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46: Focusing on Common Goals in Organizations- with Jim Bohn
Episode 466th March 2024 • a BROADcast for Manufacturers • Keystone Click
00:00:00 00:28:57

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Meet Jim Bohn

Jim Bohn PhD, is a researcher-practitioner focused on improving organizations one person at a time. He is a change management expert with decades of experience across multiple business markets and has spoken throughout the United States on topics of leadership, organizational performance and people development. He is currently coaching doctoral students at Concordia University. Dr. Bohn's focus is helping businesses throughout SE Wisconsin to overcome challenges and improve productivity. His primary research interest is Organizational Engagement, a complimentary approach to Employee Engagement. Dr. Bohn has multiple publications on Amazon.

How does your background uniquely make you suitable in the manufacturing space? 

Well, let's start with my background. I have run a punch press. I was a spot welder. I worked as a project manager across the United States with injection molding machines. I have machine oil in my veins. My father was a machinist. My son is a tool and dining maker journeyman.

I am sort of the black sheep of the family. I got the Ph. D. They did real work. But I have spent my time on the shop floor. I know what it's like to be out there. I've got a few scars with stitches to prove it. And I'm very proud of my blue-collar roots.


How do you get past the differences to get stuff done?

Well, it's a fundamental thing. You design the end. This is what we want to accomplish. [I’m] a baby boomer, as you can tell, I'm 71 years old. I offer some things. I've got a bucket of experience. I've seen lots of failure. But I don't have the skill set of some millennial who can launch the space shuttle from my phone.

And I think with all the generational differences, it's like “Okay, Boomer” or “Millennials are stupid.” If we do that, we're just shoving them into the corner as opposed to saying what can you bring to this? 

If you're a financial wizard and you're 18 years old, I don't care. I don't care where you came from. Bring your knowledge, bring your skill. A good leader will do that. And that's where I think that whole generational thing has been so divisive. It's helpful to understand. 

But again, I don't like it when somebody says, “Okay, Boomer,” because I look like an old man. Yeah, I'm old, but I can bring some things to you. I've seen the same stupid organizational mistakes over and over again. I can help you with that, but I'm not technically savvy. I want to know what you know, and I will learn from you if you slow down a little bit.


And so much more… 


Reference

Teens, Social Media and Technology 2023


Connect with Jim!

LinkedIn

doctorbohnphd@gmail.com 

People Development: The best part of leading a team


Connect with the broads!

Connect with Erin on LinkedIn for web-based solutions to your complex business problems!

Connect with Lori on LinkedIn and visit www.keystoneclick.com for your strategic digital marketing needs!  

Connect with Kris on LinkedIn and visit www.genalpha.com for OEM and aftermarket digital solutions!

Transcripts

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[00:01:32] Kris Harrington: I wasn't even aware it existed.

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[00:01:41] Lori Highby: You said, you said something about guilty pleasures and I was like, oh, you know, I've been drinking soda and I hadn't, I haven't done that in forever.

And for some reason, I just, I don't know.

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[00:02:05] Kris Harrington: We're going to have to find some and mail it to you. Make sure you get your fix.

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[00:02:14] Lori Highby: Now it's in your head for sure.

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[00:02:20] Lori Highby: They're probably owned by the same company. It's somewhere high up in the chain.

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[00:02:25] Lori Highby: All right. Well, today's guest is Jim Bohn PhD. He's a researcher practitioner focused on improving organizations one person at a time. He is a change management expert with decades of experience across multiple business markets. And has spoken throughout the U. S. on topics of leadership, organizational performance, and people development. He is currently coaching doctoral students at Concordia University. Dr. Bohn's focus is helping businesses throughout southeast Wisconsin to overcome challenges and improve productivity. His primary research interest is organizational engagement, a complimentary approach to employee engagement. Dr. Bohn has multiple publications on Amazon. Jim, welcome to the show.

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[00:03:17] Erin Courtenay: Everybody's thirsty. Actually that sounds pretty good.

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So let's talk about organizational engagement, employee engagement. How does your background uniquely make you suitable in the manufacturing space? I mean, I feel like this is something that has a lot of impact in manufacturing.

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I am sort of the black sheep of the family. I got the Ph. D. They wouldn't did real work. But I, I have spent my time on the shop floor. I know what it's like to be out there. I've got a few scars with stitches to prove it. And I'm very proud of my blue collar roots.

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I mean, yeah, both a matter of pride, but also it's a unique space and you're talking about some things that are difficult for these folks. So when you can come from a place of intimate knowledge, I'm sure that makes your work that much more effective.

