Posted tagged ‘employee trust’

Don Rust Leads The Way

May 2, 2010

I never heard of Don Rust a former plant manager of the Tonawanda, NY General Motors factory until Buffalo News columnist Donn Esmonde wrote an article about him.

Don Rust through his leadership skills made a difference in changing the culture of how management and unions worked together. Tom Carberry who has worked 37 years at the Tonawanda plant stated about Rust, “He was the first plant manager we could trust”.

Trust is an essential component of leadership, without it organizational success is doomed. Rust built trust by not hiding behind his office door, he mingled with line workers and sought ideas from union reps. Rust’s philosophy was to share decision making with workers.

Under Rust productivity at the plant increased 120% over five years and on one day in 1989, the plant produced 8,832 engines, still believed to be a world record for General Motors.

While the Tonawanda plant has suffered huge reductions in employees, the fact that it has survived at all is a tribute to the labor management culture created by Rust and union leaders. GM is now investing $800 million into the plant, bringing 400 new jobs and retaining 700 existing jobs.

Engaging the hearts and minds of employees is necessary for any organization to survive today. Don Rust shows how building trust can make a huge difference.

What do you think?