Handling Work Intentionally Done Wrong?

By Lance Winslow (September 27, 2013)

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If you are an employee of a company, let me give you some advice; you should never do any work intentionally wrong. Sure, that good career advice and I suppose you don’t see yourself ever doing anything like that, but I am also certain you’ve seen someone else do it. Not long ago, I was having a conversation about this with an acquaintance of mine who works in a manufacturing type industry.

He specifically asks how I have dealt with “handling work intentionally done wrong?” Intentionally done wrong, questioned the question. Well, I’d want to find out why! Disgruntled employee, cutting corners, malice, or sabotage? That’s a scary thought. I’ve seen union employees do this to get back at a company, and angry workers purposely do something like that. In my own company I’ve caught people doing things incorrectly – on purpose – suffice it to say I was not amused in the least.

In the fleet truck wash business we gauged production bonuses for units completed – following my ancestor’s model “Fredrick Winslow Taylor” and sometimes in their haste to hit bonus numbers they’d cut corners, quality slacked, and customers got upset. For me that was a BIG DEAL, because one office for a trucking terminal, if that manager was on a conference call and mentioned we did a crappy job, terminal managers in 6-10 states might know about it, and that hurt other team members, franchisees, company owned units and my reputation as well, screw that.

Can proper bonuses work to keep people doing it right – sometimes, but not all the time, the motivation to do things wrong is a personal issue, and emotional decision – and almost always a bad decision. Now then, when it comes to bonuses – the bonuses must be individual based, special team based, customer satisfaction based, production based and quality based, so do them the best of any company on this planet.

Not number two, screw number two, be number one, that’s what this company is about and if you are not about that, you are in the wrong company! That was my motto. Vince Lombardi rocks! I am not saying everyone has to be a Clark Kent, but they should be striving to be, work in progress and walking the talk.

So, it’s not just units produced, units produced without flaws, the 99.8% Six Sigma way. Give bonuses for ideas to increase efficiency, streamline work flows, ask for ideas, give those ideas their proper due, a simple color coding of materials could speed up the fork lift loader by 2-minutes searching for the right metal grades, or could help those looking for the next job order clip-board a few seconds, every little bit that makes sense (cents) makes dollars too.

Yes, as you can see, I think a lot about this. Production, efficiency, quality, customer service, team work, winning = profits, and profits are good! They represent proof of efficiency in free-markets. No they aren’t all of it, but the score board matters. Bureaucracies run a little different, different goals, but whatever those goals are – truly are – there is no excuse for not achieving them in the most efficient and expeditious manner, and before you take on new challenges, have that foundation running like a Swiss Watch first!

If someone purposely is doing something wrong, you need to know why, remove that employee for cause, reprimand them, or get them to do it right from now on without waiver – then trust but verify. Communication during this process is essential. Please consider all this and think on it.