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Mike and Mark,

First thanks for all the work you guys put into this site and pod cast. I know it has made me more effective in dealing with the people I work with. The ideas you express apply very broadly and are not the generic platitudes found in most management books. So thanks again.

Now my question. I am not a manager. I am a truckdriver for the plant I work at. But I am being named the chairman of the safety committee for the plant. This is to my knowledge the first time the chair has not been a member of management. There are two unions at the plant, one for the people in the plant and one for the transport team. The work will consist of a lot of follow-up with everyone from the new and temp people to the plant manager. But I will never have any authority, the role is strictly advisory. So my question is what advice would you have for me in the transition into the new role?

Thanks again,

Robert

Mark's picture

Robert-

A truck driver wanting to learn about management. Do you have any sisters/ :wink: What you're doing is what career development is all about - self-driven, focused on a goal. Well done you.

To your question: It is ALL about RELATIONSHIPS. The conflicting power structures of company, individual, union, different union, roles.... WOW.

1. If you can pick your team, do so. Pick people whom you trust, who can be counted upon to do what they say they're going to do, and those with whom you can be in a 5 hour meeting and not want to kill.

2. Regardless of (1) above, spend time on individual relationships. Get to know everyone. (Don't do one on ones, though). Lunches together, coffee breaks, a barbecue at your house, beers after work. Make this a top 2-3 issue of your role, and spend time on it every week. You don't have to talk safety... talk each other.

3. Spend time forming your team. Use our member cast about intro meetings. Some will scoff, but all will benefit. Use our meeting techniques as far as agendas and notes and facilitating.

4. Report frequently to management, and make sure others hear what you're reporting, either because management shares openly or you publicize.

5. Find out what the plant manager and key union people want from the committee. What is its charter, how is it measured? Ask repeatedly of key people what they "mean" when they speak vaguely... and they will. Probe. It's touchy, but worth it early.

6. Relationship, relationships, relationships.

7. And then results against your measures will happen.

Mark

Torch's picture

All good advice, thanks.

Funny thing is there is no charter or system of measurement right now. But management agreed that we should at least have a goal for the committee, so thats a step in the right direction. And I am lucky enough to have the last chair on my side with some good advise on what he wished he had the time to do when he was the chair.

And sorry no sister, :evil:

Robert

Mark's picture

Robert-

That sounds GREAT! Talk to everyone you can, and find out what they think the safety cmte. SHOULD do. Call a bunch of similar and non-similar companies around and ask what their safety records are and if they have a cmte what it does. Talk to the governmental body that assesses these things, and find out what they know.

It's going to be fun, and if you worry about people and processes, it will leave a great legacy.

Mark

Torch's picture

Just a quick update,

I am loving this, I have found something I am deeply passionate about. So far I have been trying to focus on building relationships and find out what changes management and the union's feel are needed. With the move to a new plant everyone feels this is the best chance to change the culture. I know I am going to start facing challenges soon but I am trying to build the relationships I will need to overcome them and bring the three sides together.

Thanks for all you help and advice,

Robert

Mark's picture

Robert-

Glad you're doing well and we were able to help a bit. Sounds like you're off to a great start. Let us know how we can help along the way.

Mark