At approximately the same time I was working on Gifford Brown’s presentation on lean discussed in my previous post, I was also responsible for developing our plant’s new peer-to-peer, non-monetary employee recognition program, which came to be called “Excellence in Action”. It’s focus was on recognizing and rewarding the behaviors that supported Cleveland Engine Plant 2’s Cleveland Production System.
This program provided employees at all levels of the organization an opportunity to recognize fellow workers in the categories of Leadership, Involvement, Innovation & Ingenuity, Effort, Quality and Safety.
I designed the logo shown here. It was a nice way of depicting the continuous improvement cycle. Leaders need to experience a level of excellence before they can start to expect it. Then, they need to exude the behaviors that they should expect their employees to exhibit. If leaders experience excellence, exude it and expect it, then they need to recognize and reward it when they see it to reinforce the appropriate behaviors. When this cycle is completed, a new level of excellence will have been achieved.
Recently, I had an opportunity to share this concept as part of a leadership retreat at another organization and made a slight adjustment to indicate the link to continuous improvement and moving forward. The revised image is below.
What’s valued in any organization gets measured, recognized and rewarded. As you align your organization, start with an expectation of excellence. Define what excellence means to you and then model it, so that others can follow you. Design and align your systems to support your principles and values and make process improvement tools available to all employees and encourage them to experiment and learn.
As you will see as I continue my posts, I like to model my thoughts and present them visually in order to demonstrate alignment. If the pieces can’t fit together to tell a story, chances are the concepts won’t work.
I’ve been fortunate to have experienced excellence and it is a great feeling.
I’m interested in hearing other stories on how you’ve set expectations and experienced excellence.