. Our guest today is an internationally recognized expert on civility at work. Dr. Lew Bayer has published 17 plus books and her most recent with Christian Masotti is called Manufacturing Civility. She’s also the CEO of Civility Experts, which has 501 affiliates around the world. She’s an international speaker and she shares the power of civility at work all around the world. So we are really pleased to have on the Make It Right podcast, Kevin Snook and I, Dr. Lew Bayer on the show. So welcome to the show, Lew. Nice to see you.
Speaker 2 00:01:13 Thank you. Nice to be here. It’s a pleasure.
Speaker 1 00:01:16 So my question for you right off the top is when did you discover the power of civility? Because you’ve been focused on it for more than 20 years. This is people treatment. When did you see that? This was the,
Speaker 0 00:01:33 Okay,
Speaker 2 00:01:33 So it it’s true. It’s uh, over 20 years now, um, when we started civility experts and at the time, uh, before I started this kind of entrepreneurial adventure, I was director of operations for a hotel chain and anyone who’s ever worked service industry or hospitality now was that it can be unkind, um, from a service point of view, from an employee point of view, um, it’s difficult to navigate kind of the comings and goings of, uh, often transient workforce is very uncivil workplace. And so in that environment, we were teaching a lot of etiquette. So social rules, wedding etiquette, um, banquet, etiquette, dining etiquette, you know, just how, how people should know to behave in social situations. And it occurred to me at that time that it really doesn’t matter how many rules you teach people. It doesn’t matter how polite people are. If at the end of the day, they really don’t respect your value of the people they’re with. And so my view, um, turned to you need to know the social rules to the social girls don’t matter nearly as much as we think. So civility goes way beyond social rules. So how do you
Speaker 1 00:02:50 Define civility and why, why is it so important?
Speaker 0 00:02:57 Well, we
Speaker 2 00:02:57 Define stability. It’s, um, you know, it’s about a continuous acknowledgement that you have the ability to impact the day-to-day experience of others. It’s about, um, choosing stability as a point of characters that it becomes who you are more so than what you do. Um, it’s a conscious and consistent effort to ease the experience of others. And you do that through restraint. You do that through being trustworthy, which I know is, um, something that Kevin talks about a lot. Um, you do that by being consistent in terms of your personal and high standard, it morals, ethics, you know, it, it runs the gamut. Um, you know, we do work for everything from teaching university students interview at a kid all the way to some civil dialogue with United nations, you know, it’s this big broad thing. Okay.
Speaker 1 00:03:53 So Lou, what would be some signs of incivility in the workplace? So,
Speaker 2 00:03:59 So, um, we can talk about workplaces general NAPE and, uh, there are some specific things in manufacturing environment. So it’s everything from, um, general decreases in productivity to sabotage, to withdrawal from, uh, interaction and communications to increases in error rates. Um, we get a lack of collaboration, um, lower teamwork, you know, all sorts of the general metrics that we might look at in terms of collaboration and general communication. We see declines in all of those things, but things like, um, mental health, um, more physical ailments, people needing a longer to bounce back from stressful situations and ability to manage change. It’s quite a comprehensive list actually.
Speaker 1 00:04:49 Okay. So let’s, let’s talk a little bit about that. Civility is designed to build trust and stronger relationships. So how do you go about moving forward with this new approach? How do you, how do you actually start to maybe from ground zero, build that trust?
Speaker 2 00:05:09 Well, um, one of the interesting things is over the years, we’ve discovered that in organizations where there are all of these incivility symptoms, when we try to find the root cause, you know why at the end of the day, we found there was a strong correlation between low trust and high instability. And so when we looked at why is that happening? We discovered that in many of those environments, the leadership was to blame supervisors managers and in manufacturing, it’s that kind of mid and upper level. And it had more to do with people being kind of caught up in the moment, uh, doing what they had to do, behaving out of habit and not paying attention to the social nuances. So supervisors might be really skilled at their job technically, but who never really learned that when somebody tilts their head ever so slightly or takes a step backward or shifts their tone of voice, um, when they gesture in a certain way that you should pay attention.
Speaker 2 00:06:13 And, um, so social intelligence is one of the things that we start with particularly social radar, which is one of three components of social IQ. And when we teach people to read these cues, we discovered that they were significantly more, um, more able to build trust. So, um, you know, we’d say to an employee, why do you trust him and not him? And they, they could actually say to us, this is because he listens to me, well, how do you know he’s listening? And the supervisor would say, but I do listen, you know, and then we could discover that there were, uh, um, this cluster of behaviors that indicated certain moods and certain levels of accountability. And so we’ve devised a tool to that effect. Kevin, do you have any questions?