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But on the shop floor, I remember when I was a real young pup, maybe 19, which is like 1000 years ago. I remember this guy walking out with his short sleeved white shirt, thin black tie. You know the trick, and he's doing a time study, and he just, He was not very kind to the workers. And then there was another guy that would come out onto the shop floor and he was engaging. He would talk to people, see them as peers, thank them for their work. The dramatic difference in how those guys responded stuck with me at a very young age.

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[00:05:23] Jim Bohn: I like technical terms like that.

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It's just understanding people and where they're from.

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I just think it's really stupid to diminish anybody on the shop floor. So when I'm out there, I'm kind of like you guys are in charge and I'm here to learn. I will tell you a little bit about my background so you know I'm for real, but you guys are doing the real work.

That's how far deep into the blue collar world I am. And yet you know, he'd look at me with my PhD and say that in 40 cents, I'll get you a cup of coffee. Show me how you get stuff done.

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Well, how would you describe your work ethic?

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As opposed to let me make up a hundred PowerPoint slides, describe the problem seven ways. And then let's have about 12 meetings. There were often times where very complicated problems would come up. I'd raise my hand and say, I'll take that. Because for me, it was just a matter of breaking problems down into manageable bites.

Again, which is a very methodical, blue collar way of doing things. Because if you do things differently, you might break or hurt somebody. So that's really my methodology. Let's go figure out what the problem.

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[00:07:10] Erin Courtenay: So I don't get this sense at all from you that you're a person that has strong opinions, but let's say you were. What in your opinion is the most important thing that organizations need to do right now?

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And I know differences are important. I respect differences. And for 45 years, I worked with everybody, and across the world. But focusing so much on how we're different and what we need to do differently, it neglects the primary function of an organization, which is to get stuff done together.

We can respect each other's differences just like we are within this call. But our job together today is to produce a podcast that's beneficial for other people. And I just see organizations struggling to strain on, on to all these differences, as opposed to say, let's do this together.

And by the way, if we do, we'll make more money, we'll be more profitable, we'll get more profit sharing and all the rest of that. So I think that's one thing organizations could do better. Organizations go through strange things, strange cycles over the decades. They go one way, they'll say, we're going to decentralize everything.

Then we'll centralize everything. And it's sort of the flavor of the decade. And I think right now we're sort of stuck in the difference category. I think progressively organizations will move to being able to say everyone can win together. That's my theory.

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But like you described the pendulum. We've swung to the point where you lose sight of what you can do as a cohesive whole, which is so much more. And also is so much more gratifying just as an individual when you're constantly stuck in like the who do I belong to, what team am I on. Then you lose that wonderful feeling of community where there's just so many different people and you can do something together.

So I love it.

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Yeah, we had differences . But when we got done with that, it was fantastic. And I look at that as probably the crowning achievement of my career. But we had to do that together. There was just no way that we could have done that alone. So that's where I think that's the big one.

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So obviously we have the political landscape that is driving differences, right? And once you get into your organization, you have to have acceptance among your team members in order to get stuff done to really, So that there has to be that. And thenthe other challenge is that there are, three or more generations in the workforce today.

And those are differences that get a lot of attention in how the work is completed. So I'm curious, just knowing that those are the differences and they're pretty big. I mean, they're out there. How do you get past the differences to get stuff done? Do you have any advice there?

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You design the end. This is what we want to accomplish. So Jim Bohn, who's a baby boomer, as you can tell, I'm 71 years old. I offer some things. I've got a bucket of experience. I've seen lots of failure. But I don't have the skill set of some millennial that can launch the space shuttle from my phone.

And I think with all the generational differences, if it's like okay, boomer or millennials are stupid. If we do that stuff, all people say is like, well, We're just shoving them into the corner as opposed to saying, okay, what can you bring to this? If you're a financial wizard and you're 18 years old, I don't care.

I don't care where you came from. Bring your knowledge, bring your skill. A good leader will do that, every bit of that talent together. And that's where I think that whole generational thing has been so divisive. I mean, it's helpful to understand. But again, I don't like it when somebody says, okay, Boomer, because I look like an old man.

It's like, yeah, I'm old. I got that. But the other part of it is, I can bring some things to you. I've seen the same stupid organizational mistakes over and over again. And I can help you with that, but I'm not technically savvy. I want to know what you know, and I will learn from you if you slow down a little bit.

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[00:12:13] Jim Bohn: The biggest mistake executives make is they get... I'll just use this illustration. When they walk through an airport, they pick a business book off the shelf because they want to be well read. In the business book, they find some new, cool idea. They bring it back. They get the organization all wound up and get it excited.

