Manufacturing in 2022: Are You Ready?
Jim King 01.21.2022
Recently we had a session with the leadership teams from our distribution network, and one of the key themes we discussed was charting the course for our organizations in 2022. While we acknowledge that we’ll likely face unusual challenges along the way that may linger (such as ongoing waves of the virus and its variants, or supply chain interruptions), this doesn’t mean we should stand still until they resolve.
It’s Time to Participate
At present the manufacturing industry is seeing rising demand, so now is the time to find ways to participate in fulfilling these needs and growing our companies. I believe we stand at a critical juncture where a proactive, intentional stance will serve us well. As we get underway in 2022, let’s be thinking about how we can create a New Way Forward for our organizations.
Remain Focused on Your Windshield
A key question leaders must ask themselves is, how do we reinvigorate our organizations after a period of forced hibernation? We need to be focused on the windshield, not the rear-view mirror, because looking forward provides a much wider view. Envision and plan for what’s in front of us, not behind us.
Back to the Business of Winning
If you look at recent indicators in the manufacturing industry, the numbers are strong. The market is showing readiness for growth, and this doesn’t surprise me. In my 45 years in business, manufacturing has led the way in almost every recovery, and we’re doing it again. It seems clear we’re in a phase of acceleration, but the question is, are we prepared to participate? To my mind, we need to get back to the business of winning again, which has always been the heart and soul of the manufacturing industry.
Reignite the Fires
This brings us to the question of “how”, and this really involves how to reignite the fires of people who’ve been, by no choice of their own, in somewhat of a holding pattern. Following are some of the steps we’re taking here at Okuma America.
Set some Big Hairy Audacious Goals (BHAGs). I’m a fan of the work done by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras in the book Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies. One of their concepts revolves around the idea of setting Big Hairy Audacious Goals as a means of inspiring people to think creatively and take significant action. I’ve used this technique over the years and have discovered – BHAGs that at first seem almost preposterous can become very attainable when you focus the positive energies of the organization on them. Now is the time to set some aggressive goals while infusing positive energy back into the organization.
Lead by example. Once your goals are set, lead the charge by taking action toward those goals. Suggest strategies to your team and ask for feedback and collaboration. This is a great way to help people shift gears from a parked position into picking up speed and gathering momentum.
Actively solicit participation. Now is a time when we need our teams to be performing at their highest levels. Ask for everyone’s support and full engagement. Show them you’re fully invested in achieving established goals and ask members to join in the process of achieving them.
Are You Ready?
For nearly two years now we’ve been hunkered down in whatever safe space we can create. But the time has come to leave that space and ramp up to full-speed manufacturing again. Invigorate your positive energy and stoke the fires in your team. Be intentional about preparing your organization, and let’s make sure we’re all ready to maximize opportunities in 2022.