YKK Stories

Fundamental Behavior 14 – Invest in relationships

September 24, 2021
Author: YKK
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Invest in relationship

As I sat down and started typing this message, I was overwhelmed by examples that I could use for this week’s behavior regarding personal relationships. Of course, I could discuss those of my grandfather, parents, or spouse, but I chose an example of my early work-related experiences.

38 years ago, I graduated from vocational-technical school with a drafting certificate—an eager graduate ready to apply my new learned skills. I accepted a position as the logo designer for YKK (U.S.A.) Inc. Snap and Button Group (formally Universal Fasteners Inc.) in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky.

My first experience of conflict involved the internal Machine Shop manager, who was a skilled journeyman machinist. After I submitted a new tooling work order to his department, he visited my desk, tossed the drawings on my desk, mumbled under his breath, and left. No red markings indicating problems or issues. I reviewed the drawings and found nothing to my knowledge that was wrong. At that point, my trainer said, “Here is what you need to do. Take the drawings down to him and ask him to explain the issue, maybe even ask suggestions to make improvements, and see how it goes.” So I did, and little did I know, I had drawn the prints correctly in the concept of a designer, but not in consideration of how it needed to be produced by a machinist; My version created extra calculations and labor cost. From that point forward, he seemed to enjoy me asking for his input on new tooling ideas. He saw my desire to learn and spent a lot of his time with this young novice, explaining machining principles and processes. Although unaware at that time, we both were investing in our working relationship.

Being consistently invested and good to someone makes you loyal to each other. My question to you today is: Are you only making withdrawals from your (personal and/or professional) relationship or are you investing to sustain and to be loyal?

Chuck LeCompte
New Product Development Manager
YKK (U.S.A.) Inc. Snap and Button Products