Making a shift to a people-centric approach empowers employees

Governor of Victoria, Linda Dessau with her husband Tony Howard, left, are shown Note Printing’s operations by Matt Kendall.

Management can get “stuck in their ways” when it comes to the daily operations of a workplace, according to Peter Ballas, head of business excellence at Note Printing Australia. Coming to the realisation that change is needed, is easier said than done. However, once that realisation is made, Ballas said a company, and individuals, can change dramatically for the benefit of a business.

Ballas is a mechanical engineer by trade, and focusing energy on creating a people-first approach to business isn’t something he was always accustomed to. “It’s quite confronting because as an engineer you get taught to follow process in a technical perspective.”

He said now more than ever, the thinking in a successful workplace is more people-focused and knowing the psychology behind how to interact with people is important. Ballas learned this through his experience as a member of the Association for Manufacturing Excellence (AME). Through ongoing workshops, site visits and conferences, AME helps connect industry leaders to learn from each other and industry experts to excel in their fields.

“My approach has changed by seeing what the AME leaders and practitioners are doing,” said Ballas. After meeting Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company operations director Billy Taylor, who was a speaker at an AME conference, Ballas was able to learn about how Goodyear implemented operational excellence from him.

“I met Billy at a 2017 AME conference in Australia. I was sharing my challenges in my environment and he happened to be good enough to show me what he was up to and that just lit a bush fire that kept burning. The AME has a tag line – Learn, Share and Grow, and I certainly experienced that.

“I’m starting to get a handle on the personal transformation I’ve had to undergo with my own thinking, behaviours and attitudes – even to core values and getting my mind around leading with humility.

“Billy has been an ongoing influencer. It’s a massive change from a personal point of view,” said Ballas.

Taylor specialises in operations management and leadership, and he builds high performance self-sustaining teams through employee engagement and empowerment. Taylor will be speaking at an AME-run, two-day conference, at the William Angliss Conference Centre in Melbourne from May 7-8, 2019.

“The conference is a great chance to see what the best of the best are doing,” said Ballas.

“I’ve always come out with new ideas of what I could be doing for my business. It’s a fantastic forum for ideas exchange, networking and site visits.”

On May 9, Note Printing and AME are presenting a workshop, in Victoria, with Taylor as the guest presenter. The workshop, Building a World Class Daily Management Process, will help management build a sustainable framework for their businesses. Taylor will demonstrate how to develop and implement a daily management process that can turn poor performing organisations to the best.

This biggest takeout from Taylor’s sharing has been the impact on people, as his methodology provides clarity and purpose to day-to-day operations and encourages people to step up and drive the business forward.

Ballas said managers often get stuck in their ways, but being open to modern, innovative strategies can improve business significantly. “Senior managers often rely on what’s worked in the past. That may not be what we need in the future. The workshop provides the knowhow on building a management framework that allows managers to understand and cope with complexity.”

Ballas said that while management and other employees used to work separately, it’s becoming more important to have a collaborative and inclusive approach. “We’ve got to be open to this change.”

The workshop is practical and hands-on, allowing people to learn how to set up an effective daily management process that will communicate and visualise their strategy, which is integrated with an effective control and governance process to ensure tactical execution stays on track.

AME national treasurer Barry McCarthy said successful leadership is about connecting the workplace. “What management and leadership are now trying to do is connect with the shop floor. It’s building the trust and relationship between the workers and management. It’s very much about all being in it together,” said McCarthy.

By having hands-on workshops, attendees are able to put their knowledge to practice, he said. “There’s a lot of interest in seeing how other people do things rather than just going into a classroom, people can go out and practically apply those things Billy is talking about.”

Management from all industries can receive help to find a clear purpose for their organisation and discover how they can execute the best daily management systems for their business. Note Printing’s journey will be shared and people can learn about what the company did to transform its business to the next level.

The workshop is open to senior executives and managers who are serious about getting alignment in their organisation and implementing an effective management process. It’s also suitable for business excellence leaders who want to improve their understanding of the importance of building in visualisation, routines and patterns to create a people-centric culture.