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Q. Did you expect big moves forward during this process?

It’s not about moving the ball from A to Z. It’s trying to move the ball from A to D. You’re just trying to make continual improvements, whether it’s a lead process in sales or a manufacturing process on the shop floor.

It’s making sure I have my finger on the pulse at all times. I’m on the shop floor every day talking to our employees and talking to the people in the office areas.

Listen to what people are telling you because you’ll start hearing a recurring theme. You’re always going to have someone saying something that’s a little bit off-kilter or out in left field. But if you start hearing repetitive patterns of things, whether it’s of activities or situations, then they’re real. My job is to make sure they get addressed.

Q. How do you push people past their reservations about taking risks?

You ask them to have faith in you. When you do have a win, no matter how small it is, you have to make sure you talk about it. And because so many times we’re so willing to show when we have some failures, which is good, people also need to have positive reinforcement, too.

If you say customers are the most important thing and you don’t acknowledge that when someone does something well, how do you say that it is really the most important thing?

Celebrate your wins because people have to know, ‘Did we make any progress?’ They aren’t being exposed to the e-mails going around and the customer activity. It’s really important that we share some of those positive things with them because that keeps them energized and moving forward, as well.

Everybody wants to know that what they do matters, whether it’s leading the company or making a product for the customers. My job is to make sure that I’m listening to what’s going on because I can help. People on our shop floor and people in sales and marketing positions, they are the ones listening and they are the ones engaged in those activities at a day-to-day level.

They have ideas, and we’d be foolish not to listen to them. If we had all the answers, then why would we need all these people?

How to reach: Lauren Manufacturing, (330) 339-3373 or