Lean and Continuous Improvement

Continuous Improvement Tip – Don’t Forget WIFM!

When implementing a Continuous Improvement (CI) activity, it’s important to show your operators the “What’s in it for me?” or WIFM, to boost their motivation and engagement.  Here’s some simple but impactful metrics that address the WIFM for CI.

Sometimes when we undertake CI activities to improve a process, we as leaders tend to forget the WIFM aspect for the operators in the process.  Sure a big part of the intent of CI is to engage and empower our operators to have a higher level of involvement and ownership in the success and improvement of the business, but at the end of the day, CI also needs to have positive impact on what they do everyday.

Although we do want our operators to understand and care about our management metrics such as Safety, Quality, Productivity, and Cost, unfortunately sometimes what they hear is that we want them to work faster, harder, or go without.

An effective way to motivate and inspire operators to identify CI and drive improvements in processes is to establish key performance metrics that directly impact their process.  Typically these indicators are inputs or leading indicators that if improved will impact the outputs or results you are trying to improve at the overall process level.

Examples of some good input metrics that have meaning to the operators include:

  • Distance they walk in a shift
  • Total number of steps they take
  • Number of twists of their upper body
  • Number of reaches
  • Total weight lifted
  • Number of decisions made per cycle
  • Ergonomic burden score

Before your kaizen or CI activity, work with your operators to define the key metrics and measure them.  Then make them visible by listing the before condition on a flip chart, white board or other means of display.  Next engage with the operators to determine ways of improving these metrics through the kaizen or CI activity.  Track the improvements for each, or the after state, to clearly show the improvements being made that directly impact the operators every day.

What other metrics do you track of this nature to show your operators the WIFM and positive impact your CI activity is having on their process?  Leave a comment.

 

*Feature Image republished with permission by High Performance Solutions

Other Related Posts:

Do your processes “tick-off” your operators?

Do You Have What it Takes to Lead Continuous Improvement Teams?”

Do Your Continuous Improvement Teams Have What It Takes To Win?

 

You can email me with any questions at glennsommerville@hotmail.com, find me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/glennsommervilleL2R/, or on Twitter at  https://twitter.com/gsommervilleL2R.

 

 

 

Leadership, Personal Development

Setting Personal and Professional Goals and Objectives – Tactics or Action Plans

The tactics or action plans are what brings goals and objectives to life and make things happen!  Whether setting personal or organizational action plans, this is also a step that if not done well, can lead to disappointing results.

In the last post, Setting Personal and Professional Goals and Objectives – Goals and Objectives, we discussed the various important points of strategy or focus areas and how these then lead to goal development and then SMART objectives.  In this post, we discuss the critical execution stage of developing Tactics or Action plans used to deliver a successful objective.

The tactics or action plans clearly describe the tasks that you and/or your teams will do to achieve an objective.  Action plans are typically developed annually describing the tasks to be taken by whom, and when they are to be completed.

Action Plans are the detailed and specific tasks that will be taken to achieve one or more goals. 

When determining the action plans, be sure to review all the information gathered during the strategy brainstorming such as the SWOT analysis. Involve as many of the stakeholders as possible when determining the action plans. You need to define as many tasks or actions necessary to achieve the objective.  The more detailed you are, the more likely you are to achieve the objective.

Each action to be taken should include the following details:

  • What action is to be taken
  • Who is responsible for taking each action
  • When is each action to be completed
  • What resources are required to make the action happen

road-closed-sign-1-1165296-1279x591A key step I believe that is very important, is to identify the main barriers or risks to completing the individual tasks.  These are the things that can block progress or achievement of the task, or distract you or your teams.  Identify what they are up front and then invest time and focus to determine what mitigation steps can be taken to reduce the risk of impact.  For each barrier determined, consider multiple mitigation ideas or steps you can take to avoid or reduce these risks.  Build those into your plans.  These barriers and mitigation ideas can then impact or cause you to revise multiple parts of your action plan such as the what, who, when, or how.

