Mary is an IMEC Technical Specialist who helps manufacturers improve their business and leadership strategies. She has been with the organization for 14 years and has over 22 years of experience in the chemical and food ingredient industries. Since her time with IMEC, Mary has helped Illinois manufacturers grow and maintain over 300 jobs and generate an aggregate impact of over $27M.
MOST REWARDING PROJECT?
Training Within Industry (TWI) Job Instruction (JI) projects are some of my favorites. Providing knowledge transfer on the worksite is something we just don’t give enough of our time and attention to. We believe that if a person is good at their job, they will naturally be good at training someone. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Providing knowledge and training to another person is a skill that takes practice. Anyone can learn how to do it using the TWI 4-step method – as long as they practice the skill. Participants have fun in these sessions since we train and practice in class, then I help them on the shop floor. When the light bulbs go on for the learners and they really start to practice this every day, the entire company benefits.
MOST CHALLENGING PROJECT THAT RESULTED IN POSITIVE IMPACTS?
Working for very small manufacturers presents a myriad of challenges. Most owners want to raise their companies to the next level. This can be difficult since they are pulled in so many directions, resources are limited, markets are changing continuously, and employee turnover gets in the way. IMEC has the ability to be agile and brings a wealth of knowledge to the small manufacturer in bite size chunks. I have partnered with small manufacturers and helped them take a longer-term view of their business in order to make sure they align their resources in the best way possible to achieve their longer-term goals. This has resulted in more effective workflow as well as bottom line improvements.
INTERESTING NEW INDUSTRY TREND THAT DRIVES GROWTH THROUGH ENTERPRISE EXCELLENCE?
Supervisor skill development is becoming more important to the success of any organization. Supervisors are the people who have the day-to-day interactions with the majority of the workforce. They have a strong influence on how engaged employees are in the success of your business. They are often promoted from an individual contributor role to a supervisory role, and are usually not provided the skills they need to get work done through others. Providing them leadership skills will help them build strong employee teams, thereby delivering strong business results.
COMMON TOPICS NOTICED WITHIN THE INDUSTRY?
Workforce skill development and retention is something that challenges almost every company. As people are given good training, they feel more self-assured and are better able to make good decisions.
MOST USEFUL MEDIA FOR PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT?
I prefer face-to-face learning as well as reading. One of my favorite books, which I reference in much of the training I provide to clients, is The Invisible Gorilla by Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons. It points out how our biases and beliefs, while true to us, may not really be true. A fun, easy read that makes you think.
"My favorite days are working with supervisors and managers to help them develop strong leadership skills. They gain confidence and strong processes that help them create good atmospheres for their employees. I like checking back with them to find out how their work lives have improved and how they have improved the work lives of their employees." Mary Hallock, Technical Specialist (IMEC
Learn more about Mary and how she can help you create your competitive future here.