Please join the Senior Manager of Continuous Improvement for Home Market Foods as he discusses building teams with a purpose to achieve business excellence and why leadership is important for Continuous Improvement.
- Md, tell us about your background and niche?
- What are you passionate about CI?
- Why leadership is important for Continuous Improvement/OpEx?
- What attributes of leadership is necessary to create a CI culture?
- What are the biggest challenges in the industry?
- How Leadership can solve these challenges?
- What could be great opportunities in near future?
Hello and welcome to the Impact Operational Excellence Virtual Summit hosted on Quartz Network. My name is Britt Erler, QN Executive Correspondent, thank you so much for joining us. I would like to welcome our executive speaker here with us today, MD Hassan, Senior Manager of Continuous Improvement for Home Market Foods, as he discusses the secret sauce for leaders to create a movement for excellence. Welcome, MD.
Thank you. Great, thanks for having me to that summit.
Of course, it’s a pleasure to have you here, and really excited to dive into this topic today. You know, excellent. Sounds like a very simple term. But in reality, it’s really crucial for businesses moving forward. But before we dive into that, if you wouldn’t mind telling me a little bit more about your background and your specialty.
So I’m very glad to be here at the summit. My name is MD Hassan, I’m the Senior Manager of Continuous Improvement for Home Market Foods in Norwood, Massachusetts. A little bit of background about the CIO role is I’ve been doing CIs and Lean Manufacturing, and organizational change management for the last seven to eight years in my career and journey. This is great learning for me, I started a little bit internship with a company called Denzel Manufacturing in Battle Creek, Michigan, where I learned about ideas of continuous improvement, engaging people, and the CI philosophy. We call that Kaizen in our world, which is called change for the better. So excellence is in my DNA. And then I love that I am very passionate about it. And then a little bit, you know, a bias towards action-driven, results-driven improvement as well. So that’s the snapshot for me.
Very good. Thank you for sharing. And it’s no secret that you’re clearly passionate about continuous improvement, you know, how did you start? What really kind of drove you to this specialty?
Yeah, that’s, that’s a good question. So when I started a little bit, my job after I, you know, in between, like, you know, when I was graduating from the Grand Valley State University, in Grand Rapids, I started a job in a couple of internships doing in the automotive world. And then when it comes down to, you know, just not by having the solutions and the tools, but also the people that are using these tools every day, to make their job better. So when I see that, you know, that my projects, when I engage people, you know, that that makes, it makes a huge difference, just by doing the project versus engaging the team members and building the teams actually, with a purpose. So when they see the purpose behind it, is to make their life easy, and make their job easy. And then ultimately helpful for not only for them for only, the only day to day, but also for the business, because the business wants that excellence and grow. And then also, it creates profitability, it also creates community engagement. Because at the end of the day, the purpose of the business is to serve the community with a greater purpose. So and that’s, that’s where, you know, the CIO and lean Manufacturing and, and, and, and operational excellence activities come here, hand in hand. So when I see that, it’s kind of drives me the, you know, drive me my intention about helping people. So I’m always passionate about go out there, try to develop people’s skillsets, and also engaging the team members, and be really having fun about it. So I with after my internships, and I, when I graduate, I see that, you know, my dad characteristics, well fit with the CI world, and, and operational excellence. So then I decided to move my career from, like core engineering, to more like, you know, continuous improvement world. That’s where it starts.
You know, because you’re really, it’s affecting the entire business as a whole, you know, it’s not just one department, you’re really helping grow the business forward, you know, whether that’s culturally organizationally, to the processes that you have in place, and the main goal, which is profit, and obviously making sure that your consumers are happy in the long end. So I completely understand why you view this is so crucial. And, you know, I think kind of what you mentioned there really something like this starts from leadership and trickles down into the rest of the organization. Talk to me a little bit more about that. Why isn’t leadership, so crucial for not only continuous improvement, but also for operational excellence.
