Recommendation Or Decision Makers
Kaizen events are a very common tool used to help kick start employee engagement and improvement. I have led over 100 of the events in my career so far. In leading so many, I have made mistakes along the way. One of the biggest mistakes with any type of improvement team is not knowing ahead of time if the improvement team is making a recommendation that could be used or if they are the decision makers about the changes to be made.
I have found there is nothing that squashes employee engagement faster with a team then thinking they are the decision makers and the management team or sponsorship team considers their work a recommendation. When the recommendation isn’t fully used it leads the team to think it was a waste of time and the leadership doesn’t value their opinion or knowledge.
This is why it is important to identify who is the sponsorship team and gain their buy-in immediately. Without their buy-in the work that is completed will not get fully supported and therefore lack in execution.
The first question to the sponsorship team should be, “Is the improvement team making a recommendation to the sponsorship team or are they the decision makers for the changes and their job is to inform the sponsorship team of the decision so the sponsorship team can support them?”
This way the expectations of the team can be set up front on what their role is. Also, it is good to remind the sponsorship team of the role of the improvement team throughout the process. When the expectations are defined by the sponsorship team upfront and the team is made aware of their role the process goes smoother. Employee engagement stays at a higher level because the team knows what to expect.
Always determine upfront if the team is making a recommendation or making decisions.
Are there other questions an improvement team should ask before getting started?