Competing July 2006

Lack of Trust The Ninth Waste?

Developing effective teamwork is extremely difficult. What would it take to improve your teamwork? Does trust affect teamwork?

Company leaders; do your reports trust you, does ownership or your board of directors trust you? Do you trust them?

Managers/Supervisors; do you trust your boss? Do your reports trust you?
Everyone else; do you trust your boss? Your boss’s boss?

We all know the eight wastes and the negative affect they have on operations, customer service and profitability:

  1. Overproduction
  2. Inventory excess/storage
  3. Repairs/rejects
  4. Unnecessary motion
  5. Process inefficiency
  6. Waiting
  7. Transportation (parts and materials)
  8. Underutilizing people – skills, experience, creativity…………….

Some businesses are committed to create and maintain teamwork. I know of two professional sports teams who devote time and money to developing trust among the team members. The Philadelphia Flyers professional ice hockey team spent time at West Point building trust and team work in the fall of 2005. The CSC professional bike racing team spent time in military training in Europe focused on mutual trust and teamwork. Why would they do this? They are already a team of well-paid professionals. Why do they need to focus on creating trust? Both teams contain people from different cultures who speak different languages. Does your company have this situation? If not, do you have trust at all levels? If you don’t why not?

You need effective teamwork to continuously improve operations. Goals and objectives must be team oriented supporting effective teams not individual heroes.
Lack of trust impedes cultural change. Cultural change is a requirement of lean conversion and critical to attaining world-class competitiveness, profitability, and the creation of a better place to work.

And what’s in it for your company? The Toyota Production System has proven itself over and over again in manufacturing, distribution, administrative, service and retail. Identifying then eliminating waste continuously simply works and leads to: improved customer order fulfillment, lower costs, improved quality, shorter lead time, greater flexibility, increased capacity, reduced inventory etc.

Some suggestions to enhance an environment of trust

  1. Frequently hold company wide meetings to discuss issues openly and honestly
  2. Leaders, be noticed noticing or walk the talk
  3. Leaders, Managers, Supervisors; strategic alignment is critical to earning trust. Clarify and simplify your message and tell the truth.
  4. When you make a mistake admit it and take the opportunity to do it publicly. This is a huge step in earning credibility and trust.
  5. Encourage effective teamwork by rewarding appropriately
  6. Discourage individual “heroes” remember……it’s about teamwork
  7. Create a company-wide single measure, or scoreboard, illustrating measurable objectives everyone can affect,

One Comment

  1. Mark Graban

    Unfortunately, I think distrust runs rampant through American industry (not just manufacturing). Its sad that the ideas of W. Edwards Deming and “eliminating fear” in the workplace didn’t take hold.

    Is lack of a trust a separate, ninth waste? I’d lump it into the root causes of the 8th type of waste. Lack of trust means you won’t get the most out of your people.

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