Keynote Speaker Michael Levin on Leadership and Management: TOOL TIME: How Your Front Line Benefits from an Entrepreneurial Workplace

May 24, 2018

There is a real power when you can get your front line believing in an entrepreneurial workplace.  When they take on initiatives instead of waiting on their Manager to solve their problems, it creates tremendous gains in many respects.

Michael J Levin Took Time photo

In my workshops, the attendees choose action plans so they can put into practice what they’ve learned.  Some of my clients, and I really appreciate when they do this, train their front line employees, not just their Management and Leadership team.  The key to these action plans working is:

  • Employees feel empowered to resolve a problem
  • They’ve been properly motivated and inspired to realize they can impact the situation
  • They’re held accountable and responsible when given that responsibility

With one client, a couple members of the front line took on changing their tool check in/check out process.  Now this may seem minor.  It’s not.  Especially to the front line employees, it’s extremely important for them to find the tools they need and extremely frustrating when they can’t.  Plus it dramatically impacts productivity.

This company had a real issue with tools not being checked in and out properly.  I have found this to be a common problem.  In this case, as with others, it’s not as though the Managers hadn’t required tools to be returned.  It just wasn’t the same level of priority to them.

Normally the front line is waiting for their Manager to resolve this problem.  It’s not as though the Manager never said anything.  It just wasn’t there focus, hitting productivity numbers was.  Yet it doesn’t always resonate to the Manager that missing tools are hurting their numbers.

When the employees however feel empowered, motivated and inspired to solve the problem themselves, that’s when good things happen.  They know how to solve it as they are closest to the issue.

As well, when the line staff works together to develop the process and gets buy-in from their teammates, everyone adheres to the process.

When we had our next session, the front line team that took on this project was very excited.  They had developed a new process.  They talked with their teammates and secured their agreement.  And it worked.  Every single tool had been checked out properly.  Every single tool had been checked in properly.  They knew where all tools were at all times.

Plus, the front line team realized the impact they could have.  They didn’t need their Managers to solve all their problems for them.  Not only could they solve them, it was far more powerful and beneficial to all of them when they took the ownership.

I personally find it very inspirational when I see the line staff realizes the impact they can have and how an entrepreneurial workplace benefits them.