Skip to main content

Can you hit a target you can't see?

I've had three conversations this week with different clients' teams about raising issues about their business processes.

In all three cases the teams had problems that they were dealing with, but very ineffectively. Namely their strategy was to grumble to each other about how bad things are. Does this sound familiar in your organisation?

The trouble with this all too common strategy is that the people that can help resolve the issue can't 'see' the problem and therefore can't 'hit' it for the other people.

A really good tool to help your teams engage with this discussion is the Concern, Cause, Countermeasure (also known as CCC or 3C) approach. (In fact, it is such a good tool that it is built into the StreamLiner CI software to accelerate continuous improvement planning. You can find out more about it here.)

The key to getting this approach work is to make the conversations easier for your team. Here are a few ideas:
  • Make it clear to your teams that you are not looking for answers, only concerns / issues that others can work on.
  • Help the team to state their issues in objective and non-confrontational language (e.g. communication between teams is inconsistent and not the other team is a waste of time! - you get the idea!).
  • Keep the issues visible within the team and find ways to share this list with the people that support the team in question.
  • Work actively on the issues list and keep the progress visible and communicated within the team.
  • Ensure that you share your wins with the team (help them to get hungry for success).
  • Periodically bring topics to the team, so that you can more easily focus your 'constructive whinging'.
I'm sure that you can think of more ways, add them to this list as you see fit.

With all three of the different discussions I had this week we were able to quickly solve the issues put forward and improve the performance of the teams. There was nothing difficult being resolved, just three identical cases of people not speaking to the right people about the right problems at the right time.

Good luck with hitting targets that you can now see!


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.

Popular posts from this blog

The Kaizen Checklist is here!

Do you want to get better results from your Kaizen programme? Improve your business results quickly with my downloadable kit (including guidebook, workbook and templates) for only $39. Are you looking for a sustainable way to identify and implement improvements across your business? Practical improvement strategies The Kaizen Checklist is a downloadable kit that you can use with your management team to develop a system that suits your business and allow you to quickly implement Kaizen effectively at your place of work. This works great if you use it as the centre piece of your own internal workshop. The kit includes a 40 page guidebook, a workbook, four appendices and three templates. All parts of this kit are designed to get you up and running as fast as possible. If you are unfamiliar with Kaizen, let me stress that this is a simple improvement philosophy that is so much more than just  ‘a Japanese word for continuous improvement’. I’ll cover what it rea

Take the pressure off! Using the Y-curve with your Kaizen improvements

Do you feel under pressure when you have to make changes happen in your business? It can be scary when we try something that we have never done before. I remember thinking to myself 'how on Earth am I going to figure this out?' on many occasions. I think the last time was a few weeks ago! Years on from becoming reasonable at the art of change I am still faced with the same dilemma. It is scary and it is clear to me why so many people shy away from making change happen. It is natural to get stuck in this oscillation. On one hand you need to make change happen; the business needs the improvement benefits. On the other hand you don't want to screw up... Last week I was talking to a young engineer that I am mentoring. He was paralysed. Changes were not happening at all. There was always some early promise with his projects and then, as completion (and judgement day) loomed, progress would evaporate. The engineer asked me for my views on this  during a recent conversati

Do you need a burst of improvement ideas for your business?

If you haven’t created your improvement action plan for 2020 yet then I have something for you. I have just completed my latest project – The CI Focus Tool . This Android App is now available on Google Play and provides a simple method for generating as many effective improvement ideas as you need. This is the same basic method that I describe in my book Effective Continuous Improvement  and is now available as a simple to use app. In essence it is a brainstorming focus tool. Press the focus button and you will be presented with a random continuous improvement focus. Brainstorm ideas around this focus with your team (whilst the timer is running) and there you go – a number of great ideas for you to prioritise and implement. The reason that this works so well is because of the focus. When your business runs out of its immediate problems to fix you need a different strategy. Very focused brainstorming helps you break past this problem and configuring the app to meet t