For example, let’s say you have a personal objective to develop a 3 year strategic plan for your team.  While considering the barriers that can stand in your way, you identify that the day to day operational nature of your responsibilities may prevent you from having time to spend thinking strategically.  As mitigation to this you may decide to block a certain number of hours per week in your calendar for the entire year specifically for “Strategy Development”.  You go further by selecting a day of the week or afternoon in which you can work off-site to reduce the chances of casual interruptions.  Reviewing your calendar, you find that the best day to do so, would be Thursdays as there are typically less head office meetings, your team is heads down on priorities for the week, and you have the most control of your calendar.  Blocking your Thursdays across the horizon for “Strategy Development” will go a long way towards removing this identified barrier.

“When something is scheduled, it is 92% likely to happen!”

In the post Setting Personal and Professional Goals and Objectives – Goals and Objectives, we used the following objective examples:

  • Personal Objectives:  Reduce my weight to 165lbs by June 1st and sustain through an active lifestyle.
  • Organizational Objective:  Reduce operating costs by 12% within 12 months.

While considering the barriers to achievement of these objectives, we determine that in the case of the personal objective the dark and cold mornings during the winter months are a real deterrent from a morning run.  Furthermore, for the organizational objective, a barrier is determined that many of the operating costs are governed by existing contracts and purchase agreements.  What action plans can be taken to achieve the objectives while taking these barriers into account?  The following are potential examples:

  • Personal Action Plan:  Purchase a treadmill for less than $1500 by 1 September.
  • Organizational Objective:  Establish a cross functional team comprised of operations, engineering, procurement and legal and identify top 10 contracts based on annual spend and opportunity, to review/renegotiate by 15 March.

The next step is a step that is often overlooked.  The problem is that after the action plans are determined everyone goes back to “normal life”.  However, soon after returning to “normal life” the action plans are forgotten.  Why?  Usually because the action plans are not integrated into daily routine and cadence.  The action plans will not happen on their own; you need to make them happen.

Here are some methods to “operationalize” your action plans:

Personal Action Plans:

  • Add repetitive actions to your Leader Standardized Work
  • Add an action plan review cadence to your Leader Standardized Work
  • Post a copy of your objectives and tasks where you will see them daily
  • Integrate into your regular weekly planning routine by adding specific tasks or actions you need to take that week as well as to review your progress and adjust as necessary
  • Set repeating calendar reminders or scheduled tasks in your calendar to review objectives and action plans on a regular basis

Organizational Action Plans:

  • Involve your team throughout all phases of developing the goals, objectives, and action plans
  • Create charters for each goal that clearly describe the problem, objectives, inputs/outputs, action plan, milestones, deliverables,  and team
  • Post or make visible to the entire organization the goals, objectives and the teams responsible for the action plans.  Regularly post updates on progress and performance.
  • Create a project plan and schedule, complete with gantt charts
  • An entirely separate topic is to implement the Hoshin Deployment Matrix to deploy and align your entire organization on your most important organizational objectives
  • Add an action plan review cadence to your Leader Standardized Work
  • Schedule regular cadence reviews with your team in which they report out on action plans and metrics, request your help, and you can provide direction
  • Conduct a gemba to review the results of actions within the operations
  • Celebrate and recognize accomplishment and completion of tasks.

 

What do you do to “operationalize” your personal or organizational action plans?  Leave a comment.

 

Other related posts:

  1. Setting Personal and Professional Goals and Objectives – Goals & Objectives
  2. Setting Personal and Professional Goals and Objectives – Mission Statements
  3. Reflections Vs Resolutions – It’s That Time Of Year!
  4. Lead with Vision
  5. Elements of Strategic Planning – Systemico.ca
  6. What Are Your Goals? – Valiance Coaching
  7. New Year’s Resolutions/Goals and How to Keep Them – The Whole House
  8. Don’t Make Resolutions! Set Goals... – Gloria Green Entertainment
  9. Demystifying the Hoshin Kanri X Matrix – Kanbanize

You can email me with any questions at glennsommerville@hotmail.com, find me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/glennsommervilleL2R/, or on Twitter at  https://twitter.com/gsommervilleL2R.

Leadership, Personal Development

Setting Personal and Professional Goals and Objectives – Goals & Objectives

In the last post, Setting Personal and Professional Goals and Objectives – Mission Statements, the importance of establishing mission statements and the associated values were discussed.  This is true whether you are doing so as an individual, family or organization because without them the goals you develop may not be the right ones, or ultimately not get you to your desired outcome or destination.