Speaker 3 00:07:09 Yeah, I’ve got about a hundred and I knew we were going to be doing this podcast. I was thinking back into times when things had maybe gone wrong in my kind of working environment. And so I wanted to bring up one specific, uh, situation. And that was where I had a leader at the time, my boss at the time. And he was, um, expecting me to work Sunday nights. And, you know, even though I, I had the team under control and I felt like everything was manageable. And in fact, he was my job to allow the team to manage themselves on a Sunday night. He was very much pushing me that you ought to be there. You ought to be overseeing it. You ought to be the why me in control of it. And it was the first time in my career. And, and possibly even the last time that I actually really got really angry, I, it was very unusual for me to be standing in a corridor with somebody and sh and screaming at them. Right. And that was a very situational example. Um, it’s not my normal behavior. I don’t consider myself to be in, in, in civil or whatever. However, you would put that, uh, in a general situation, but I felt like I was being pushed into something. How does this, uh, kind of like, how is this situational dependent on specific things that are happening rather than just labeling the person as civil or not?
Speaker 2 00:08:42 Right. So that’s a good question. And that’s, that’s the second component of social intelligence and I should have qualified all of this by saying that I mentioned at the beginning, stability is much more than manners. And so we know that civility is a measurable competency and that there are four skills that underpin the ability to be civil. They are social intelligence, cultural competence, systems thinking and continuous learning. But the easiest to teach and learn is a social intelligence because it’s based in experiential learning. So when you just spoke now of a situational aspect to things, um, this, um, social knowledge and social radar, two components of social intelligence combined create an ability for an individual to assess very, very quickly. Is this mode, is that, um, yelling, is that body language, is that a consistent or regular or typical behavior, or is that something that has, um, uh, arrived out of a context or a nuance or a social situation, and then somebody who has, um, high social acuity is able to adapt it.
Speaker 2 00:09:56 So in your case, if you’re not prone to this kind of, um, um, upset or raising your voice, your lack of restraint, if your leader was high, social intelligence, he would probably not hold a grudge about that. He would make the assumption that there’s some stress or Kevin’s under some digressed here, and he would be more forgiving and adaptive. It would not be a breach of trust in that circumstance, but where social acuity is low, people tend to take it personally. They tend not to listen. They just get caught up in the emotion. They see it as a physical aggression. Um, and they don’t really adapt to that social situation in a positive, uh, leader oriented way.
Speaker 3 00:10:45 So that’s a, that’s a matter of the, of the manager or the boss in that situation. Being able to see that it’s contextual, right. And then being able to make, um, what w I guess in a way, not make a judgment, but be able to see that there’s a specific stressor happening, and then be able to address that rather than categorize it as an ongoing behavior.
Speaker 2 00:11:10 That’s exactly right. And concurrent with teaching leaders to read those cues and interpret them. And that’s what this continuum tool does. It illustrates. Here’s a cluster of behaviors that we can label as an emotional category, a withdrawal, for example, here’s the behaviors. If you’re new to such like you, that you would watch for, if you check the box and you see these nine things, for example, the situation you gave, someone’s turning red. They’re a little bit out of breath. They’re yelling, they’re backing away. They’re punching like this, these, uh, gestures as a cluster would indicate, um, some sort of disappointment or upset, depending on the level of those. And then they continue to suggest here’s what to watch for that would indicate whether that was a character trait or an aspect of personality, or it’s actually behavioral. And if it’s behavioral manager that, that, or here’s how magic tricks.
Speaker 2 00:12:18 And then on the other hand, here’s how the individual location, if I, as your supervisor observe it here more than once so frequently, then I would teach you how to understand what your hot buttons are, so that you don’t get fired for being a loose cannon. Um, and I would teach you social intelligence so you can re feed, okay, I better calm mizing Matt. You know, so everybody plays a role, but depending on the power, um, you know, how the power is managed in that environment and what’s day, is it a health and safety issue, for example, in which case go ahead and yell, because if it’s a safety issue, you know, maybe that’s necessary to get people’s attention, but we would look at the situation for sure. We try to, um, teach people to assess kind of ongoing this observation and feedback that is such a big part of manufacturing. Right?
Speaker 3 00:13:26 Yeah. And then the other thing that crept up to be when we were, you know, we were first thinking about this podcast was, um, and you had mentioned a sabotage earlier on, uh, my, one of my younger brothers when we were, uh, when we were much younger, he was working at a, in a factory and it was a chip making factory, right. They were actually making frozen chips, French fries, and, uh, no, not, not electronic chips, French fries. And, uh, and as they were, you’re basically somebody pour these potatoes in one and somebody would chop them up and then they’d come along. And the job that my brother had at the time was to pick out the bad French fries, right. The ones that were bruised or black spots or something. And they really felt like that was a pretty meaningless job and that they didn’t get very many breaks.
Speaker 3 00:14:18 So it was also a frozen food place. So they were freezing cold. And what they realized was that they got a break every time the machine went down, every time that the machine failed, that it was a benefit to them, right. Because they’d be able to go and have a break and warm up and, and it was great. So they would have a conversation with the guy who’s pouring the potatoes into the machine. It’s just throw, throw a few too many in, so that it would break down and then everybody would take a break. And it was fantastic. Now that’s, that’s a simple example of sabotage, but it’s, I think what created that was, that was the environment where they didn’t feel like they were valued. There wasn’t the trust that they were going to get that breaks. There wasn’t the trust they were being looked after. There wasn’t any reward and recognition system for doing a better job. And so they led to that situation. And that, that must be one of, kind of like a classic for what you’re looking at here. How would we, how would we increase the productivity by doing things in a different way?
