FOSS Analytical

Working with relations - Experiences from FOSS Analytical

Measurable results, concrete facts and visible effects on the bottom line are what most companies relate to every day. But what if you forget feelings, attitudes, relationships and conflicts? FOSS Analytical has chosen TWI Job Relations (TWI JR) in their work with relations.

Written by Carina Skriver Sehested, Junior Consultant, Business Through People
Published at: effektivitet.dk and SCM.dk
Date: October 2016

FOSS Analytical produces advanced analytical equipment for the food industry. With several years of focus on LEAN and different management courses, the processes in FOSS Analytical have been standardized and tested. However, processes are one thing, feelings and attitudes of the employees is another. By acknowledging that the relationships are as important as the processes, FOSS Analytical got started working with TWI JR in 2015.

TWI JR provides employees and leaders with a basic tool to remember that feelings and attitudes are to be worked with and understood in everyday life. By formulating the relations work through proactive and reactive conflict management, many processes will proceed significantly simpler and smoother. Attitudes and feelings such as anger and sorrow may greatly affect organizational processes.

Good work relations
Theis Bober, Factory Manager for Foss Analytical, believes that good work relations are a strong foundation for a company such as theirs. TWI JR teaches how good relationships between employees as well as between employees and managers can produce good results and how bad relationships for the same reason are likely to produce poor results. Still, many companies are hesitant to work with conflict management.

However, at FOSS Analytical, there is no doubt about TWI JR.

"Regarding bottom line results, JR is a bit more fluid. But it's about respect for each other. Respect for people."

Theis Bober, who has worked as Factory Manager at FOSS Analytical since May 2015, believes that TWI JR gives leaders a purely basic foundation in their daily lives. Most managers have many different management courses on their CV, but sometimes the most basic processes are forgotten in the daily work.

"Even if people have participated in management courses and whatnot, the basic yellow cards (TWI cards) work exceptionally well! As a checklist of what is really to be remembered to do in the heat of battle when conflicts are difficult to avoid."

The yellow TWI card runs through four basic steps regarding conflict management. These steps provide an overview of the situation before escalation occurs leading to bad relationships. By unveiling the whole situation and not jumping to conclusions, an overview is created that allows for the best possible action before the conflict escalates.

”The invisible factor”

It may be difficult to see measurable results when working with attitudes and feelings in an organization. Often, the more unnoticeable elements that occur in an organization's everyday life are forgotten in favor of management by results.

In fact, feelings and attitudes can be called the "invisible factor" of the organization. Invisible factors such as feelings and attitudes are important to achieve a positive and efficient workforce.

FOSS Analytical has focused much on the invisible factor. Theis Bober describes that it can be difficult for managers to understand why it is important to work with invisible factors. In this case, invisible means something that can be difficult to visualize on the blackboard like many other actions in everyday life.

"It's hard to write on a blackboard that NN has not been very productive in a group because XN and NN have some problems working together."

The invisible factor is an important co-player and foundation for effective work processes being followed. When working with conflict management, ignoring employee feelings and attitudes may pave the way for new conflicts. So even if you think a problem is solved, there is a risk that you start three new problems with your well-meaning action.

On a busy day, it is easy to work with the rational and visible processes that take place in an organization. But management today can no longer be performed as management of rational processes only. In all organizational contexts, non-rational processes occur that should be taken into account if one wants to achieve desired results and organizational development.

Feelings or facts?

TWI JR helps make feelings and attitudes more concrete and visible. By working with the most basic processes on the yellow TWI card and reminding each other to go through all the steps, employees' feelings and attitudes become something concrete that can be handled. Theis Bober describes it as follows:

"Employees have shown a good understanding of the importance of being able to identify feelings. It is a relief for them that even the factory manager says we acknowledge feelings and attitudes. You are used to always arguing with concrete facts. But now it also becomes fact that one has a feeling and an attitude."

By making the invisible factors visible, it becomes easier for both management and employees to express their views, as expressing them is thus valued.

In the work with LEAN and a constant pursuit of the most efficient work processes, we should only think about the relational processes of everyday life. Not only the relational processes that occur between individuals but also very much the processes that occur within the individual during a conflict or in the escalation of a conflict. If we can handle the employee's feelings and attitudes as real facts during conflict management, we will resolve the conflicts more respectfully.

TWI works in parallel with reality

TWI is a continuous process for FOSS Analytical. Theis Bober believes that FOSS Analytical's work with TWI is important. He believes TWI is very suitable for delivering results and he can already see the results. He emphasizes in particular that TWI is not week-long courses that are far from reality. TWI works in parallel with the company's reality and is therefore easier to work with concretely.

So why are the feelings, attitudes and relationships in an organization important? For FOSS Analytical, the recognition of and work with employee feelings as well as the ability to argue with feelings as facts is an extremely important process in the daily work. It is simply about respect for people.

The yellow card

The card that supports the TWI Job Relations method consists of 2 pages. The first page describes how to prevent conflicts using the four fundamentals of good relations. Page 2 describes how to handle a given conflict by analyzing a situation and thoroughly understanding the facts before making decisions and how to follow up the decisions using the TWI JR 4-step conflict management method.

Theis Bober, Factory Manager, FOSS Analytical A/S

Theis is responsible for FOSS Analytical's factory in Hillerød, Denmark. Theis has many years of experience in LEAN implementation as production manager and LEAN agent at FOSS Analytical.

FOSS Analytical A/S produces innovative analytical equipment for the food industry in 28 countries. FOSS Analytical has more than 1,350 employees worldwide. Business Through People / TWI Institute Scandinavia delivers TWI training to FOSS Analytical.

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John Vellema
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