The next time they fly, they pick up a different book. They come back with a new, cool idea. And they're stacking up new, cool ideas in the meantime. Some poor buzzard like me several ladders down the food chain is trying to figure out, well, what do you really want to do? And especially when it comes to change, organizational leaders lose credibility with your people if they start a change and don't follow through. You got to follow through. Here we are. We've got a 2 million deal. We're going to release this new product. I will be with you from the front to the back. I'm not going to help you with everything, but if you need a barrier broken down or you need some resources, I will be with you until it is done.

They don't do that. They get started. They get excited. It's like, yeah, you guys go take care of that. And when a team sees that, they're like, are you really serious about this change or are you just excited about the next new thing cause you got bored with this?

That's why I call it architects of change in one of my books. From the day the ground is broken until the last doorknob and key is installed. That's how change has got to be managed. Again, they can't do everything. I get that. But if they should demonstrate surveillance and interest and even care with occasional, like John Cotter from Harvard says recognize small wins.

They all get that change done. Executives get the shiny new object thing in their eyes and they go on to the next thing. And that is just dumb.

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But as a person working for someone else, when they drop something that you had invested in, and they just kind of, it's so depleting, it's demoralizing. And so then the next one that comes along, you know, it's like attrition. Okay, sure.

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Because what happens is like, you know, I've been through this before of John Smith or whatever you are. And last time you did this you went off and did something else. I'm not real committed to this, as opposed to last time you did this, we got it done. I'm going to march into hell with you. There's a difference.

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[00:14:46] Kris Harrington: Yeah. We kind of have something in our organization. If we're getting sidetracked with anything, we'll say squirrel. So everybody knows that we're not staying focused on the task at hand and let's ignore the squirrels outside the windows that are distracting from what we're here to do. So a squirrel is kind of that word for us in our organization to bring us back. Yeah.

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We're already focused on this. That's a good idea, but let's table that and still stay on track right now. And I think it's good to have that kind of symbiotic relationship where the big idea is squirrel person, keep pushing the ideas out there, but you need someone to like, Hey, let's stay on track now. Let's keep doing what we said. Let's commit. Let's follow through and finish this to the end.

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[00:16:16] Lori Highby: Interesting. You like the analogies.

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[00:16:24] Lori Highby: Huh. Storytelling, for sure. 100%.

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But I still reach for them all the time.

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[00:16:35] Kris Harrington: Yeah, I bet you are.

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[00:16:41] Lori Highby: Oh, gosh, we're gonna move to the second half of our show, which is focused on I just learned that. Erin, why don't you finish that sentence? I just learned that.

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2023 was the driest year in Panama since 1950. So the Panama Canal subsequently is really, really low. And that is, as we all know, one of the major shipping channels on the globe. There are also some challenges in that other important part, the Suez Canal area. We all know stuff's going on there too.

So pay attention to your supply chain right now because we've got global weather patterns and global politics monkeying with our supply chain once again. So. That's what I just learned. I thought that was fascinating and also a good little warning. Okay, Kris, yeah.

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So I just learned, I think I shared with you ladies, so I'll be bringing this up a lot from now until I travel, but I'm headed to the 2024 Summer Olympic Games in Paris coming up this year, and I'm super excited about it.

times. The first time was in:

You know, as a child of the eighties and nineties, it's pretty interesting to me that it's going to be in an Olympic sports.

Now I did not intend on going to see any breaking while I was there. I'm there to see the women's football, which we call soccer here in the United States. And then women's basketball are both very excited to me. I want to go to the opening ceremony. But yeah, so if you guys are curious, I went and looked it up after I'm like, what are they doing with break dancing?

And they call it breaking. But The breaking competition will comprise two events, one for men and one for women, where 16 b boys and 16 b girls will go face to face in spectacular solo battles. Athletes will use a combination of power moves, including windmills, the six step, and freezes as they adapt their moves and improvise to the beat of the DJ's tracks in a bid to secure the judges votes and take home the first Olympic breaking title. It's kind of interesting, right?

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[00:19:55] Lori Highby: I think it's all fascinating. You know, people have amazing skills and they're different and unique.

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[00:20:13] Kris Harrington: Oh, and I will share this for all the broads fans. There are 10, 500 athletes that are going to be there. And it's supposed to be equally women and men at this Olympics.

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[00:20:25] Jim Bohn: Not to mention Paris is a lovely city.

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[00:20:33] Jim Bohn: But I would say, remember that for most French people, they're still fighting World War II and they still feel beholden to us for the Marshall Plan, which bailed them out.

I'll just leave that with you. They still have a sense of I don't know. I did not always feel welcome, let's just put it that way. And I think learning a couple of things like when you go into a store, you know, say like Monsieur or Madame, just to acknowledge their presence, that's a big deal.