Speaker 2 00:15:22 Right. And, and so that, that’s a very good example of what we find in the field research is that almost 75% of the time, those initial behaviors that a supervisor would say, well, I they’re just stopping the machine on purpose. I don’t trust those guys. They’re lazy or whatever. What we find is that 75% of the time behaviors, the initial incivility, um, is based on mistrust. And when we look at a little bit deeper, it has to do with those baseline, what we would call, um, I don’t know if you’re familiar with Maslow’s hierarchy, those kind of baseline, uh, personal needs. So, um, it relates to, am I being paid fairly? Do I get a bathroom break? Is it safe here to people act like they actually care about me as a human being? Do I have safety gloves? You know, all of those sort of baseline needs.
Speaker 2 00:16:18 And if we could address those, and a lot of that is about just fair play in, in any workplace. Um, you know, we, we tend to put it onto this umbrella of safety for manufacturing, but, you know, oftentimes if we just ask people and if you actually listen, they will tell you what, what the problem is. And we chalk it up to something that’s based on our own experience or perception. And in reality, it’s very easy to fix and certainly not paying people well, not monitoring their physical health and the extent to which people get breaks that they’re deserving of. Um, that’s, that’s certainly uncivil on the part of the leadership and the organization, and it’s a definite breach of trust.
Speaker 3 00:17:05 So how, how so, how would you then, how would you then, uh, in that situation, have the conversation with the company to say, you’re, you’re kind of a cause of this, right? Um, this is not just people being a pain in the ass there says that, that there’s a reason for this behavior. And you’re kind of, you’re, you’re setting that cause a company is actually open to that kind of dialogue with you.
Speaker 2 00:17:37 Um, not always. Um, and my, of course I’m a civility experts, so I hit the benefit. Um, and this that we have for collaboration books actually, for related to stability and manufacturing, but Christian massage, who sadly couldn’t be with us today, but he, um, he has the experience on the floor and what I suspect he would say, uh, because I watched this, um, when we do our civility audits, is that the observation methodology and problem solving seems to work best. So when we ask, you know, the supervisor, why is it that operator online seven has had, um, line stoppages nine times in the last 24 hours? You know what, what’s that all about? You’ll start with a five why’s approach. Maybe why is the line stopping? Well, there’s no mechanical issues. No, you don’t, you have to get to them to the root cause. And sometimes, um, when they see that the root causes actually a lack of will, as opposed to a lack of skill. Um, and then it has more to do with the relational aspect of things and the operational aspect of things. Then they work a little harder to manage people’s side. Um, you know, sometimes there’s some embarrassment or disbelief for shame, you know, that supervisor doesn’t necessarily want to be accountable for some of those things, but at the end of the day, he or she in fact is accountable for those type of behaviors.
Speaker 1 00:19:10 What role, like I know that you have said that civility is measurable, so this it’s measurable. So can you track it right down to the bottom line and say, let’s fix these problems and you’re going to see your curve go, not this way, but this way in your, your profitability. So tell me how this is measurable.
Speaker 2 00:19:30 Oh, absolutely. You can. So, first of all, we can measure from a competency point of view, you know, we can assess people’s social intelligence. We can look at instabilities symptoms, you know, we can do that sort of measurement. But then, um, what we find is that people treatment tends to be a precursor, um, and aspect of continuous improvement that really supports and reinforces all the benefits of typical continuous improvement strategy. So for example, Christian references, that is the low hanging fruit. So things like people, um, withholding information, people, not sharing tribal knowledge, uh, people on the floor wasting time because they want to see the supervisor just suffering, go through it. Um, well delaying the quick to fit, you know, um, not sharing with the newest overall consistency and quality increases. Um, we can measure, um, bottom line metrics. Um, if you incorporate positive people treatment, a lot of those smaller, continuous improvement projects, the time and money spent on those need not happen at all.
Speaker 1 00:20:44 Dr. Lew Bayer is a civility expert and she is also a published author. She’s written two books with Christian Masotti about the manufacturing sector. One is called manufacturing civility, and the other is called lean on civility. When she joins us again, next week, she’s going to talk about a tool that she providing to listeners called the civility culture continuum brief, and she’ll explain how to use it. I hope you’ll join us. Then keep in mind, make it right. Is brought to you by Kevin Snook. He is a leadership advisor and author of the bestselling book, Make It Right – Five steps to align your manufacturing business from the frontline to the bottom line. You can find, make it right on Twitter and LinkedIn and subscribe through iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, and YouTube. I’m Janet Eastman. Thanks for listening to make it right.