Sustainable Operational Excellence Steps 7-12
Step 7. Problem Solving: Increasing performance every day.
As creating standards (step 5) becomes habitual, you will find that problem solving accelerates.
There are hundreds of problem-solving philosophies, techniques and training courses out there. Just try to understand the cause, concern and countermeasure. Let the team tackle their problems.
Solving problems lets you get to the positive side of the ‘performance curve’: check with the team each day about how they feel by showing everyone where they are on the performance curve (this is a curve that plots performance against pressure).
Problems generate pressure, so the more you solve, the happier the team. When the team knows that someone is feeling bad, they will try to help, and soon you will have the team relieving the pressure and being engaged in the well-being of each other. So productivity & engagement can only increase.
If you are ready to increase productivity & engagement within your team, speak to Ian from Unleash & Engage today about this 12-step process and the impact it can have on your business.
Step 8. Standard Calendar: Making time, every day, for the things that really matter.
Habits: if you have a Daily Stand Up Meeting, daily process confirmation and problem-solving set the time in your calendar. Respect that you and your team do this.
If you build a rhythm, a drumbeat of the business, you will find that your management will respect this and do the same. The frequency of conflicting meetings and expectations will reduce because you are generating predictability: the team will appreciate this.
If you reflect on the steps described over the last 8 posts, you’ll see that we are generating productivity by removing the negative unpredictability from our daily work. We are creating a safe working environment where expectations are being clarified and it’s OK for team members to ask for help. We’ll provide more on this theme in the next post.
Let’s get building the drumbeat of your business.
Step 9. Workload Levelling: Let’s be fair.
Individuals cannot work at their best if they are not given the right amount of work. Remember the performance curve? Too little or too much work generates stress.
Let’s think about, and make visible, the team workload. Distributing the work fairly and evenly.
We must understand where demand genuinely exceeds capacity. Your team will thank you for this, and you will be able to dive straight into step 10, skills and versatility.
So, if you want the best results in terms of productivity and profitability you have to do workload levelling; it’s only fair.
Step 10. Skills & Versatility: Developing a well-balanced team.
When you have clear expectations (standards, step 5) and you provide support to maintain these standards (process confirmation, step 6) it’s much easier for everyone to see the skills needed within the team.
Points of vulnerability and strength can be seen, and the team can support each other to develop. Problems can be reduced during vacations, absence and when people leave. A widely skilled team further supports Workload Levelling (step 9) and reduces stress points in the group.
Developing your well-balanced team means that it is becoming a great place to work.
Step 11. Habits & Reinforcement: Building the team culture
The culture of an organization cannot be described in words: it is the collection of the habits of that organisation. Coaches of even the best performers have to continually ensure that they maintain and strengthen the essential habits of the team members.
Think of your own personal habits: in many cases they define you. You do things without thinking about what you’re doing: they are easy to follow and hard to break.
You have created the basis of the habits that are healthy for the team, so now you must maintain and strengthen them. The leader of the team must now focus on being the coach, maintaining the desirable and engaging culture.
When teams work with Unleash & Engage steps 1 through 10 not only show them how to do this but we’ve created time for this most important activity.
Step 12. Sustainment Planning: Maintaining the productivity
In our experience, steps 1 through 11 will generate at least a 20% increase in productivity (usually more). In many cases, organisations will get outside help to assist with the changes. If the changes are still novelties, or not understood by the team, they will quickly be dropped, and the previous habits will re-emerge.
At Unleash & Engage, we plan from the outset to ensure our clients build their own transformation so that they defend it long after we are gone. Before we can leave, we need to help the leaders of the teams have a plan to maintain the great new habits they have created.
The results will already be good, so let’s plan to maintain and further improve them, maintaining the intensity and frequency. This is after all what most businesses want, not just change but sustainable change and leaders who can coach teams and continue to develop long after we’re gone.
Unlike other consultants we only consider a project a success if it’s continuing to deliver results for clients for a long time afterwards, this sets us apart, contact Ian from Unleash & Engage on firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more about our client’s successes.