Monday, August 21, 2017

Scary Stuff

I didn't think they cared.
Of course, I knew God cared.
He sent me an eclipse.
I shared it with everyone.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Management and Leadership

man·age·ment ˈmanijmənt/ noun
  1. 1.
    the process of dealing with or controlling things or people.
    "the management of elk herds"
  2. 2.
    archaic trickery; deceit.

(I wasn't going to consider the 2nd, but I realize that some see the second definition of "management" as a tool to accomplish the first ☺)

lead·er·ship lēdərˌSHip/  noun
  1. the action of leading a group of people or an organization.

    synonyms: guidance, direction, control, management, superintendence, supervision; 

______________________________________________________
I've noticed that a lot of managers I've dealt with equate the terms Management and Leadership, treating the two as if they were interchangeable.

I maintain that you can manage or control things other than people (elk herds?) and know nothing about leadership.
You might even manage groups of people without a knowledge of how to lead them. See that second definition involving deceit.

Management is pretty much an analysis of the goal and finding the resources to get to the goal.

Goal: Get a team of people to a conference in Chicago.
       1. Find address and time.
       2. Call Travelocity and find rooms and airline tickets.
       3. Email/Fedex results to team members.
Management can often be paid for in cash.

Leadership on the other hand is getting people to make your agenda, their agenda. Getting them to buy in to your vision.

Leadership cannot be paid for in cash. It is purchased with example, loyalty, support, information and trust (a synonym for faith).

Good management can get a return of up to 100%.
Good leadership will get more than that.

So what makes a good leader?
I once was a young airman who was in charge of the barracks upkeep.
The guys (and I) did the cleaning routines and I oversaw that it was done right. One day I got notice of a surprise inspection and I snuck out of class to double check the barracks. Of course, if you do it right, you don't have to double back, but that's a different topic.
I was met at the entry by the Colonel conducting the inspection, and he invited me to join him.

He could have asked why I wasn't in class (lesson 1).
We walked through the barracks and he commented favorably 
(lesson 2).
We came to the bathroom and he stopped at a urinal.
He said that the drain of the urinal needed better cleaning. 
(lesson 3).
I replied that we had tried scrubbing and chemicals.
He then pulled a pocketknife, opened it and scraped the crud, showed it to me on the blade and then proceeded to wash his hands and knife in the sink. (lesson 4).
Obviously, if he could do it, I was expected to.

He had given me an example (at personal expense), respected my position as a subordinate (no screaming, yelling), given me information (good and bad) I needed to do my job, and trusted me to make the changes needed to accomplish his goal at the same time making his goal, my goal.

I still remember the names of many of the supervisors and managers I've worked for over the years. The good and the bad.
At my dad's funeral, a number of men who had worked for him over the years came to the funeral, much to my surprise. They each spoke of his support for them and what a great guy he had been to work for.

As employees, we spend the majority of our waking hours at our place of employment. 
A good leader can be the difference between loathing the job and, if not looking forward to it, at least not hating it.
Retention of good employees being important to an operation in order to keep the expertise and continuity of process in house, it's critical that a manager also lead well.
 
If your employees are an investment of salary and benefits, good leadership is the key to getting a greater return on investment.
A good leader can get a team to put out 110%.

So what makes a good leader? What can make a team respect you, follow you and accomplish the goals you set?
A great leader once gave one of the best techniques that can have an impact on your ability to lead:
Treat others as you yourself would like to be treated.

Words to live by.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Charlottesville

Want to get rid of relics of slavery and the confederacy?
Ban the Party of Slavery!

Ban the Democratic Party!

In other related news, Pitchpull has pointed out to me that Google reports that Lincoln belonged to the National Union Party, not the newly formed Republican Party.

At least Wiki got it right.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Sessions vs Trump, a Management Issue

Department of Justice regulation, 28 CFR 45.2
C. DOJ-Specific Conflict of Interest Regulation:   No DOJ employee may participate in a criminal investigation or prosecution if he has a personal or political relationship with any person or organization substantially involved in the conduct that is the subject of the investigation or prosecution, or who would be directly affected by the outcome.  28 CFR 45.2
Political relationship means a close identification with an elected official, candidate, political party or campaign organization arising from service as a principal advisor or official; personal relationship means a close and substantial connection of the type normally viewed as likely to induce partiality.
 D. Impartiality in Performing Official Duties
1. An employee may not participate in a particular matter involving specific parties affecting the financial interests of a member of his household, or when a person with whom he has a covered relationship is, or represents a party.
2. A covered relationship includes one involving:
a. Someone with whom he has or seeks a business relationship;
b. A member of the employee's household;
c. A relative with whom the employee has a close relationship;
d. A present or prospective employer of a spouse, parent or child; and
e. An organization in which the employee serves or has served in the past year as an employee, attorney or active participant.
3. The employee may disqualify himself or he may be authorized in writing to participate in the matter if the interest of the Department outweighs the appearance of a conflict.  The determination should be based on: a) the nature of the relationship; b) the effect of the resolution of the matter on the financial interest; c) the nature and importance of the employee's role; d) the sensitivity of the matter; and e) the difficulty of reassigning it.


