Relationships, Realities, Results, and Authenticity: The Equation for Success

“How can I be my most authentic self at work?”

Throughout her years working in the male-dominated auto manufacturing industry, recent Mindfulness Manufacturing podcast guest Kathy Miller was no stranger to this question. For women like Kathy, it can be a challenge to find the balance between holding their own on the floor and staying true to their own authentic selves.

But Kathy found her own equation for success! With it, she went on to have a long and successful manufacturing career, including multiple executive roles at companies like General Motors, Rolls-Royce, and Delphi Automotive Systems. She was also inducted into the Women in Manufacturing Hall of Fame in 2021. To help other women find fulfilling manufacturing careers, she co-authored Steel Toes and Stilettos: A True Story of Women Manufacturing Leaders and Lean Transformation Success. In her book, she shares her experiences as a woman in manufacturing, and sheds some light onto her equation for success.

Whether you’re a woman in a manufacturing role or someone looking to bring more diverse results to your organization, check out Kathy’s “3 Rs and an A” equation for improving relationships, communications, and results.


On the manufacturing floor, every single relationship matters! While you might not be able to foster deep friendships with every member of your team, it’s important to treat everyone you encounter with dignity and respect. One simple way to build better relationships is to acknowledge people’s presence. This might mean saying hello when you pass them on the floor, or taking a quick moment to acknowledge their great work or recent improvement.


In your organization, you’re always going to come across factors you want to change. For example, you might wish you had better suppliers, or that a certain team member would improve their behavior. However, a big key to success is staying grounded in reality. Recognize what is in your control—and what’s outside of it—and put effort into making each day better than the next.


Everyone likes to move up in their organization. This can be especially true for women and other minorities in manufacturing, who are looking for new ways to grow and prove themselves. But instead of worrying about your next career move, focus on getting results in your current role. Your great results will accumulate over time, and others will take notice.


If you authentically care about the people you work with and the success of your operation, people will become your allies and be more willing to help you. By being authentic, you can build more meaningful relationships, find new ways to improve your role in your organization, and find greater success.

Learn More on the Podcast

On the Mindfulness Manufacturing podcast, Kathy Miller shares more stories behind Steel Toes and Stilettos, plus delves deeper into her “3 Rs and an A” equation for success. To learn more, check out her episode here.

At Manufacturing Greatness, Trevor Blondeel works with manufacturers to connect the top to the shop. If you’re ready to improve your own organization, contact Trevor to learn how Manufacturing Greatness can help you build stronger leaders and develop a dynamic, high-performing workplace.