Manufacture Your Day by MAKING SURE THAT YOU HAVE A GREAT WORK ETHIC

I don’t know about you but I have some pretty big dreams and some of them have already been “worked” into reality. 

In my life I have learned a lot from my parents.

They used to have a construction business and I grew up observing first hand the good, bad and ugly of owning your own business. I saw the financial worries of my parents but I also saw how resilient and hard working they were.

Their whole life they were such great role models for me, and I strive to become a better version of myself because of them.

Here are 3 things that I have learned based on my parents’ influence:

  • Work hard and never ever give up (it’s a mindset)
  • Grit (courage and strength of character)
  • People skills (learn to connect with people – it will make life easier and more enjoyable)

Have you ever noticed that any person has the ability to give his or her personal touch to a job? 

It really doesn’t matter if the job title is Janitor, Machine Operator, HR Generalist, Engineering Manager, VP of Operations or CEO.  These are just a few examples of jobs and it is the energy, drive and personality of the person who will bring that job to life.

You can turn your job into a wonderful opportunity to better the lives of the people around you, or the job is just a series of tasks that you have to fulfill to collect a paycheque.

What do you think will be the more fulfilling choice? 

I encourage you to…..

  • Work hard on becoming better at what you do. 
  • Work hard on becoming a better person. 
  • Work hard on developing a constructive thought process. 
  • Work hard on being more mindful in your everyday life.
  • Work hard on developing a growth mindset. 
  • Work hard on putting a smile on your face even if you don’t feel like smiling. 
  • Work hard on getting to know the people around you. 
  • Work hard on treating others the way you want to be treated. 

I could come up with more examples but I guess you get my point. 

If you work harder on yourself than the people around you, you will soon be able to watch the magic unfold.

Remember, I am your biggest fan. Happy Friday!

Manufacture Your Day by DOING WHAT YOU SAY YOU WILL DO

Have you ever promised something and you didn’t follow through? 

Probably. We all have. 

The best is when we promise something to children. They will hold us accountable and they will keep reminding us until we follow through. 

True? Children can be our best teachers and they develop their character based on what they see. 

Did you know that we judge others by their actions but we judge ourselves by our intentions? Ouch. 

Here are a few examples when people don’t follow through: 

  • Assign Blame: I really wanted to complete it this week BUT I need other people to get it done and they don’t get back to me. 
  • Offer an Excuse: I know you’re waiting for this BUT I am just so busy right now. 
  • Matter of Prioritization: I know that I said that I would get it done this week BUT I am swamped with a few top priority projects.
  • Poor Time Management: I realize that I keep pushing this out BUT there are just not enough hours a day. 
  • Little to No Self-Management (emotional control, motivation): Stop asking me week after week. I do it when I get to it. If this is so important for you, why don’t you make it happen yourself? 
  • Lack of Follow-Through and Commitment: I know I promised twice BUT this time I will try my best to make it happen. If people say “I try”, there is not commitment. 

Assignment for YOU: Please take a moment to reflect and think about what you have to work on in order to follow-through in your personal and in your professional life. 

You will get what you give. It is all about developing trust and building relationships with the people around you. 

Your life experience is a mirror. What do you see? 

Manufacture Your Day by DOING YOUR BEST

If you are a little bit like me and you have a monkey mind (so many ideas and things to do that it will make your head spin), then you may have days where you don’t even know what doing your best looks like. 

Am I right? 

That’s why it is super important to come to terms with it – not every day is a productive day. Let it go and “reset” tomorrow. 

There is something that I have started to do a while ago, which I find extremely helpful. I make sure to answer the following questions at the end of my business day. It takes a lot of discipline but if you manage to make it a habit, it helps you to stay focused on what’s truly important. 

  1. What is one thing that I have done well today? 
  2. Did I make someone else’s day better today? 
  3. What is something that I have learned today (from a mistake, experience, from other people, from a book, magazine, video, from my coach, etc.)? 
  4. What is something that I could have done better today (how I handled a disagreement with someone – personal or professional, how I delivered a message, prospect meeting, phone call with someone, feedback, etc)? 
  5. What am I grateful for today? 

When we remind ourselves that every challenge is an opportunity and when we start to write things down, we will “download” valuable information from our operating system” (the brain). If it’s “downloaded” by bringing your thoughts on paper, our mind will focus on all the great things that you’ve done today or on things that offer an opportunity for improvement.

Stop, breathe, reflect, and get ready to reset. Do you know what I’m talking about? 

Manufacture Your Day by OBSERVING PEOPLE’S PROGRESS

When people work together it can be tricky – different personalities, different experiences, different thought processes, different beliefs, different opinions, different cultures and….. different paces of learning. 

In running we have a saying, “It doesn’t matter how slow you go. You still lap everyone sitting on the couch.” 

I believe that making progress is one of the most overlooked things in the corporate world. 

Think about little children who learn how to walk. Some will walk with 9 months, others will walk with 15 months but it is a given that they will walk. If your child wouldn’t walk at 12 months, would you say, “You are too slow. If you fall down one more time, just stop trying” ? 

For every good parent this would be unthinkable, right? 

Yet, in the corporate world people get put down on a fairly regular basis. People are criticized and their voices often stay unheard. 

Think about it, if people can’t do anything right, it affects their self-worth and their self-confidence. As a result, they will stop believing in their ability to contribute value, which in return will affect the bottom line.

My suggestion? 