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[00:21:03] Jim Bohn: You bet.

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[00:21:06] Lori Highby: Yeah. Thanks. I'll add to that. Actually, I did learn that on my European travels this past summer that if you even just attempt to speak the language, you have just so much higher level of respect and then just trying to just speak English the whole time. So it's definitely worth it.

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[00:21:25] Lori Highby: I'm going to share. So, pew Research Center just published a study that they conducted about teens' usage and social media and technology usage, and it's a little disturbing. The big highlight, the stat, there's tons of stats and data in here, and I'll include the link to the study in the show notes.

But when asked ages 13 to 17 years old, what percentage of their time is online? 46 percent said almost constantly. And 47 percent said several times a day. That to me is disturbing. I feel that this is way too much time glued to devices and technologies. And then the most popular channel is YouTube, which that hasn't changed, and then followed by TikTok and Snapchat.

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[00:22:24] Lori Highby: Yes. I just learned that because actually I think it's only like. 0. 3 percent of influencers actually make a true living off of social media. Otherwise everyone else, this is strictly a side hustle to make a couple bucks a month. But there's this glamour around it, but the reality is it's extremely competitive and significant amount of work to actually make it function for you.

And yeah, there's a ton of people trying to do it, but I also believe , and we've all seen like the evolution of the internet and technology. This is not a career path that someone should be focusing on. Manufacturing. Yes. Go make stuff. Yes.

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[00:23:14] Lori Highby: Jim, what have you learned?

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When I was a strapping young lad, 17 in high school, a guy decided to kick my kneecap instead of the ball. And that was 1969. I Got a surgery then, but I nursed this thing through miles of running, hundreds, actually I've ridden around the world on my bike, probably were up to 30, 000 miles. But within the last two months, all of a sudden it just went nuts.

And it was like, okay, we're done. Warranty's over. So, you know, being the crazy change person I am, I thought, Hmm, I'm changing. I'm going from one state to another. And I started thinking, well, what's common. I'm like, Oh, look at that. You should really think about what you're doing before you do it. For example, taking a walker through the house and finding out whether or not the walker will work.

Because that's not something you want to find out after the fact. I'm like, okay, there's an analogy. Maybe before you change your organizational IT system, you might want to find out whether or not it's actually going to work within your existing infrastructure.

I mean, you can read this on my post. It's hit well over 3, 000 hits now. People are liking it. But there were two really interesting ones. When people bring new products to the organization or new IT system, they'll typically download like seven binders to the poor unsuspecting person on the front line.

And say, here you go, here's your stuff, go at it, and now you go take care of the customers. Well, that's not, that's not much different than what they did with me when I left the building at the hospital. They said, they go through all these medications and all this stuff and do this and do that and do that.

first of all, I'm still relatively incoherent from the stuff. And I'm thinking like, I'm not going to remember all this. But the analogy there was at least I could come home and read through that. In industry, you push through really hard. But the really big one, the really dramatic difference, this just struck me.

Remember what I said before about following through? I won't get out of this program with my knee for at least another six weeks because of what? Follow through. That knee has to work to a certain level before they will let me get out of the program. And it's really for my benefit.

And organizations, when they start a change and say, that's great. See you later. So the follow through piece to me is dramatic, and I think it's something again, organizations can remember once we start this thing, we have to finish it so it's done correctly, because if I don't do it right for me, my leg will not be what I want it to be.

And for organizations, if you invest 2 million in a new piece of software that are going to affect four or 500 client services operations, and you don't follow through and do it well, you're in the same situation. It's just a physical body versus an organization. So those are the things I've learned.

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And I know we don't want to talk about COVID again, Lori, but you know, we were all ready for that business. And then Delta was like, guess what? And I, I'm using the bird here, if you can't, Lori said, I swear too much. She said, I'm using hand gestures. Instead. Anyway, audio only show.

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[00:27:02] Kris Harrington: We keep begging her every show, just, you know, get out of that shell.

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[00:27:08] Lori Highby: Oh, this has been fun, Jim. If anyone wants to get in touch with you, what's the best way that they can reach you?

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I'm glad to at least you point you in the right direction. Cause I know a lot of other people that can probably help you with different circumstances, but I recently got done doing a project with a local company and I think they're well on their way again. But that's how they can get to me.

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[00:27:52] Jim Bohn: Well, I'm glad to be on the show. And again, I hope people will take a look at my new book, People Development, especially manufacturers, because even people on the shop floor want to be developed in communication influence.

They want development stuff and it doesn't have to cost money. It just means taking the time to work with people.

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[00:28:12] Jim Bohn: Especially millennials, they want to know that their lives, lives count.

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