By new experiences to success

5 Jun

This week I want to consider a new topic: how do I become a good manager? I believe that every person is a manager. We all have to organize our time, whether for cooking or eating, bathing or sleeping. But I’m going to deal with the manager as a career. There are many different tasks confronting managers. One of the responsibilities is to keep the workers satisfied, happy and motivated to work hard. Sounds like a challenge, but is it really so difficult?

Surely it is hard to motivate workers day after day. Especially when every day the same work has to be done, then it gets boring. You do not want to come to work and when you come you work sloppy.  So by working bad, no company has become successful. So as a result-is to predict to fire the workers and the closure of the company. But no one wants to lose thus a solution is needed.

Using an example I would like to introduce one of the possible solutions. We will deal with NUMMI. You wonder what is NUMMI? Well there is nothing else than two companies are working together: New United Motor Manufacturing Incorporated. These two companies are Toyota and GM.  Two companies two continents, with labor working with different cultures and mentalities. Let’s talk about the workers of these two.

In USA “labor relations were more like war” says Frank Langfitt. The workers went on strikes and complained constantly. Jeffrey Liker who worked at GM says: “… the workers were stuck there, because they could not find anything close to that level of job, and pay, and benefits, at their level of education and skill. So they were trapped there. And they also felt like, we have a job for life, and the union will always protect us. So we’re stuck here, and it’s long term, and then all these illegal things crop up so we can entertain ourselves while we’re stuck here.”  They drank Whiskey and Gin and some smoked even pot. But instead of firing all this workers managers decided to send them to Japan for training. It was a totally new experience for both Americans and the Japanese. The Japanese were very attentive, they noticed immediately “…that the Americans are so much larger than the Japanese they waste a second or two more each time they get in and out of the vehicles they’re building, which makes them 10 to 15% less productive than their Asian counterparts.” Not only were they attentive but also helpful. Their strength was teamwork.

In Japan, the   American worker learned what teamwork means. To help each other, not be afraid to ask for help, to respect each other and to pay more attention to each other. Also to talk about improvement to the managers, if there are some needed?

Probably you will say now: “Oh I know it all already”. Well, yes. But you have to imagine in 1984, people had no idea of such things. There were bosses above and workers under and no communication between them. May be just because of one man John Shook, who believed in change and took a risk to convince Toyota and GM by showing and providing a new work environment for the employees, the companies are still powerful. This story shows that people can always learn from each other, and true learning we can achieve a lot. The Moral of this story is that managers have to take risks sometimes if they do really believe in something and know it can be done differently.

To watch John Shooks presentation please visit,r:7,s:0,i:84


3 Responses to “By new experiences to success”

  1. rosepanama June 6, 2012 at 11:29 am #

    Hi Angie,

    very interesting post! You introduce the topic very well. I was curious what is important to become a good manager. Your opinion that everyone can be able to become a good manager is very encouraging! Do you know the website Wikihow? On that website they give you different advices how to achieve certain things as for example how to become a good manager.
    They hold the opinion that you have to consider the five following guidelines:
    1) Motivate your employees
    2) Delegate; teach others how to do a good job
    3) Communicate
    4) Learn from mistakes
    5) Embrace Egalitarianism; treat everyone equally

    What you’ve mentioned in your post is how GM could motivate their workers to get better results. However, you only provide the information that the manager sent their workers to Japan in order to achieve better results. But how did that work exactly? How did the American worker learn form the Japanese workers?
    And above all: What do I now have to do to become a good manager? You say you want to answer the question in the beginning, but then you never do.
    Maybe you can give more examples and opinions of managers in your next blog posts?!


  2. juleswilma June 9, 2012 at 3:31 pm #

    Hey Angie,

    your post is a great reflection on what we have done in class last Tuesday. I think it was a nice idea to pick that topic and go more into detail with it since we never have enough time in class to discuss it deeply. I thought that little radio play we listen to was very interesting but there was so much information delivered very quickly that I couldn’t keep up with it. So thanks to you for giving that well written overview!

    But what I like the most about your post is that you found a deeper problem behind the differences in teamwork at GM and Toyota to discuss which is the role of managers in such large organizations and how to become a good manager and in your introduction you also referred to us as students and how we are already some kind of manager by managing our daily tasks. Well done!

    Maybe in this case you could have also mentioned the role of Asana because we are using it to manage our teamwork better and to have an overview of all our tasks we have to fulfill not only in our team but also for us individually and then compared it with how they manage tasks at GM and Toyota. I think that would have been very nice to know.
    But other than that great post!

  3. melissano18 June 26, 2012 at 11:27 am #

    Hey Angie!

    What an interesting blog post! I have not have heared about NUMMI yet, but thanks to you! Know I got a first view of it! You really introduced this topic well to the reader.
    The story behind between the American and Japanese workers is very interesting and makes the reader wanting to read more about that topic!
    Maybe you could have emphazise the quotes more (write them as a blogquote). This would be even better for the reader and your structure.
    The picture in the beginning is very well chosen and it caught my attention. However, maybe you could have put in some more pictures. Pictures are significant and support, what you want to say and they make the whole post even more interesting for the reader.
    Still, this is an interesting topic and you developed a very well written blog post out of it!

    Well done, Angie!

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