In July, the OpExChange held one of the most engaging and interactive events of the year! Chris Stoecklein, CEO of Stoecklein Consulting and Executive Director of the John Maxwell team, led several participants from OpExChange companies through the John Maxwell Leadership Game. This game is a fun and interactive tool designed to break down barriers to help identify both strengths and opportunities in leadership.
During this two-hour, virtual session, Chris introduced a series of leadership questions to the group. The questions were open-ended, intended to promote discussion and draw on the collective past experiences of the group. For each question, the group separated into five discussion rooms to discuss and share thoughts. They then came back and held larger discussions with the entire group.
This OpExChange session was so invaluable because of the diversity of the team members that participated and the unique experiences and perspectives they brought with them. The larger discussions resulted in deep conversations about employee engagement and retention, generational make-up and communication, and how to build and sustain “trust” relationships.
In one discussion an Human Resources Manager with a tier one automotive supplier added that it is extremely important to explain “The Why” behind major decisions or directions. “If our team doesn’t understand why we are taking a certain direction, it is difficult for them to get behind the vision. As leaders, if we do not understand why ourselves, we need to seek clarification before rolling it out to the team.”
Nick Moore is a Production Supervisor with SafeRack in Georgetown, South Carolina. He shared how seeking input and truly listening is both critical and simple. Nick provided an example of asking the workforce, “What can I get for you to help you in your job?” The answers are frequently something as simple as addressing a dull grinder. “When you get them what they need, it is like they received a gift on Christmas morning.” Larry Severini, CEO with Embroidery Solutions, expounded on the importance of listening to your team and responding with action. He has seen where a new pair of scissors or replacing a worn-out broom makes a world of difference to an employee. This has paid-off, particularly at his Gaffney plant that proudly boasts high employee engagement and retention.
The OpExChange is a collaborative group, but they are inherently competitive – they like to see who is winning! The Leadership Game did not disappoint them as there is a scoring mechanism. During the game, participants apply various cards to their peers based on the discussion. One of the cards is the “Peer” card which comes with two “points.” Peers apply this card when a participant makes an excellent point or shares something that particularly resonates with the group.
The points were tallied-up from this session, and Jason Gallegly with Allied Air Enterprises was proclaimed the “winner.” Jason piled-up cards as he shared how they are building a servant leadership mentality. Jason said, “Our leaders exist here to serve the people actually doing the work … Of all the units going out our doors, I haven’t built one of them.” He added that this leadership quality does not come over night and is always a work-in-progress.
Chris Stoecklein has worked with the South Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership (SCMEP) in conducting the John Maxwell Leadership Game at several OpExChange companies. Recipients respond that this definitely helps break-down paradigms and help leaders to recognize leadership strengths and expose opportunities for growth. If you are interested in scheduling a session at your plant, contact your local SCMEP representative: https://scmep.org/contact/contactform/.
The OpExChange, sponsored by the South Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership, is a peer-to-peer network of companies in South Carolina known for generating success for members through benchmarking and best practices activities. Member companies host events and share practical examples of industrial automation, lean manufacturing improvements, and leadership development. It is an invaluable resource to South Carolina companies that provides access to others who are on similar improvement journeys. If you are interested in joining, contact Mike Demos (Mike@OpExChange.com) or visit the OpExChange website www.OpExChange.com.