The next step is to develop the areas of focus, or in business referred to as strategies, that you will deploy to achieve your mission.  This is the beginning of creating a plan defining how and what direction you will take to achieve your mission.  Strategies are statements of the methods or plans you have chosen to take in the course of achieving your mission.  You are likely to have multiple strategies for each mission.  Unfortunately, strategy development is a step often skipped by many people and they go straight to goal setting.  The issue is that even if you accomplish the goal, you may or may not have actually achieved an important part of your mission.

800px-swot_en.svgStrategy development should start with some open, honest discussion and brainstorming among the key stakeholders.  A great method to facilitate such brainstorming is the SWOT analysis.  SWOT is a method to identify the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats related to the individual or organization.  When setting personal goals and objectives, this may seem like overkill, however, it is just as an important step as it is for a business or organization.  Why?  It’s an important step because it helps you determine and clarify what and where you should build upon and focus.  As well it helps identify the elements that are likely to erode your chances of success.  The items identified through the SWOT analysis are also critical to know when developing your detailed action plans.

Once the SWOT analysis is complete, you can then step back and begin to identify focus areas that will lead you towards your mission.  Again, invest the time to make these statements clear and descriptive enough for all to understand and articulate enough to define what you’re going to do in a broad sense.

Examples of Strategies or focus areas:

  • Personal Strategy:  Manage professional and personal life in sustainable ways that keep my energy flowing, and my mind and body healthy and happy.
  • Organizational Strategy:  Grow current business units by re-investing savings from efficiencies gained by waste reduction.

Following strategy development is the setting of goals.  Many people use the terms goals and objectives interchangeably, which is incorrect as they are very different.

A goal is a statement explaining something you want to achieve.  A goal is a milestone to achieve while implementing a strategy. 

There can be multiple goals within each strategy.  Goals should be simple, clear, and easy to understand.  Goals need to align with the desired and defined values already determined.  Goals also need to be able to change and evolve over time as required.

Your goals should be achievements or outcomes to be realized over a 3 to 5 year span.  They should be aggressive but achievable.  You don’t have to know how you will achieve a goal when you create it.  That step comes later.  If a goal is to be achieved over a longer period of time than 5 years, then I recommend that you break that goal down into 3-5 year interval goals.

Examples of goals:

  • Personal Goal:  My health is my No. 1 priority maintaining good physical shape, and healthy mental and emotional stability.
  • Organizational Goal:  Increase profit margins

Objectives define the implementation steps to attain a specific goal.  Objectives are what makes the goal’s general statements Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based or SMART.  They define the who, what, when, where and how necessary to achieve a goal.

smart-goals

Most people are aware of the SMART concept with setting objectives, however, this crucial step is often a point of failure for many.  This is usually because at least one component is not well enough defined.  This is particularly important within organizations where you are counting on more than yourself to understand, action, and achieve the objective.  If any one or more of these components are not well defined, the fish bowlprobability of success is dramatically reduced.  For example, if the objective is not specific enough the person or team working on this objective may not adequately understand the intent and despite working very hard on what they think is required, they deliver something very different than what was intended or even needed.  Similarly, if the objective and associated milestones are not clearly identified with completion dates, the “fish is likely to grow to the size of the fish bowl”, meaning, individuals and teams may take as much time as they can get away with, causing the goals to take much longer than desired or even necessary.   Lack of clarity or ambiguity in any of the SMART components can cause the fish to grow to the size of the fishbowl.

Examples of Objectives:

  • Personal Objectives:  Reduce my weight to 160lbs by June 1st and sustain through an active lifestyle.
  • Organizational Objective:  Reduce operating costs by 12% within 12 months.

bridge-jump-offIn the next post, we will discuss what I believe is the most critical step that really determines if the goals and therefore the mission will be accomplished; the Tactics or Action Plans.  Action plans are where the rubber hits the road.  As in the picture to the left, you may have a great goal to live an adventurous life, but if your action plan is flawed, the result could be disastrous!  “Follow” me to find out in the next post what the most important steps are in establishing and executing your Action Plans.