Develop your team by providing constructive feedback on an ongoing basis: 

  1. Write down what you like and appreciate about that person (if you find nothing, why is the person working for you?)
  2. Find 1 thing that the person should learn to do better (1, not 10 things as this would be discouraging)
  3. Schedule a meeting (respect for their time) and tell them what the meeting is about (feedback meeting)
  4. Have a good one-on-one conversation (both sitting down)
  5. Speak from one adult to another adult (not like an adult to a child)
  6. Ask, “What is one thing that I can do better for you?” 

Feedback is here for 2 reasons only: 

  • help the person to get better (non-judgmental and not criticizing)
  • reinforce the behaviour and skills that you already like

Simple Process: 

  1. Example: Employee’s name, I really appreciate your positive attitude and that I can always rely on you to get the job done. Can I provide one suggestion that will help you to get even better? I would like that you involve your team members more by asking them open-ended questions (i.e. How can we improve things around here?), because (WWIFM – what’s in it for me) it will  help you to create more engagement on your team. 
  2. Observe the person
  3. Follow up after 1 week (critical) – I have noticed that you have started……. How do you feel about your progress when it comes to involving your team members? Listen to what he/she has to say. 
  4. Be patient and persistent – a new skill needs to be developed and this person is probably outside of his/her comfort zone. 
  5. If the person has mastered it, move on to the next point of improvement. 

Everyone has room for improvement, even your star players. 

Remember that progress is better than perfection. 

Manufacture You Day by LOOKING AFTER YOURSELF

Happy Monday!

You may have noticed that I bring up the topic of mental health on a fairly regular basis. I do it because I think this is extremely important. I always try to put a different spin on it but in case you are wondering, we learn best through repetition and I think it is critical to increase mental health awareness in the manufacturing industry.

How can people give their best if they are not at their best (emotionally, mentally and physically)? 

I have always liked to give back, and when I didn’t have the money to give back, I gave my time. Today I am super excited to announce that I have officially become a proud supporter of the CMHA (Canadian Mental Health Association) by giving 10% of my revenue to the program “Not Myself Today”. My contribution will be monitored and CMHA will make sure that every penny I spend will go towards the manufacturing industry. I will also make sure to increase mental health awareness with my clients and new prospects by engaging them in good and meaningful conversations. 

I would like to share an email that I have recently received from one of my regular readers:

“I have been working for my company (automotive) for the past 9 years 10-12 hrs a day (add another 1-2 hrs at home), 50 out of 52 weekends  in a year I spent at work and almost all long weekends – just to keep everyone happy.  

Outcome? Chest pain, tension headache, panic attacks, frustrated mood, fights with my wife (ouch), and I can go on and on. Last summer the company announced a big change, which significantly reduced my hours.  Since then all headaches, chest pains, fights with wife are gone. Now I work 8 hour-days and I don’t have to work on weekends anymore. As a result I can lead a happier, healthier and more productive life.” 

If this story resonates with you, let me be clear, “It is not normal to work this kind of long hours on a regular basis.” I like to call that “modern day slavery”. However, there are also bosses who want their employees to go home but they don’t see a different way to finish their work and that’s why they work overtime. 

Please make sure to look after yourself and start monitoring how much time you spend at work. 

Long hours usually mean poor self-management. 

It may  benefit you to learn how to:

  • trust your team
  • develop your team members
  • delegate better
  • manage yourself better
  • manage your time better
  • set your boundaries
  • live life to the fullest – it’s all about work-life balance

You have only one life. Here is to you and your mental and physical well-being. 

Manufacture Your Day by CONQUERING YOUR ROADBLOCKS

This is a good one, right? 

Have you met some speed bumps in your life? I know that I have. 

Here are a few of my personal examples: 

  1. The lady in the outplacement company who told me that 3 out of 4 business fail, and that second language speakers have low chances of “surviving” (this advice came from an employee who has never run her own business). 
  2. The accounts payable clerk of a well-known automotive company who told me after one of their cheques bounced, “If you make such a big deal over a $5,000 cheque, you may as well stop doing what you’re doing and look for a job.” 
  3. One of my well-meaning friends who told me that I was crazy to focus on manufacturing companies because these companies would all move offshore and that nobody else would waste their energy on this industry. 

I am not gonna lie, these were difficult moments to overcome but today they have become some pretty good stories to tell. 

After almost 12 years in business I am so proud that I have always managed to stay true to myself, my passion and my purpose. I encourage YOU to do the same. 

There are certainly people who want to protect you because they don’t want to see you “fail”. The challenge is that they come from their own experience, their own mindset, their own thought process and their own level of courage and determination. 

Let me explain how I handled the scenarios mentioned earlier in my mind: 

  1. I actually want to thrive, not to survive. I guess I have to become so good that I will be that magical 4th business. 
  2. You are such a huge company. If you issue cheques for “only” $5,000 and they bounce, maybe you should stop doing what you’re doing.
  3. Manufacturing is an important part of any economy. How awesome for me if nobody else wants to focus on this industry.

Things can be difficult but if you find the positive in a challenging situation, you will get to where you want to be. 

I want to close with a story that you may have heard before but this story is such a great reminder of the differences in mindset. 

“Many years ago two salesmen were sent by a British shoe manufacturer to Africa to investigate and report back on market potential. The first salesman reported back, “There is no potential here – nobody wears shoes.” The second salesman reported back, “There is massive potential here – nobody wears shoes.”’

Make it a super weekend!