They wanted their situation to be different.
So, we looked at how they handled their orders and identified a simple change that was right in front of them.
We made the changes at a high level, but left the details for the business' managers to define (so that they could put their stamp on the changes).
The idea was proved to be really effective and we witnessed an immediate jump in their productivity.
The problem was that the details weren't defined satisfactorily. The managers were still working hard to achieve their output. Sure, they were now expending much less energy, and their results were better, but it wasn't the final version of the change that was in effect.
I took one of the managers to one side and reviewed where we were.
The problem wasn't their ability to design a more effective option, it was articulating it.
We discussed the 5W1H* approach and used the bulk of the headings to help describe the final version:
- Who was involved with the day to day operation.
- Where they operated.
- What they did.
- When they executed their activities.
- How they carried out their tasks.
(* The other 'W' is why? - in case you were wondering!)
By using this simple framework we were then able to hold a meeting with the newly formed team and hammer out the exact details.
The result - the workloads were shared out fairly, the managers could then spend their time on improvement and management and the final version of the improvement was achieved. And, boy, you should have seen the factory fly!
If you are having trouble with getting your vision across to your colleagues consider using the 5W1H framework and watch the changes take effect more easily.
P.S. If you want some more simple and effective tools, for free, then check out the free tools section of the Making It Happen toolkit - click here.
About the author
Giles Johnston is a Chartered Engineer who specialises in helping businesses to grow and improve through better business processes.
Giles is also the author of Business Process Re-Engineering and creator of the 'Making It Happen' continuous improvement toolkit.