On Friday, I spent much of the day with one of our supervisors and a production associate. We were attempting to produce a new product. The key word here is "attempt" because, after several hours, we ended up pulling off the trial and switching the machine over to a new product.
Faced with this failure, I smiled.
Sure, we failed to meet our intended objective for the day.
However, in many ways, the day was also a success.
In the process of working on the product, we had the chance to interact and learn about each other. For example, I learned that the production associate used to run and play soccer. This naturally progressed to me sharing my interest in running and that I had been out on the road running at 5 AM that day. I then told him that another one of our associates had also been an avid runner. In other words, we created connections.
This day was a also a bit of a rude awakening for me.
I realized that, in the process of focusing on cost reductions and scrap reductions, I had started to lose focus on our people.
And, dang it, setting up this product was hard work - both physically and mentally. By the end of the day, I was extremely impressed by the efforts of the supervisor and the production associate.
And, sure, we may have failed, but maybe, just maybe, we also succeeded.