Manager’s Anxiety with Production Improvement—Part 2*

The last Blog suggested that the Production Manager (PM) seek the help of his employees to improve productivity. Here is an example of how this can be done.

Remember that the PM had a production problem. But he was worried that his solution might fail and if it did, his company would be in more trouble…not to mention his job. I suggested getting help from his employees—but how can he do that?

Here is what I have done. Imagine this scene

The PM has assembled all in his group including you. The PM says:

“I’m sure that you all are aware that our production difficulties are costing us sales and profits. We have to do something about it.

“Here is what I suggest that we do.”

He then proceeds to explain his plan. Imagine he has told you what he proposes.

The PM is completing his suggestion: “So that is what I think we need to do.”

There may be several things he could do right now; for example he could say: “Okay, everyone, let’s get on with it. Thank you.” That would be a fairly typical ending, right?

However suppose instead he said: “That is what I think we need to do. However, I am not sure it covers everything. In fact, I am concerned that my plan may be wrong in some ways. I would like your help to improve the plan.”

Imagine that he looks directly at you and says, “I think many of you may be able to help make this plan better. Would you please help me…help us?”

How do you feel—right now—as you read these words?’

If you had an idea, would you be willing to tell the PM?

Suppose you noticed that he has been moving his gaze to others as he is speaking, asking all of you to help. How do you think others in the group are feeling?

Are you feeling valued? Are the other employees?

If yes, think about why; if no, think about what was missing.

If you were PM, do you think you could ask your employees for help?

More on that in the next Blog.

Don’t want to wait? Then go to and check the tab “Successful Real Change.”

* Adapted from Lead Change without Fear by Paul Schnitzler