How Smart Manufacturers Get "Exotic Personalities" to Collaborate Nicely

How Smart Manufacturers Get "Exotic Personalities" to Collaborate Nicely

John Papageorge 15/12/2017 10

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 or call 415-699-6910.

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  • Sergio Herrera

    Issues that impact the performance of employees are nothing new. Knowing what causes these problems is the first step to resolve them. I’ve seen and experienced many of these reasons first hand as stated in your post. At one point in your career, I am sure you’ve also likely experienced something that impacted your performance.

  • Jack Cowgill

    Trust is the foundation of any successful relationship, both personal and professional, and when it’s broken, it is extremely hard to repair. I really hate fake people !!!!

  • Remy A

    Organizations with great cultures have better performance than their peers because they don't have a “toxic” culture

  • Sidhadh Binu

    No one likes to come to work every day and feel they are walking into a toxic waste dump. Without trust in leadership, we are re not likely to go above and beyond to help create a high performance company or even provide the best service to customers.

  • Anant Bijolia

    Very Interesting but you forgot to state that reduced transparency and communication lead to low innovation, lack of agility & responsiveness from companies.

  • Tony Spark

    Even with a good product development platform, if you are not aligned with your company's vision and feel like that you are not part of it, then you won't deliver even if you have the latest technological breakthrough at work that will simplify tasks and communication. Sure a solid product development simplify tasks and eliminate silos but it's not enough.......

  • Nicholas Vasta

    Take care of your employees. Instead of spending time and money on technology trying to repair broken ties between people, take the time upfront to develop trusted relationships between leadership and employees.

  • Carlos Armando Peña

    Without trust, good remuneration schemes and commitment from those you lead or represent, good luck in achieving the goals that you have mentioned.

  • Blitz Krieg

    A Product development platform on its own is not enough. Companies that lead with an authentic, open and honest, compassionate and accountable style, are more likely to inspire the best in their people and gain the support needed to become much more successful.

  • Zac Smith

    To create a strong product platform strategy that delivers for your business, you need to start with your market segmentation strategy. With the help of product designers and engineers, you can definitely identify which features make sense to group under the new platform umbrella.

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John Papageorge

Tech Expert

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. 

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