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Paolo Nogueira,
His Example Keeps
Changing Attitudes all over the World!

Traducir al Español

After so many years...

It has been a lesson for a lifetime. My first contact with this impressive Brazilian was in 1966 and for more than 40 years I have probably practiced his advice several Thousand times. It has always worked with people from all races, cultures, educational levels, and time after time people enjoy learning this.

Who Is Paolo Nogueira?

Paolo started his career at Ford Motor Co. in Brazil from a bottom entry level as he would proudly say it. He was always smiling and would look at everyone in the eye. He knew how to be a mentor and a good friend. He learned Spanish in less than a year to a very high level of command. More than anything, he became a friend to all the hundreds of people at the Mexico foundry plant where he was the director. An authentic leader, no doubt!

His Management Strategy...

One day he invited a group of 4 managers to do a plant tour. As soon as we left the offices area, he started spotting all kinds of trash and picked it himself from the floor. At some point his hands were full, he turned to the Plant Engineering Manager and said: "We need a trash can in this place." In less than one minute the can was in place and he pulled a piece of chalk from his shirt pocket and marked the place. We kept walking through. Of course at this point all 5 of us were picking up wrappings, napkins, lunch bags, soda caps (no cans or plastic bottles at the time), pieces of wood from the pallets, pieces of wire, gloves, earplugs, rags, etc. a total of 6 or 8 spots were marked as needed to bring trash cans where they would be accessible. He did his best to say "hello" in his mixed "Portuñol" and shake the hands of most operators and other employees during the tour.

Just about a year later he knew by heart the names of almost everyone in that plant, and he demanded to be called Paolo, not "señor" or "jefe". He would talk with them about soccer, children, cars, anything he knew they were interested on.

Leaders are Measured by Results!

After one year of his excellent management, the Mexico foundry plant earned the recognition as "The Cleanest Ford Foundry in The World." To celebrate this he was pictured on the cover of the Ford Corporate Magazine, sitting on the floor by the pouring area having dinner. He would say: "If we can keep a foundry this clean, there is no plant in the world that can't be this clean." Indeed, graphite, sand, starch, resins, water, cast iron grindings, hydraulic and lubricant oils, machining steel shavings, saw dust, and many other materials are a constant contamination challenge, but we all learned that it can be done!

By the end of that initial tour we had received a very valuable lesson that almost half a century later I still share with many people. And It Keeps Working!

The Tool: "Behavior Modeling"

Behavior Modeling is a very powerful tool that Leaders Need to Master if they really want to get up high! It is a clear message of "Do as I Do" instead of the authoritarian "Do as I Say". When we show people our respect and do ourselves in an emphatic show of humbleness and friendship something that will make their areas nicer, more comfortable, safer, world-class; people will gladly follow the example, no words needed.
This strategy works in any environment, it is like magic at home too.

Leadership is always better by example than by mandate. If you want people to enjoy doing what they do to comply with their responsibility, show them you are willing to do it yourself. This improves the image of the leader and makes the followers feel more comfortable and proud. That is the best status of a team that will be ready to support any new initiatives and succeed in each simple or complex task.

Behavior Modeling is among the many skills that we include in our
Management Through Leadership training products.

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Enrique Mora
Lean Management Training
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This page last updated on

30 July, 2011 10:15









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