Step 1. Foundations for Success: Learning to be proactive.

By understanding the habits, you have and why they exist, you’ll understand that changing these habits will create huge opportunities. We must think about the neuroscience associated with how we build habits and how we get them to stick.

This is also an opportunity to challenge ourselves to establish the beliefs that we have and understand the trust behaviours that generate high engagement.

At the beginning of any transformation program we have to be realistic and appreciate the team will be thinking ‘Here we go again, is this change really going to stick?’ So, it’s essential to show how the full 12 steps to SOE look; through simulations, you can help people see how things might work and generate the belief that things will improve significantly.

So, people believe that changing habits takes a long time BUT the truth is it doesn’t, all it requires is intensity and frequency and this is what Unleash and Engage do really well. 

Step 2. Creating the Vision: How do you want to feel?

What is your purpose? What are you trying to achieve?

What do you want to have? What do you want to lose? What do you want to keep as a result of this transformation?

This can be brutal, but once a belief is established the destination is more attractive than the current position you are in. Creating a sense of purpose for everyday activities.

The vision is not a set of words that you put in reception. It’s a clearly articulated vision (not just with words) of how the future will look and FEEL!

As I said, achieving this can be brutal.

Be honest with yourself, ‘Is your vision alive?’ and more importantly, can everybody articulate it, do they really believe in it and work on it everyday? 

Step 3. Daily Stand Up Meetings: Talking about the important stuff every day

It may seem like we have jumped from 30,000 feet to being in the weeds, but this is not the case. After you have set the vision, you know what good looks like.

There are only 3 types of work: things we can control, things we can influence and things out of our control. So why not focus on the first two, making our performance clear and our problems visible and permanently fixing them

The team can design the visibility and the agenda of the meetings: they will build it.

The result is a team with the basis for self-accountability and performance. 

Step 4. Visual Management: How are we doing?

An essential part of sustaining Step 3 (Daily Stand Up Meetings) is Visual Management which gives the framework to make problems and exceptions visible.

Your Daily Stand Up Meetings may be difficult and hard to manage to begin with, but they will drive clarification of what is important and therefore should be visible and monitored. The U&E coaches do Visual Management differently to other consultants and this is the foundation for creating a high-performance environment and delivering sustainable improvement.

Find out more about the visual management techniques we are using with clients every day, simple things that make a big difference. 

Step 5. Standards: Making the implicit explicit.

When you think about it, you can’t really tell someone they have done something wrong unless you already have an explicit agreement about what is right!

If you’re getting into the habit of your Daily Stand Up Meeting, using Visual Management, you can have a conversation when you find problems or exceptions about ‘what should have happened?’

In my experience, in office-based roles, a lack of standards can be one of the biggest sources of frustration: people invest time and effort to create something that is subsequently criticized or not used because it did not meet the intangible expectations of a Manager somewhere in the business. Engagement comes when you know exactly what is expected and you can achieve it.

How do your standards stack up? Our team coach you, helping you to develop your standards and as they develop you get better and better. 

Step 6. Process Confirmation: Spend time with the team

Confirming that the standards (from step 5) are being followed is an opportunity for leaders to spend time with the team and to coach them. In order to develop people, you have to share your skills with your team: what better way to do this than to support the priorities of the day.

When handled correctly Process Confirmation is supportive, reduces pressure and helps people feel even more engaged.

Do you often wish you spent more time with your team developing their skills, improving efficiencies and communication? Give yourself (and your team) this opportunity with the support of the Unleash & Engage team, get in touch with Ian, for more information.

As Aristotle said: ‘We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is therefore not an act, but a habit.’ The highest performing companies are those that thoughtfully design their organisation so that the sum of its parts all contribute to building and reinforcing those habits.

Alex Lewis from Unleash & Engage describes their approach to designing ‘organisational systems’ to transform business performance.

Download the full whitepaper here…

Article by Mark Gregory:

So engage the employee and it makes a difference to your customer which makes a difference to your profit. Not rocket science I hear you say! Agreed. So why don’t you do it then or worse why do you pretend you do it?

A service culture at its heart must be an engaging culture; a culture whereby every internal customer must be engaged as a whole person. This means equipping our people managers and leaders to think and behave differently and use the lean tools as customer service tools. When I help organisations embed a lean philosophy my advice is generally to think of the lean tools as an engagement vehicle and the improvement interventions as an opportunity to engender greater levels of employee engagement first and improve the business secondly. When we do this we obtain more of the whole person. The more we tap the whole person, the individual, the more engagement we obtain. Back to the Sears proposition.

So what about employee engagement mapping instead of value stream mapping or visual engagement instead of visual factory or leader prevention training instead of accident prevention training. I also often hear those who work in the field of lean philosophy talk about empowering the staff. Just imagine how easy that would be if we focus on the person before the process.

