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The Skip of Change

At the weekend my home computer's hard drive told me that it was 'bad'. As I have sufficient backup methods in place I was able to swap over the hard disks and be up an running a few hours later.

However, when I came to reinstall some of the software I chose not to install all of it. Over the last few years I have introduced other pieces of software and made my computer life more complicated than it needed to be.

So, I took the opportunity to simplify and this is just the same as continuous improvement in the workplace.

A couple of years ago I referred to the 'skip of change'. I also saw a skip at the weekend, and felt compelled to take a photo(!).


There is a widely known phenomenon that when a skip appears in a street, people start to empty their garages. They haven't done it for years (they haven't got a 5S strategy in place, for example), but the skip stimulates action.

In a business, when we experience a problem, we have the opportunity to take advantage of more than one change project at a time. Like the skip, if the change is already taking place there is often less resistance to us adding in one or two other bits while we're at it.

Like my computer, where I took advantage of having to make a change by adding in other changes that have already benefited me, we can do the same at work. Whether the continuous improvement change we are making is stimulated by us, or by circumstances, it may be a fantastic opportunity to throw in a few other related changes at the same time.

This approach makes sense for mechanics at the local garage, it unfortunately works for people who hire skips, and it can also work for us if we are involved with continuous improvement projects.

What small upheaval can you use to get more of your improvement projects moving right now?


Giles Johnston
Author of 'Business Process Re-Engineering', a practical plan to improve business performance.