A few months ago, I wrote an article about the dangers a company faces when one of its employees raves about Olive Garden. The issue isn’t that the Olive Garden lover is a problem employee — it’s that anyone tarred with the “Olive Garden lover” brush will unfairly get thrown under the bus when failures arise in a manufacturing company’s supply chain.
A combination of cowardice, insecurity and all-too-familiar artifice of adult behavior in toxic workplaces requires a scapegoat or two when things go wrong. Whether it’s a shipping delay or quality failure, the one person that a company always turns on in bad times is the Olive Garden guy or girl.
Do good work and be polite is a fine recipe for success. Even still, some of the best employees can be made into scapegoats due to a dysfunctional company’s inability to facilitate collaboration. A lack of visibility creates a culture of blame and mistrust that in turn always leads to scapegoating. Shame on these companies.
Here is a top ten list of innocent quirks that can lead to scapegoating:
1. Has never finished watching “The Godfather” because it’s boring.
2. Favorite song to sing at Karaoke is “We Built This City.”
3. Brings his beloved butterfly collection to work.
4. Believes Vanilla Ice invented rap.
5. Asks “Who are the Beatles?”
6. Shows off a “Who Let the Dogs Out” t-shirt at HR onboarding.
7. Wears an “I’m Not As Think As You Drunk I Am” baseball cap to team meetings.
8. Wears an “I’m Not As Think As You Drunk I Am” baseball cap backwards to team meetings.
9. Smugly replies “It’s all good” to manager’s request for prioritized status updates.
10. Declares “I’m a boss” at performance reviews.
Admittedly, this list descends into some clear reasons for termination but you get my point — every company has its “personalities.”
In the corporate environment, labels go on fast and come off slow. Perhaps that’s unfair and certainly doesn’t fix a problem when something breaks in your supply chain. And while Vanilla Ice did not invent rap that lack of hip hop history is no reason for making someone a scapegoat.
In the specific case of the manufacturing industry, an innovative product company’s ability to foster collaboration across the enterprise and across different personalities is key to successfully managing quality.
And the key to improving visibility across the enterprise and to help keep quirky individuals and their “eccentric” personalities out of the corporate stockade of shame is to make project data visible in a single globally-accessible centralized system; by doing this, your company will improve collaboration and transparency to avoid scapegoating. By ensuring teams are working from the latest document versions, employee errors, scrap and rework costs and blame are reduced.
A centralized product development platform should additionally provide product development teams a connection to parts, engineering changes and other business processes in real-time, thereby allowing users to quickly access relevant data in the context of their critical tasks. By removing the tedious need to forensically investigate errors in spreadsheets, emails and dated papers, the ability to identify opportunities for improvement becomes an easy part of the day-to-day process whether it is over the transom or overseas.
From a principled stand-point, the more insights and visibility you have across your supply chain, the better you will be at preventing a culture of mistrust from developing. Sure, you’ll miss out on mobs with pitchforks and torches looking for someone to blame.
Using a product development platform will help your company faciliate a culture where performance is rewarded and team members are no longer judged for their mullets, paisley suspenders or tear drop face tattoos. Sadly, the more tear drop tattoos you see on an employee's face indicates how many failed product launches their company has suffered due to poor supply chain visibility and subsequent infighting.
A modern product development platform keeps different personality types on the same page, collaborating happily and harmoniously together.
I am looking for new opportunities and offer a full complement of strategic, creative and interactive marketing content creation services designed to help your business grow. I'm available for consulting gigs and look forward to helping your company maximize marketing results. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 415-699-6910.
John is a Senior Content Marketing Manager at Omnicell. He is a results-driven consultant who has worked with some of the biggest names in technology, including Oracle, Cisco, Hewlett Packard, and IBM, to improve their marketing and lead generation strategies. John holds a Bachelor of Science in Engineering and Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.