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Using the Power of TWI Job Relations

How to Overcome Engagement Stagnation and Accelerate Change: Using the Power of TWI Job Relations


In the second article on TWI, Denis Becker discusses how operations managers can build engagement and accelerate change by using the TWI Job Relations program. TWI JR develops our supervisors’ and managers’ Skill in Leading teams and fast, effective change. High Performance Supervisors know how to build and keep the trust and collaboration of their people. They make the TWI JR Foundations for Good Relations part of their daily work. They catch and solve people problems early, using the TWI-JR 4 Step Problem solving method. In short, they make people a key priority of their daily work. This creates happier and more productive employees and implementing changes becomes much easier and faster.


Operations excellence is all about serving our customers better, and improving faster than our competitors. This requires us to build dynamic capability, that is the ability to handle change faster and more successfully than before. For any change to be successful, we need to bring our people with us. Strong engagement of front-line staff is, therefore, a critical ingredient of fast, sustainable process change. Without it, our progress will be slow and we will struggle to make changes stick.

TWI JOB RELATIONS helps our leaders build the level of trust and collaboration with front-line teams needed for successful continuous improvement. Success requires SKILL and WILL – they are like two sides of the same coin.

In my previous article I discussed how standardising work methods with the help of TWI Job Instruction accelerates lean transitions and boosts operating results.

TWI Job Relations cultivates the WILL. Together, TWI Job Instruction and Job Relations form a strong foundation for your operations excellence program, just as for the last 70 years they have done for Toyota.

Are we doing enough for employee engagement?

Nowadays most organisations regularly measure employee satisfaction and put annual plans in place, but find it hard to improve their scores. To overcome engagement stagnation and build dynamic capability to handle operations transformations and process changes faster, as operations managers we need to change the culture in our plants and offices. But how?

To build stronger engagement, supervisors and middle managers need to change the way they lead their teams. Actively working on building trust and collaboration needs to become part of their daily routines, alongside other tasks and habits that oil the wheels of production and customer service.

What kind of supervisor do we need?

A short while ago many of our team leaders and supervisors were our best operators. Promoting them from within makes a lot of sense, but it also creates challenges for our organisation and the new appointees. New team-leaders and supervisors must gain the acceptance of their old workmates in their new roles and learn to get results through other people. This is very different from just doing a good job on the process themselves. Not knowing how to make this transition is a key reason why many front-line leaders spend their days just keeping production moving, often by doing a lot of operator-level work themselves, rather than focusing their time and energy on building robust processes and self-reliant operating teams.

 Being the boss is not enough, they must transition to becoming leaders.

In TWI JR we say that what makes a leader is having followers. People follow you because they trust you have their best interest at heart. Trust is hard to build and easily damaged. It requires consistency, daily effort, daily habits, constant reinforcement. If the necessary kind of routines for this to happen are not yet part of the DNA of your office or shop-floor, your supervisors need to figure out on their own how to organise themselves and how to lead. Some of them might do well, but many will struggle. As senior leaders, we must do better.

How can we help our supervisors and middle managers to become better leaders?

TWI Job Relations, a leadership skills development program created to teach supervisors how to build trust and collaboration and how to solve people problems sustainably, is a godsend to senior managers looking to improve the way their operations are run and their people are led. And it is a blessing for supervisors and managers who want to learn how to maximise their teams’ potential and improve performance.

In TWI JR we say that good relations give good results, poor relations give poor results. The TWI JR program teaches supervisors 4 Foundations for Good Relations, which they practise every day and which, over time, build trust and improve attitudes and relationships in their team.

TWI JR also provides supervisors with a practical 4 Step Method for solving people-problems when they do arise. By applying this pattern consistently to real-life problems in their daily work, they quickly get much faster and better at removing problems for good. They also learn how to spot and catch problems early, before they become big and tough to handle.

Leadership skills can be taught. Like all Training within Industry and Supervisor Academy training programs, TWI Job Relations is designed to build practical skills, through hands-on field application. By building real skills and daily routines, supervisors are able to immediately apply what they have learnt and generate ROTI (Return on Training Investment) for themselves and for your organisation.

Where can I get help with the skills transitions of my supervisors & middle managers?

The TWI Institute and its global partners, including the Supervisor Academy ®, develop the essential leadership skills and support companies all over the world in embedding these skills into their daily operations practices.

Our time-proven training programs develop not just awareness and knowledge but practical, hands-on skills that your front-line leaders apply straight away to generate hard, fast results and build long-lasting habits that transform their way of leading and working.

Find out what we can do to help you develop High-Performance Supervisors, by e-mailing us: and visiting our Supervisor Academy and TWI Institute websites.

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