Collaborative Feedback…and…Performance Improvement

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By Sid Chadwick, Chadwick Consulting, Inc.

Excellence is…not the opposite of failure….Study disease and you will learn a lot about disease…and precious little about health. Eradicating depression will get you no closer to joy. Divorce is mute on the topic of happy marriage….If you study failure, you’ll learn a lot about failure but nothing about how to achieve excellence.”…..The Feedback Fallacy, Harvard Business Review, March/April 2019


We’ve focused working with our client’s Pressroom… for four months.

That’s not why we were asked by a key supplier to get involved. We were asked to get involved --- to organizationally, raise revenues, and margins.

Early-on, I recognized that’s not where we needed to start.

We’ve….correction….“They’ve”….squeezed about $2,000 a day in excess materials (sometimes referred to as “Waste”) --- from their Pressroom.  (And my opinion is there’s at least that much more --- including “increased productivity” --- to be gained.)

The short version of this story is that their Pressroom’s performance was neglected…..from multiple perspectives. Very little….was being critically measured, reported, or followed-up. (Each Presscrew…. was pretty-much…. “on his own”.)  

There were a few early heroes in this unfolding story. The owner….gave the Plant Manager direction, of what he wanted done. (The Plant Manager realized he’d neglected performance --- on numerous levels --- and went to work.)

However, The Plant Manager did some things that I considered important, which is partly why this company I believe…… has a great future.

The Plant Manager asked his Pressroom Crews --- to improve their performance, according to the strengths and skills --- of each lead Pressman. Each lead Pressman was treated somewhat differently. Each had different skill sets, and different strengths.

They were encouraged to collaborate with each other, to work with each other --- on the other’s shift (….and they did).

When you realize how much you’re losing, cost-wise, that your best competitors are not losing --- that’s a tough period of time --- to be patient, for progress to take hold…. and develop.

Because of his working relationship with his Pressmen, when he began letting them know what he really needed, and expected from each of them, as part of the process--- they responded.


Progress was not a straight line….but it started……gained momentum…..and continues.

That Plant Manager was respectful to his personnel….he was patient….and he was clear --- about what was needed. (In my opinion, that approach, was a critical part of where we are, and where we’re going.)

He listened to them at critical moments…..(including when there were outbursts of frustration), and……

Today, on their Pressroom Log, every Make-Ready’s time, and number of clean sheets (and “Overs”) --- are measured, recorded, and reviewed…… 

Summary Footnote: This company’s level of progress is such that…. the owner last week asked the Plant Manager to hire a third Pressroom shift….while also starting to run social media Ads…for experienced Sales Reps, willing to work…”45 – 60 hours per week…in a Team atmosphere”. 

“Focusing people on their shortcomings doesn’t enable learning; it impairs it”……..The Feedback Fallacy, Harvard Business Review, March/April 2019



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