Nobody knew when to start(!) 🤦‍♀️

Published: Thu, 01/06/22

From the friendly caves of Pixie Hollow.

Darling Pixieling, I'm about to share with you a story that sounds unbelievable in this day and age.

It's a story about an actual company. 

In Australia.

For whom a close contact of mine works.

Let's call this company... Faffers.

So, Faffers is a manufacturing business. It's a subsidiary of a long chain of very large and well-known companies, two of whom we shall call Bluesight and Big Hairy Pucker.

As a manufacturer, the factory has traditionally had a 'shut down' period over Christmas/New Year. Over 2021/22, Faffers shortened the shut down to the shortest time  possible, largely because its management kept freaking out about covid-enforced closures in 2021. They went on and on about it, even though they saved craploads of money (no overheads during closure) and didn't even pay their staff when they were forced not to work.

After the shortest shut-down in the history of Faffers, loads of the management team stayed on holidays.

One isn't back at work until February, and figures that while he's not there he doesn't care much about what goes on.

A female senior executive began during this time; she has had no guidance, so she's been making things up and getting into all kinds of stoushes with staff.

Nobody thought to check whether maintenance were on leave or not, so it was lucky that the key with keys to the factory was at work when the grunts arrived.

And when the grunts arrived at work, half of them turned up at 6 am and the other half at 7 am.

You see, it's traditional for the first week back to run shifts an hour earlier than usual. Except, nobody communicated it to the team, so only those who knew the process (because they've been there a long time) rocked up on time.

Among all of this ridiculousness and faffing about, the manufacturing teams are running jobs more than a week in advance because there are no orders coming in. All of their customers are still on holidays (see note about the shortest shutdown ever, above). Team members in some divisions are being sent home at 10 am because there's nothing for them to do.

And Faffers is moving to a new site later this year. But it's so badly organised that there are toilets at one end of the new factory and not at the other. And there aren't even power points in place where the machines are destined to go...

Shyt fight? You betcha.

The thing about all of the above is that every single one of these problems comes down to two things:

1. Knowledge capture and sharing
2. Effective communication.

It's pretty difficult to feel sorry for the manufacturing divisions of this formerly clever country when they're run like a circus, don't you think?

Nevertheless, let's imagine together that someone at Faffers decided that this was as ridiculous as it looked and decided that it was time for a change. What's the first thing they ought to do?

Riiiight, exactly. Audit and solve the communication patterns in the business, so that comms in every direction were clean, clear, and effective.

The second thing they ought to do is focus on knowledge capture and sharing. This comes second because unless the lines of communication are solved - and are functional and effective - then the idea of 'sharing' knowledge is just an in-joke.

Unfortunately, knowledge capture is something that even mature companies are rubbish at doing.

Yet it's also simple. All it takes is for one person (or a team of people if time is of the essence) to come in and study what folk do; capture it in systems; and ensure that the systems have effective sharing patterns, access, and usage baked into them.  This, too, is a downright simple thing if there are already international standard certifications in place (which, in a place like Faffers, is almost a guarantee). The quality management system ISO 9001 requires good communication, requires leadership, and requires effectiveness.

The fact that Faffers is moving the factory site ought to make this knowledge capture more important. Any time you move a facility, you're at risk of losing staff who don't want to travel to the new location. Or, who don't want to work the new shifts that are bound to come with the move.

Faffers would do well to engage a consultant like me to study the systems and people, and ghostwrite their immense holdings of knowledge and common sense. In a factory situation, procedure is one thing; but wisdom is entirely another. It's things like understanding workflow and rhythm, as much as why you have to handle steel in a particular way.

But I suggest that Faffers is so poorly led that they wouldn't even understand this basic concept.

Nevertheless, if you've learned the lesson today you'll already understand that knowledge + communication = powerhouse. And also that if you haven't captured the knowledge of your organisation, you're depriving yourself of an immensely valuable asset.

Business coaches bang on about systemisation.

They very rarely talk about knowledge capture.

The two are not necessarily the same thing.

And why am I talking about it with you today?

Because you might not give two hoots about writing a book. But you might very much want to ensure that your business captures its knowledge and wisdom to underpin its systems. And if you do, then you need to know that my current ghostwriting deal is adaptable to that situation.

It'll take roughly the same amount of time (10-12 months).

It'll set you back the same amount of money ($24,0000).

It's just that your outcome is a deep and detailed coverage of the systems, procedures, knowledge, common sense and wisdom rather than a sellable book. 

Though, let's be honest:

Being able to add an asset like that to the bottom line of your company's financial valuation lifts that valuation much higher than does having a book.

Food for thought, isn't it.

xx Leticia "stop faffing about" Mooney

PS. I know about systems because I'm a Lloyd's-certified systems auditor. Don't trust your knowledge capture to anyone less. I can create and audit systems that meet almost any standard or regulation.

Please let me know what I can do for you.

Leticia Mooney has spent her life handling words and communications while showing others 'the way'. She is a journalist and ghostwriter with decades of experience writing with and for individuals and brands. She dedicates her life to 'showing others the Way', which is in both a metaphorical and a literal sense. Leticia has mentored and edited tens of writers (from PhD candidates to highly successful freelancers and authors); consults to businesses in a range of areas from communications to audits to investigations; and reads Tarot (having been trained by the remarkable Lore de Angeles). She's also the mother of a rambunctious, engaging, and curious boy, who is named after a character created by J.R.R Tolkien. You can learn more about her at https://leticiamooney.com, and her business at https://brutalpixie.com.

Leticia Mooney
PO Box 1190
Pasadena SA 5042
Australia
Phone/Text (Signal/Telegram) +61 421 925 382
Follow on Telegram at https://t.me/leticiamooney