How to Launch a Culture Change

In this day of tight labor markets, many companies are looking to their culture as a way of attracting and retaining talented employees. The question is where to begin. For some, they will look to enhancing employee benefits and offering more flexible work rules. Others will focus on the physical workspace, creating more open space where workers can congregate and interact. There is nothing wrong with these approaches, but they fall far short of what we identify as real culture change. 

Read More
Alan Weinstein
The Uptime Story: A Lost Opportunity to Reduce the Cost of Production

Over the years, General Motors, based on its experience in setting up manufacturing lines, bought large pieces of machinery that would give it the ability to produce the volume of parts needed to meet forecasted demand. With that forecast information, it was possible to estimate the number of acceptable parts that would be needed to be assembled into finished products. Management could then order the equipment that would be required to produce the anticipated volume of parts. 

Read More
Alan Weinstein
A Case Study in Transformation through Culture Change

Note: This blog was written by Jim Frost, a protégé of Don Rust. Jim is a retired GM operations executive who works as a change agent, executive coach, and leadership expert. We invited him to share his experience in transforming a failing company into a highly energized employee- and customer-centric company.  

Read More
The Power of Appreciation

“The deepest principle of human nature is the craving to be appreciated.”

Much has been written on the positive psychological and physiological effects of appreciation.  Yet, in some industries, particularly in manufacturing, many executives exhibit the attitude that workers are paid for their work, and that is the extent of the employment relationship.

Read More
USING CULTURE CHANGE TO ATTRACT AND RETAIN TALENTED EMPLOYEES

Employee engagement has become a major initiative in organizations attempting to improve their performance. It makes sense: Engaged employees are committed and more likely to volunteer their energy toward organizational goals. How to create this energy is not as clear. We believe the key to engagement is to create a culture that will unleash energy toward organizational goals and improved performance. 

Read More
What Does it Take to Lead an Organizational Culture Change?

There are two major conditions necessary to create an organizational culture change: first, there must be a compelling reason to change and, second, there needs to be a leader who will engage organizational members in change.  In their recent book, Unleashing Human Energy through Culture Change Don Rust and Alan Weinstein tell the story of how a major manufacturing plant of General Motors, two weeks from closure, not only changed its culture but set a world record in production. 

Read More
Alan Weinstein
The Pivotal Role of Human Energy

Human energy is not easily measured.   Even within the discipline of industrial engineering, we do not currently have any valid way to measure it in units.  Yet, it can be inferred that once released, human energy can make something happen.  We all possess a certain amount of energy that can be called upon when we have a task to perform, and, depending on the magnitude of the task, we can probably complete it and then go on to another task.  Whether we are willing to limit our energy output or expend it beyond what is normally called for is an open question that every organization must deal with.  Clearly, whichever of these paths is taken will make a difference in productivity and performance.

Read More
Setting the Stage for Culture Change

Our story begins with one of the most powerful and successful companies in the world self-destructing and ultimately declaring bankruptcy. The seeds of destruction were apparent even during its most successful years, when it reported strong sales and financial results. In 1965, General Motors owned 60 percent of the U.S. automobile market and was making inroads into markets in other countries. The company’s biggest fear at the time was that the government would file an antitrust suit against it and divide it into smaller units. Those fears were short-lived, as market share plummeted, and a long, gradual decline of the company ensued. GM’s most recent market share in the U.S. is under 20 percent.

Read More
Alan Weinstein