Nicole had the numbers posted. She was still working side by side with the team, helping on the line, but at least the numbers were posted.
“But, we didn’t make our goal,” Nicole shook her head. “That’s why I was afraid to write the numbers on the white board, before.”
I ignored her body language. “Nicole, I want you to add another number to the board. I want you to post yesterday’s numbers next to the goal numbers. For right now, I just want you to focus your team on improvement over yesterday.”
“Well, that should be easy,” snorted Nicole.
“That’s the point. Make improvement easy. Then focus on it.”
Ernesto was on a roll. Emily was now seated in a chair at the front of the class.
“Emily, you think there is a morale problem on the production line, but that’s not the problem. You know your team is not meeting the daily target, but you haven’t shared the numbers with them. ‘A little short today, try to do better tomorrow.’ Bottom line, you are not telling the truth because you are afraid to hurt someone’s feelings. By not telling the whole truth, the accurate truth, you have made them incapable of improvement.”
Emily’s body language was retreating. Ernesto continued.
“And you have created co-dependents out of them. They are just fine not knowing what the target is. As long as they don’t know, they don’t have to perform to it.
“When you tell them they are short, they think it’s your problem not theirs. They are perfectly willing to continue this non-accountable relationship. No skin off their nose.”
The color in Emily’s face began to pale. I called a time out. The room was very still and quiet.
I jumped in. “The problem we name is the problem we solve. That is why it is so important to name the problem correctly,” I said. “How will we name this problem?”