So.
Sessions was confirmed early February and recused himself early March. He may have been unaware of the implications of the above.

Given the above regulation, did he have any choice in the matter but to recuse? I suppose so, but there would have been ramifications. Only Trump could excuse him per the above reg.


Sessions was not issued the Pass that all Democrat presidents issue to subordinates (such as Holder and Lynch).

So why is Trump treating Session the way he is?
Better minds than I have not explained it.



In the right book, this would end with an announcement of a large bust of leakers/spies who were indicted because Trump and Sessions had engaged in a charade to make them feel confident in exposing themselves somehow.

In reality, it's probably just petulance, stress, poor management technique.

Good managers have private (usually documented) corrective action meetings with subordinates.
I've done it and had it done to me.

Sometimes it's just an effort to get you to quit so your boss doesn't have to fire you. 

Maybe so you are not fired for your sake, or because he can't bring himself to do it for his sake.

We'll know soon enough. Maybe.


Thursday, July 20, 2017

And Now It Can Be Told...

Last year I took a position of Maintenance/Automation Manager.
It was a good job.

I was responsible for 6 presses and the robots and other associated equipment, including facilities.
In the first year I brought major savings to the company and contributed greatly to the automation of the processes.
We grew to 8 presses.
Each press has ovens associated with it to heat the steel blanks to 1600 degrees Fahrenheit to press harden the stampings.
This was our core business and we were excellent at it.
GM considered us a preferred supplier.
There was an engineering group that was responsible for bringing in new equipment.
They didn't communicate with us much.
They designed three robotic welding cells that were delivered at Christmas.
(They were over engineered. Too complicated.)
No training, no ramp up, no back up plan.

I have spent the last several months trying to make everything run.
The engineering group quit.
I was in the plant night and day.

There were allegations that my midnight weld tech was smoking dope so HR enthusiastically fired him.
My afternoon and dayshift techs didn't like working 12 hrs 7 days to cover.
So they quit.
I hired others, and after a while THEY  quit.

The company is Korean owned and someone thought it would be a good idea to bring a couple techs from Korea to help.
It might have worked if they spoke english.
Or knew what they were doing.

My boss, the Director of Operations hired a "weld engineer" who I recognized as not equipped for the position. I once did the work myself.
GM and Chrysler also criticized his work, but that wasn't enough. I told my boss on a few occasions that this wasn't sustainable and that his refusal to spend money for good help was killing us.
The weld engineer needed to report to someone who knew welding. Me.
He and I agreed to a plan.
Then he reneged.
Then he told me I misunderstood.
I went to his boss under open door.
His boss told me I hadn't misunderstood because he was aware of the plan.
I had a closed door meeting with my boss where I accused him of lying to me.
He said he hadn't lied, he'd changed his mind.
I told him that he should have informed me of the change of plans as they affected me.
I spent 80 hrs on three shifts a week keeping the place running.
I worked the four day July Fourth weekend each day to cover absenteeism.
The overtime was required because of customer rejections primarily due to the weld quality.
I want to emphasize that I complained to the president about this more than once.

I was continually cleaning up mistakes made by the weld engineer (who was involving himself in programming) and the Koreans who wete on the midnight shift, which sufffered greatly.
Scherie and I were praying for relief, even if they fired me for continually complaining about the stupidity.
July 5th, I awoke after working the weekend, and God clearly let me know that I would be terminated that day.
I was relieved.
And they did.
The guys and ladies who worked for me expressed their regret at my leaving.
Two managers and a quality engineer have quit since and so has the Director of Ops.

God has given me a peace that He will take care of Scherie and I.
He has.
I start my new job a week from Monday at more pay, fewer hours.

Scherie and I are on our way to Connecticut to visit our son Scott whose sub is in port.
I'm burning off the vacation I was owed and could never take.

I've discovered I have a work "jones".
The first couple weeks, I was in withdrawal,  dreaming of being in work situations.
That's gone now.
Now I look forward to working with new faces and new processes.
God is good.