Man reaching top of mountain to achieve his goal.As the manufacturing industry continues to become more and more complex, the need for talented manufacturing leadership remains the same. Nothing is more critical to any manufacturing company than having the right manufacturing talent to sustain its operations.

According to the Manufacturing Performance Institute (2013), to prosper into the next generation, manufacturers must embrace these six Next Generation Manufacturing strategies:

  1. Customer-focused innovation
  2. Engaged people/ human capital acquisition, development, and retention
  3. Superior processes/ improvement focus
  4. Supply-chain management and collaboration
  5. Sustainability
  6. Global Engagement

It’s my belief that success starts with your people. Only with an engaged workforce, will you be able to achieve: customer-focused innovation, superior processes, supply-chain innovation, and long-term sustainability.

We know that turnover is rampant in many organizations. We know that millennials are now moving into managerial and leadership positions, yet on average, leave for a new job after three years of employment.

We know all of this, yet most manufacturing companies are lacking an essential element: developing their top talent. There is an urgent need for more deliberate Leadership Development opportunities in manufacturing companies.

“Only 35% [of manufacturing companies] have both talent and programs in place — and 28% have neither talent or development programs in place” (MPI, 2013).

When developing a Leadership Development Program or individual development opportunities for your people, keep in mind the following principles:

  1. Leadership can be learned and can be measured
  2. Leaders exist at all levels of the organization, and must be developed at all levels
  3. Leadership Development is contextual (just like Leadership)
  4. Leadership development is a process, not a one-time event
  5. Learn by doing (70-20-10 model)
  6. Individuals to be developed should be selected based on performance, potential, and readiness
  7. Leadership Development follow-up is required
  8. Leadership Development starts with a Leadership Competency Model
  9. Visible and active Senior Leadership support is critical
  10. Strategic business alignment is crucial
  11. * Bonus Principles: The best Leadership Development opportunities have: Assessment, Challenge, Support, & Feedback

With these principles in mind, you can get started creating specific developmental opportunities for your critical leadership. It’s best to assess the current leadership capabilities of your team to measure return on investment of your efforts. Follow-up with creating opportunities that include challenge, to have individuals step outside of their comfort zone, support from Leadership and the organization, so individuals know they are on the right path, and of course feedback to let them know how they are doing.

One simple example may be incorporating team huddles where everyone has a chance to speak and share how their line is operating, any potential issues, ideas for improvement, etc.

If you would like assistance discussing how to create effective and customized developmental opportunities for your people, please reach out to us! For more information on this topic, please sign-up for our upcoming webinar “Why Your Manufacturing Talent Never Meets Its Goals: 10 Principles of Leadership Development to Transform Your People into A World-Class Leadership Team.”

Your Personal Action Plan:

  1. Identify high-potential talent in your organization based on performance, potential, and readiness.
  2. Create developmental opportunities for them that include: Assessment, Challenge, Support, & Feedback.
  3. Sign-up for the upcoming webinar to learn more.