Additional Resources I found useful on setting Goals and Objectives:

  1. Elements of Strategic Planning – Systemico.ca
  2. What Are Your Goals? – Valiance Coaching
  3. New Year’s Resolutions/Goals and How to Keep Them – The Whole House
  4. Don’t Make Resolutions! Set Goals… – Gloria Green Entertainment

You can email me with any questions at glennsommerville@hotmail.com, find me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/glennsommervilleL2R/, or on Twitter at  https://twitter.com/gsommervilleL2R.

SWOT Image By:  Xhienne [CC BY-SA 2.5 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons
Together We Can - Values in Action!

#20 Together We Can, Values in Action!

Change things enough, that you can’t go back!

Scott Smith, President – High Performance Solutions

Leadership

Looking back and moving forward – A Leadership Journey

With another year ending and a new one beginning, it seemed fitting that I look back and reflect on the last year of my Leadership and Continuous Improvement blog.  I have to say it’s been both fun and rewarding.  It’s been a fun and fascinating journey into the world of social media with incredible learning and self-development along the way.  A great surprise has been the people from all around the world that I have virtually met along the way.  It’s been rewarding because I made a commitment to myself to give this a try for a year and in so doing had to maintain the discipline to post every week (with the exception of a few planned breaks), which trust me is not easy, but I did it!  It has also been rewarding to see the reaction and interest received from some of my posts.

So I will continue on my journey for another year and challenge myself once again to grow, develop, and learn more.  I hope you will join me again this year.  If you find my posts interesting and helpful, I encourage you to “follow” my blog directly.  Various social media such as LinkedIn, Facebook and others, use algorithms to determine what posts are seen in your news feed.  Don’t assume you will see my posts if we are connected on LinkedIn or Facebook.  By following my blog, you will always get notified of a new post which includes a quick link to that post.  I typically post an article 1/week plus a mid-week motivational quote.  Below is the link to my website:

www.glennsommerville.com

Looking back over the statistics on the posts from 2018, below is a summary and link to some of the top posts.  I’ve also included a few posts that may be of help at the beginning of the new year to assist you in getting organized and ready to achieve more this year!

Top Posts:

10 Important Steps of Effective Gemba Walks or “Go See”

By far my most viewed post!  Many leaders have heard the term Gemba, but few actually do it or struggle to do it well.  In this brief post, 10 steps of having an effective gemba are discussed to help leaders engage at the shop floor level to identify and solve problems  with their teams.

Gemba Walks – Tip #1

A quick two paragraph post giving a simple but effective tip to follow when on a gemba walk.  This tip helps the leader be engaged while paying full attention and respect to their teams.

Gemba Walks – Tip #2

A brief half page post to raise attention to a common problem continuous improvement teams often make.  As a leader, watching out for this is super important to realize the full potential of your CI activities.

Stop repeating bad history…

Ever been surprised that one of your systems or mechanisms has failed….again?  Probably this is because at least one of these three components are missing.

A Leader’s Best Question

This is my favorite question to ask as a leader.  It’s three words!

 

New Year’s Getting Organized Posts:

Leader Standardized Work is for, well, EVERYONE!

You don’t have to work on the manufacturing floor to utilize Leader Standardized Work (LSW).  LSW can help any leader become more consistent and effective.  This post discusses how to set-up and sustain LSW.

Reflections Vs Resolutions – It’s That Time Of Year!

A brief post that discusses why New Years Resolutions generally fail and why personal reflection is a such an important step before setting new goals and objectives.

Effective Leadership Skills – Personal Planning

If a leader is not well organized both professionally and personally, they are likely not going to be effective.  6 important tips on personal planning are covered in this post.

Effective Leadership – Part II – 6 Steps to Manage Your Time Effectively

Time is finite.  We all have the same amount of time in a given day.  So, how come some people seem to accomplish so much more than others?  This post reviews some key steps in how you can manage your time effectively and achieve more.

10 Steps to Improve the Work-Life Teeter-Totter (Balance)

I believe true “work-life” balance is a myth and see it more as a teeter-totter that has it’s ups and downs.  By taking these 10 steps you can achieve a better work-life ride that you control.

You can email me with any questions at glennsommerville@hotmail.com or find me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/glennsommervilleL2R/

Thanks for reading and following.  I look forward to continuing my journey in 2019 and welcome your thoughts and suggestions on topics and interests by leaving a comment!