Yeah, so so leadership is something that, you know, is is, is I call is like, you know, the secret sauce, right? The reason is like, you can have the all the ingredients, but if you don’t have the secret recipe, and the sauces to blend those together, then you’re not getting the getting the cubed out of that, right, and you are not getting that good flavor out of that. That ingredients, right? So leadership is is is something that I call is an action, right? It’s action-driven, is something influential, and leadership is all about influence. And the influence is something that when people see that they want somebody to somebody to go after and, and follow on. And they see that they’re, they’re acting on it. And then they’re they’re, they’re, they’re making their job easy. And then it comes down to not only the tools, so you got ci tools, you got business goals, mission vision, and then you also have a strategy. But what is the what is the binding thing, right? The glue between all these things that just I mentioned, is the leadership. So I think leadership is really critical to make any organization successful, and make sure it is heading to the right direction, with the right attitude at the right time. So I think I think leadership is, is something that we need to exercise. And also we need to learn continuously. So when we call about continuous improvement, leadership is not just a textbook that you read, and you just learn and you just apply, and that’s about it. But also, it’s all about are you continually driving yourself to learn every single day, so that so that you make your business better, every single day. So I think that’s, that’s really important. And I love that. And I wholeheartedly mind, you know, have that in my mind all the time that how can I make myself better every single day, and that will make my job better every single day. And that will make my organization better every single day. So I think that’s, that’s really vital and crucial to any organization.
I completely agree with you. And you know, I think really, leaders are leading the charge, so to speak. And, you know, on top of that, for any type of change any type of improvement, you’re going to have team members who it makes them a little anxious, right? Because any change in any company or any job is going to make people is my role going to change, you know, how much more work Am I going to have. So it takes leaders to come in and really say, Hey, this is why we’re doing this. Let me show you the work that needs to put in and the benefits that are kind of come out for the company as a whole. So I think that’s such a key advice that you mentioned there. Now, based on your experience, you know, obviously you’ve seen what works and what doesn’t, what do you believe are some of the key attributes for successful leader in this role?
Yeah, I think I think you you you hit hit a really good as good questions about it is like, okay, we call about leadership’s all the time, right? It’s not just just one thing. And one here, I have heard leadership term, many times in my career, right? And I was really juggling and mumbling Okay, what does it actually mean, when the rubber meets the road, right? When rubber meets the road, the leadership that works, and that doesn’t work have a really distinctive characteristic. So in my experience, I see a really great leaders who make a really good changes. And then I can, I’m learning that characteristics as well as I’m going through my progress to my career. And one of the one of the greatest, you know, attributes to that leadership is lead by example. So lead by example is something that is the top of my list, when it comes down to ci comes down to the lien comes down to the change management is, if I can’t make something happen, how can I expect them that my team members will do that? So that’s, that’s the first questions when I go out there and try to make some changes or continuous improvement projects, I want to show something before I tell somebody to do something. So the showing and, you know, showing the improvement leading by example, goes a long way. So one of the one of the key things about it is like, you know, be be the leader who shows my example. So that’s, that’s one of the top contributors. Or attributes. The second one that I think is kind of like, you know, works best is be visible, and be be, you know, all the time listening to your people. So, I think I think that’s really, really important, because seeing is believing what I call that, because when people see the leaders, and not only by showing by example, they’re always visible. And also, they’re listening to everybody. So, listening is a very powerful skill set that leaders should have, you know, as a as a human nature, right, we tend to talk more and listen less. So, you know, when I call when I recall that in my or, you know, Japanese mentor who teach me that I got one mouth and two air, right. So that means I got to talk less and listen more. So, you know, that’s, I think, I think that’s the absolute learning for me, because it works. And when I go out there, I listen, I absorbed, and then I ask, you know, the people say, Okay, here’s the situation, here’s the current state, we all know that, then empower them, and say, what you guys think that we can make change that will work best for you. So I think I think listening, empowering, engaging people, and at the end of the at the same time, you know, appreciate them, and encourage them to go even more. So I think those are three really great contributing attributes that, that I see, in my experience that works way better than the other types of leadership that we see around. So I think those are the main key ingredients of
the leadership’s I completely agree, you know, all three of those may seem very simple when you say it like that. But the reality is, is most leaders don’t take the time to listen or take a walk through their team shoes. And you have these incredible people on your team with brand new ideas, creativity, that may come up with something that you may never have thought of, or find, you know, an issue and a process that you have that could solve and streamline 10. Other things. So I think what you said there is so crucial for leaders moving forward, especially as we move into this new virtual age, where we’re not always in the office full time anymore. So taking the opportunity to call up people listen to them more listen to maybe what they’re going through on a personal level level as well, as is just as important. So I couldn’t agree with you more on that. And, you know, when I talk to you, I can hear the passion and excitement that you see, even at your company now. But, you know, I know from experience that going through these changes is not all flowers and rainbows. There are obviously a lot of challenges and obstacles, you know, talk to me a little bit about that. What are some of the challenges you’ve experienced? And how would you manage to overcome them?
