Ralph Stayer’s article was very interesting. It really made me believe that
motivation is one of the keys to a successful company. After asking himself what
needed to be done to achieve the goals he was looking for, he went out and
accomplished them. He was looking to change his current business to a business where
the employees would take on and share responsibilities for themselves. It was an uphill
battle because the employee moral could have been much better. Ralph needed to
motivate these employees desperately if his plan for change was going to work.
Motivation first began when Ralph started to make all the employees do the
sausage tasting not just top management. This allowed the employees to take more
pride in their product that they made as a team. Responsibility of setting performance
standards for employees were made by the employees themselves with a little coaching
when needed by top management. There was a profit sharing system set up where the
employees would receive a fixed percentage of profits every six months. Money is one
of the quickest motivator in my opinion.
Teams were formed to carry out specific functions. These teams replaced
certain level managers. There seemed to be too many management levels in
Johnsonville for such a small company. By giving more responsibility to the employees
and coaching them to make there own decisions proved to be a highly effective change
for the company. By the employees owning there own problems and solving them on
their own it allowed Ralph and other top management to utilize their time more
Most people if they had a choice would like to be achievers. In some jobs it is
unfortunate that becoming an achiever is less likely to happen. If that is the case it
might be time to look for a new job because happiness will never be found there. A
persons own expectations is what gives them the drive to succeed. If a person has a
goal in mind and expects to achieve it the chances are the person will achieve that goal.
Naturally in life there may be obstacles in the way and the goal might not be achieved
as quickly as one would like it to be. A good manager would try to clear the obstacles
that are holding back employees. That is what Ralph did by trying to remove himself
from most of the decision making. In my opinion Ralph himself became an obstacle.
Employees in the beginning would only say what they thought Ralph wanted to hear.
They would only do what Ralph told them to do. Ralph was loaded with the
responsibility that if some thing went wrong he had nobody to blame but himself. Once
the employees were given the responsibility they had nobody to blame for poor
performance but themselves.
I have learned that motivating employees is not always easy. Employees must
want to succeed if motivation is to work. The employees at Johnsonville wanted to
succeed. They wanted something for themselves in a business where they saw
themselves going no where. They were playing a game that we use to play when we
were kids called “follow the leader”. There is no motivation for employees if all they
are doing is following orders. When an employee puts to work an idea he/she
developed the employee takes pride in that and tries harder to make his/her idea work.
This tells me that motivation comes from within and is always inside of every
individual. It is harder to bring out in some individuals than others. If one is a good
coach they can make anybody shine. Once the coach allows people to see their own
behavior, deal with frustrations and take care of their own problems they have done
their job.
Although the applications that Ralph Stayer used in his company worked for
him it would not work in my company. It is ideal for a small business not a large
corporation. I work for Bell Atlantic where we have around 135,000 employees. The
fact that we have such a large company is not the whole problem. We are a unionized
company and many of these changes would not go over well the employees or the
union. In a unionized shop most employees will try to get what they can get from the
company through the union. Most union workers want less responsibility not more.
The people who look for more responsibility are usually those who want to become
management like myself. The way to motivate a