Guest Post: Do They “Get It”?

Today’s guest post is by James Lawther.  James gets upset by operations that don’t work and apoplectic about poor customer service.  Visit his web site “The Squawk Point” to find out more about service improvement.

As you get used to improving processes, the one thing that becomes obvious, over and over again is that the more complicated we make things the more difficult it is to get them right.  Half of the time the biggest process improvement we can make is to make things nice and clear and simple.  It doesn’t really matter if you are working in high volume manufacturing, healthcare or for a bank, the principle holds true:

  • Sort out roles and responsibilities
  • Make things visible and obvious
  • Ensure that customer requirements are written down clearly (in words of not more than 4 letters)…

Why does this work?  Well that is fairly easy to answer, because if things aren’t clear and simple they are difficult, and then, lo and behold, people get them wrong.

At this point your eyes are probably rolling to the back of your head; this is not exactly new news is it?

No it’s not, but here is the rub, as process improvement people we have:

  • Theory of Constraints
  • Total Preventative Maintenance
  • ISO 2000 (and some)
  • 6 sigma
  • Total Quality Management
  • Lean
  • … and the list goes on

Not content with all of that we then proliferate like crazy, within the topic of Lean I have read about:

  • Lean Manufacturing
  • Lean Thinking
  • Lean for Service
  • Lean Management
  • Lean Sigma (my personal favourite, an excuse to sell books if ever there was one)

Then we have the audacity to complain that those we work with don’t “get it”, whatever “it” is.

Can you blame them?

Albert Einstein is quoted as saying “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”

Could you explain things simply for those around you?

Is it time we took some of our own medicine?

Posted on September 21, 2011, in Guest Post, People, Tools and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Great post. Sort out roles and responsibilities is a huge aspect. Informal leaders all too often fill the leadership void left by those paid to perform that task. Give me a team of motivated lean practitioners and would cut direct supervision budget in half. Also I really like the Einstein quote I will internalize that.

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