Yeah, I think I think that’s another great, great question that you ask about that, you know, when we try to make changes, there is obviously there’s a resistance, right? You know, when you try to break a wall, there will be a wall resisting you and you want to have some great tools, so that you can, you can start breaking those walls and also renovate the housing, right? So they there, that’s the key thing is like, resistance is always going to be there. The the challenge for leadership is to find out what level of resistance and why it is resistance. And, you know, there might be something, something that we need to investigate, while people resist to change, right? It’s not just like, Hey, we want to make these changes anyway, hey, rather we go back when we ask people that why they’re resisting in the first place, right? And then that goes back to the tie off my my father, you know, comments about lead by example as well, because I see that you know, when I do a project, if I don’t lead by example, sometimes what happened is like people by nature by there there are a equilibrium and their mindset, so, they they tied to try to resist whatever whatever is out of their comfort zone, right. So, when you show something that is creating a belief or in them say hey, that might be possible, so why not we try that. So instead of telling them what to do, showing them what to do is a good thing to overcome that resistance. And the other other challenge that in the CI was in the lean world, when we the proper leadership term, in a we have is sustainability. So I call you know, when we do ci we make changes, we do lean Manufacturing. We do all pecks all for good, right? But at the end of the day when We taper off from those activities, we don’t see that is being sustained a long time. So sustainment is the biggest challenge, the biggest challenge in the CI world. So, so how the leadership, you know, maybe coming to the play, and, you know, and then with that attitude and approach, and with the characteristics and attributes that I mentioned, will be really helpful to overcome those sustainment challenges as well.
Absolutely. And, you know, as we’re seeing these changes happen, even the challenges we’re facing, we kind of have a glimpse into what we can expect in the future and five years down the road from now, even though there may not be a perfect plan, but, you know, what, what opportunities do you see moving forward within this industry?
Yeah, I think that’s, that’s a great, great question. So, like I said, you know, leadership is not not a textbook, we are all everyday, we have to learn, right, and we have to go grow. So the future opportunities I see in the CIA World is, you know, obviously, leadership’s commitment, and executive education. You know, executive education is a huge thing. We all time forget that, hey, you know, CEOs or CFOs, or CEOs, they’re gonna do everything for us. You know, that’s the mindset that the workforce has. But we have to also understand that education to all level is really critical to moving forward and change that culture change that mindset. So, executive education is one of the key things that I think that, you know, the future opportunities are here. And with other things, I believe, with the industry that, you know, we can leverage is the technological revolution. So the technology that coming out machine learning, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, you know, augmented reality. So, we don’t have to be in our status quo all the time, say, Hey, this is the old way of doing ci, you know, yeah, but it here is a new technologies revolutions happening. So we have to open our mind and try to see how can we leverage those technology, so that we can do a better foundation for organization, maybe streamlined process, and maybe streamline some of the efficiencies improvement that that we might not have? Have? By using the old, you know, way of doing things? Right. So he or I have heard that I have seen that before. In some cases, I see that people are resistant to accept the new technology. And also think about that, always, all these are goodies, right? So that mindset is, is is there. Yeah. But I think we need we need to be flexible. We need to say, okay, what’s out there? What are the things we can leverage that will fit for the business, right? We don’t want to be doing anything crazy, just by not not seeing that, hey, this is the technology just by because we need to use the technology, we are using that No. But we can always adapt and learn and see that, hey, how these technological revolutions might help us to get there where we want to go. So I think those are the key opportunities for this industry, moving forward.
Flexibility, really, that’s it, you know, and keeping your mind open, as you said, and be willing to evolve and adapt and not say, Okay, once I’ve implemented one thing I’m done, you know, I don’t need to do it again, because that’s not the case is you and I know it is changing every single day, you have to be willing to continue to learn. And, you know, keep your mind open to some of those new opportunities that are out there and how they may benefit your organization as a whole. So I couldn’t agree with you more. And to really sum up this entire conversation today between continuous improvement with operational excellence and also leadership. You know, all three of those are so key together, but what do you believe are three words that probably best describe leadership the best in your opinion?
Yep. I think that’s a that’s a good one. I would say, our audience that be a servant. That’s, that’s the key. When we think about ourselves as a servant, we, in the long run, we’re gonna be great leaders.
I couldn’t agree with you. And you know, I think that type of leadership is really becoming the face of the future for any organization does not matter what industry you’re in. So fantastic advice and great insights here for people that are you know, whether they’re rebuilding their organization from last year or deciding just how to move forward and this is a great stepping stone for them. So MD Thank you so much for being here. It’s been a pleasure. And thank you to everyone in the audience who is here today as well. I’m sure you will have further questions for MD not to worry. We do have a discussion forum underneath this presentation. Please be safe, be healthy and enjoy the rest of the impact operational excellence virtual summit. Thank you. Thank you.
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