Don't take duplication of your brilliance for granted

No question about it. Engineering Project Supervisor Fred Bailik's savvy was second-to-none in the plant engineering department. And that was exactly the problem.


No question about it. Engineering Project Supervisor Fred Bailik's savvy was second-to-none in the plant engineering department. And that was exactly the problem.

Chief Engineer Milton Fore brought it to Plant Engineer Henry Lowe's attention one day. The evidence was summed up in an Employee Turnover Report distributed by Personnel.

"Take a look at this, Henry," Fore suggested.

The report listed employee resignations and terminations over a 3-yr period, broken down by department, section, and supervisor.

Lowe frowned. He gazed up at Fore. "Bailik?"

Fore nodded. What disturbed the Chief was clear. The number of quits of good people in Bailik's group were at least double those from any other group in the engineering department.

"What do you think?" Fore asked.

"This can't be ignored. Thanks for bringing it to my attention."

The situation called for a bit of investigation, Lowe decided. He selected five of the qualified professionals who had resigned from Bailik's group and picked up the telephone. By the second call, he had an idea of what Bailik's problem might be. By the fifth, he was convinced.

Question: Can you make a guess regarding Lowe's subsequent action?

Lowe's resolution: Lowe summoned Bailik to his office, offered him coffee, and made the visit as casual as possible.

"What's up?" Bailik asked.

"Small problem, which I think you can easily solve."

He showed Bailik the Turnover Report. It was the project leader's turn to frown. "What do you have in mind?"

Lowe smiled. "Nothing drastic. I think the excessive quits you've been experiencing might be nothing more than a case of a bright executive being too smart for his own good."

He told him about the phone calls he had made.

"The response followed a similar line. Dissatisfaction attributed to what I might categorize as communications gaps. First, I know how busy you are. Second, busy people often lose patience with things that take time. Third, bright people sometimes take it for granted that associates possess the same knowledge and understanding they do. Crediting a subordinate with similar savvy and smarts may be a compliment, but it can also be frustrating. In my opinion, it might make sense for you to slow down a bit in training people, giving assignments, and getting feedback to make sure the other guy is on the same wavelength."

Bailik's high brow was furrowed.

Lowe grinned. "It's not all that serious, Fred. But please give it some thought."

No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
A cool solution: Collaboration, chemistry leads to foundry coat product development; See the 2015 Product of the Year Finalists
Raising the standard: What's new with NFPA 70E; A global view of manufacturing; Maintenance data; Fit bearings properly
Sister act: Building on their father's legacy, a new generation moves Bales Metal Surface Solutions forward; Meet the 2015 Engineering Leaders Under 40
Cyber security cost-efficient for industrial control systems; Extracting full value from operational data; Managing cyber security risks
Drilling for Big Data: Managing the flow of information; Big data drilldown series: Challenge and opportunity; OT to IT: Creating a circle of improvement; Industry loses best workers, again
Pipeline vulnerabilities? Securing hydrocarbon transit; Predictive analytics hit the mainstream; Dirty pipelines decrease flow, production—pig your line; Ensuring pipeline physical and cyber security
Upgrading secondary control systems; Keeping enclosures conditioned; Diagnostics increase equipment uptime; Mechatronics simplifies machine design
Designing positive-energy buildings; Ensuring power quality; Complying with NFPA 110; Minimizing arc flash hazards
Building high availability into industrial computers; Of key metrics and myth busting; The truth about five common VFD myths

Annual Salary Survey

After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.

The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.

Read more: 2014 Salary Survey: Confidence rises amid the challenges

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.