Arena Enables Collaboration with Different Personalities

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Working TogetherA few weeks ago, I wrote a blog post 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 tragic artifice of adult behavior at dysfunctional companies require 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: 

  • Has never finished watching “The Godfather” because it’s boring.
  • Favorite song to sing at Karaoke is “We Built This City.” 
  • Brings his beloved butterfly collection to work.
  • Believes Vanilla Ice invented rap.
  • Asks “Who are the Beatles?” 
  • Shows off his “Who Let the Dogs Out” t-shirt at HR onboarding. 
  • Wears an “I’m not as think as you drunk I am” baseball cap to team meetings.
  • Wears an “I’m not as think as you drunk I am” baseball cap backwards to team meetings. 
  • Smugly replies “It’s all good” to manager’s request for prioritized status updates.
  • 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 it’s true that Vanilla Ice did not invent rap that is no reason for making someone a scapegoat. 

A company’s ability to foster collaboration across the enterprise and across different personalities is key to successfully managing quality. The problem is that too often, cash-strapped startups rely on manila folders, email, spreadsheets and sneaker-net, to jury-rig a CAPA system; equally as bad, many large companies frequently use specialized third-party quality bolt-ons that are disconnected from other departments. Neither of these tactics foster the cross-functional collaboration, deep integration and visibility necessary among your team’s diverse personalities to sustain successful quality management across the product lifecycle

The key to improving visibility across the enterprise and to help keep quirky individuals and their “eccentric” attitudes 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 and “scrapgoating” (a term that is copyright pending). By ensuring teams are working from the latest document versions, employee errors, scrap and rework costs and blame are reduced. 

A centralized system like Arena’s all-in-one product development platform should additionally provide 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 to blame someone. 

Using Arena will help your company faciliate a culture where performance is rewarded and team members are not judged for their mullets, paisley suspenders or tear drop face tattoos. 

Arena keeps people of all different personality types on the same page, collaborating happily and harmoniously together. And we couldn’t be happier about that. Avoid the blame game by clicking here to learn more about collaboration in Arena’s latest white paper on intelligent bill of materials (BOM) management.

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About the Author

John Papageorge
John Papageorge has worked at some of the biggest names in the high tech industry, launching products and programs for companies, such as Oracle, HP, Cisco, and Microsoft. John's passion ... Read More 

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