Saturday, 29 September 2012

Its a Learning Problem

Behind many productivity problems is a learning problem. It is astonishing how often employees are poorly trained ... and in many cases, completely untrained, to do the job they are supposed to do.

We then blame 'poor performance' ... and of course it is poor performance ... on behalf of the management team who should have provided the training ... and refreshed the skills when necessary.

So, when you see 'poor performance' ... ask yourself whose fault it is.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Where's Mike?

In 2007, the state of Iowa in the USA hired Mike Rohlf, a black belt in Six Sigma, to apply 'Lean' to the various processes and procedures of state government.

Mike is still there ... appropriately as a 'one man band' (very lean).

For each project, Mike works with volunteers from different areas within the agency in question, as well as 'correctives' - non-biased independents from an unrelated department.

They map what goes on ... and set about trying to improve on it. The state has carried out 180 such projects and is convinced of its success ... though this is difficult to measure because of the 'softer', qualitative improvements (like better service) that come alongside any cost savings.

One example - last year’s overhaul of the vocational rehabilitation office that assists with Social Security reimbursements is on pace to net about 20 percent more federal reimbursement money, or roughly $100,000 annually.

As ever, changes are often very simple ... in this case, moving from a paper to an electronic claims process.

So, who in your organisation is doing what Mike does for Iowa.

Saturday, 15 September 2012


Do you know what the term 'governance' means.

If not, look it up.

Then think about the governance issues relating to your business. If governance only involves you, how do you know you are doing a good job?

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Remove the printer

Have you tried removing the printer from your office. 

There will probably be an outcry if you do.

However, it is amazing how people start to be a little more ingenious in how they work ... when they cannot print just-in-case ... and print multiple times, because they print but don't file.

Think of the trees you will save .. the cost of paper ... and the time taken walking to and from the printer.

And what have you lost?

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Explore the options

I've just had to take a potentially costly decision ... one I wanted to take, but carefully. It is obviously important to explore options ... but, too often, we explore only those options we have explored before. The 'trick' is to find some way of exploring different, perhaps innovative, options .. by talking to different people, by reading different material, by asking different questions. Next time you take a big decision - before you take it - ask yourself which of the options you are exploring is 'different'.