For those of you that are still not quite there and are thinking, “that’s not the real world the answer is simple, if you are not careful the internal customer is only doing what you want on the outside and my experience suggests what’s on the inside eventually appears on the outside. I am not saying this is easy as those who have tried leadership and engagement will tell you it is relentless and unforgiving, but we should be familiar with this as that’s what customer loyalty is like.

As Alan Jones, Chairman Emeritus of Toyota UK said, “Wherever you work, your job as a manager is to make your people the very best they can be – and usually they don’t know just how good they could be. It’s individuals that make the difference. For Toyota, this approach is not based on altruism – though it is based on a profound respect for its members. It is predicated on the firm belief that the most valuable asset the company has is its people, and that enabling them to have an intellectual and emotional relationship with their work, as well as a financial stake in the success of the company, is the key to continuous product and productivity improvement from the shop floor to the boardroom. Toyota’s people are their competitive advantage.”

So who is the real customer really?

Click here to read part 1..

Article by Mark Gregory:

As I go about my daily business, like most people, I am continually exposed to varying levels of customer service from fantastic to (as Buzz would say) awful and beyond! Unlike most of the people around me though, I wonder whether the proprietors of this service really think and/or attempt to understand who the real customer is and what are their needs?

There are a couple of key enablers we talk a lot about in the lean philosophy: firstly, the value chain – the chain of activities and interactions that produces the output, be it a product or a service; secondly, the customers within the value chain – which is simply the next person in the chain or the receiver of the output of the previous activity. As those more conversant with lean philosophy will know, there are then a whole host of tools one can use to optimise this value chain and what the customer receives. There is of course as with all good philosophies, a higher purpose at play here as well, a why are we doing this at all question to be answered and principles to guide us to that higher purpose, but on the whole, in its simplest terms, it is about optimising customer value and experience.

So when I consider this service excellence, customer experience, customer loyalty or whichever other term you prefer conundrum, I just see the external customer as the end of a long value chain. While it is important to expend concerted effort to recognise all of my needs, wants and desires in an attempt to satisfy them and get me to buy, it strikes me that this is often out of balance with the effort put into satisfying the only customer truly in our circle of control the internal one, our employees.

It strikes me that the poor service I often receive is just the outward manifestation of the lack of engagement effort the employer has expended on the internal customer (the employee). In other words, the service outcome is merely a by-product of the engagement proposition, just as high levels of quality and productivity are, within the lean philosophy.

The evidence is there but we may just be looking in the wrong place. For example, in 1998 the Harvard Business Review published an article entitled “The Employee – Customer Profit Chain at Sears.” This article (worth a read by the way) talks about the turnaround and transformation undertaken over a three year period at Sears Roebuck Company, an American Department store chain. As with all good turnaround stories, it has the CEO and the senior leadership team climbing the torturous mountain of culture change to place the flag of victory at the peak. What however is more interesting, is the approach they took in climbing the mountain. They started with creating a compelling place to work or employee engagement. The second interesting point here is that they put just as much, if not more energy into this, as they did into the other key area of focus, the external customer. The result was that they found a direct correlation: a 5 unit increase in employee attitude drove a 1.3 unit increase in customer impression, which in turn drove a 0.5% increase in revenue growth.

So if the internal customer is the key to service excellence and customer loyalty how does lean help?

To be continued…. Click here for part 2

The Government have set a target of providing one million new homes by 2020 (according to the Sunday Telegraph) and have indicated that there is a key role for new ‘prefabricated’ homes. Having worked with a Modular Housing company for the past year (Prime Structures), we have been in a unique position to understand and see the benefits of this type of housing infrastructure.

We have been helping Prime Structures to ‘productionise’ the process of building modular houses. We have already achieved the key benefit of reducing the lead time of building a house from over 60 days to less than the target time of 20 days, capturing both the Work Standards and identifying further improvement opportunities to refine the offering more. As you would expect, with such a vastly reduced build time there is a faster completion and reduced waste, meaning savings in money and time. That is not the only benefit of modular housing though.

Benefits of Going Modular

The Sunday Telegraph quoted a Government source as saying: “The first and most obvious advantage is speeding up the building of housing. There is pretty good evidence that if you did it at scale it is cheaper.”

There are a number of key benefits to the Government in choosing to go modular:

1, More Energy Efficient – Tighter homes, less air infiltration and advanced energy efficiency.

2, Stronger Homes – 20% more material in modular constructions

3, Cost – The manufacture cost less than standard housing.

4, Better Quality Construction – due to being factory built, as opposed to on-site, with more access to better tools.

5, No Weather Problems – Built in a factory so no weather delays or damage caused by adverse weather conditions.

6, A Guaranteed Price – With there being no delays, a price can be guaranteed at the start of a project.

7, Shorter Build Time – Reduced waste and faster completion, can be ready in 15 days.

The Future of Housing in Britain

With the Government pledging a £3bn Home Building Fund and an initial 25,000 new homes to be built, there clearly needs to be a shift in thinking. With modular houses being environmentally friendly, cheap and now being produced to a clearly high standard, modular or ‘prefabricated’ housing really is a genuine long-term solution.