Finding Your Power in the Changing World of Manufacturing

The manufacturing world is on the verge of change! Due to the rise of artificial intelligence, automated technology, and other emerging technology, the manufacturing industry could see some huge changes in the next decade.

Are you ready? Michael Neuendorff certainly is. He’s an executive coach and the president of Bay Area Executive Coach, based in the technology hub of San Francisco. He was also a recent guest on the Mindfulness Manufacturing podcast, where he shared some great insights on how manufacturing leaders can prepare for change by shifting their mindsets, embracing collaboration, and learning to ask the right questions.

The Importance of a Student’s Mind

Especially in times of changes, it’s critical to ask questions and seek out answers. But this can be difficult for some manufacturing leaders, who may be used to being in a position of authority. When you’re a leader who is used to answering questions instead of asking them, you may feel vulnerable if you don’t have all the answers. You may also have difficulty with the idea of learning from others, particularly if they’re below you on your team.

To combat this, Michael suggests that manufacturing leaders embrace a student’s mindset. To do this, stay curious. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and get rid of the mindset that you can’t learn anything from the people below you. Whether it’s your fifth year in manufacturing leadership or your fifteenth, there is still always something you can learn.

Search for Solutions

As technology like artificial intelligence and automation begins to play an increasingly large role in manufacturing, it can be all too easy to get sucked into a monotonous routine without ever seeking out new, creative solutions. Over time, you and your team members may even “click off” the parts of your brains that focus on understanding and problem-solving.

As a manufacturing leader, you can prevent this kind of shutdown by focusing on collaboration and creativity instead of taking the easy route of telling others what to do. Michael’s favorite tip for fostering productive solutions is to ask yourself and your team questions like

  • What have we done in the last thirty days?
  • What can we improve in the next 30 days?

This keeps everyone active and engaged, and gives you the tools to improve the future by learning from the past.

Questions for Collaboration

By talking to your team and encouraging problem-solving, you’re more likely to find productive solutions. However, leaders might need some guidance for the best ways to communicate with their team members, especially if they are in the process of expanding their student’s mindset and taking in other perspectives.

In the podcast, Michael emphasizes the importance of knowing your audience. Are you talking to your peers at the leadership level, or someone a few levels below you? By knowing your audience, you can tailor your questions to gather the best feedback and find the most productive results.

Learn More on the Podcast

These are just a few of the great insights Michael Neuendorff shares on the Mindfulness Manufacturing podcast. To learn more about his thoughts on leadership in the changing world of manufacturing, check it out here..