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The return of checklists

When we sit back in our chair in the office and review what has been taking place during the day we sometimes find ourselves wondering how much better we could have done things – don’t we? One of the tried and tested ways to make the working day more effective and more efficient is the use of checklists. Whilst we have probably realised this for ourselves the issue of concern is how we (and our colleagues) stop following the checklists so easily – how do we make checklists that stick? The simple answer is to create more effective and more meaningful checklists than we had previously. If you recall the continuous improvement cycle you can see how this fits in – we tried it one way and it didn’t work – so let’s try it a bit differently. If you start with areas of your organisation that keep failing you will be able to create checklists that may be warmly greeted. If it helps people to reduce their running around and reduce hassle from customers then there may well be an inc

USPs? Is this service design?

There is a lot of talk (constantly) about what is your USP. This is an important marketing concept about the uniqueness of your service offering, but an observation is that most businesses state what is currently the most unique thing about them. What about the service as it could be? What about the niggles that people face when engaging with your type of service? Could a revised approach to how you deliver your service set you apart from the competition? What could be your USP? Can you engineer a new way of delivering your service and become even more unique? Smartspeed Consulting Limited 'For When Results Matter'

Limping and broken legs

When we look at the types of improvements that take place within our organisation we can always tell which were the big improvements. The small issues that are resolved in their masses however are harder to spot. Unfortunately this is also the case when we are looking for improvement ideas in the first place. If you had a broken leg you would have to stop what you were doing and get it fixed. If you had a limp you could keep going for a long time, and perhaps the limp would go away on its own. Where in your organisation are you limping? Smartspeed Consulting Limited 'For When Results Matter'

Mailing it in?

Have you ever sat in a meeting where you could just tell that people were ‘mailing it in’? By this I mean that the people aren’t taking part, they are there physically but that’s about all. They are not engaging with the conversation and participation within the meeting is generally low. If you recognise meetings (or workplaces) like this then you have an opportunity to improve the productivity in these areas. In fact, recognition is probably the greatest step towards improving the situation (that’s why we spend so much time mapping things out) – if you put this recognition into the context of the situation the answers to improve the status quo will become obvious. Keep an eye out for those people who are present in form only, and then come up with some ideas to get them engaged. Smartspeed Consulting Limited 'For When Results Matter'

Appropriate level of detail

There appears to be an ongoing conflict when it comes to the level of detail on projects, meetings or in specifications. Getting the right level of detail is key to making sure that activity progresses smoothly, but there is often a lack of consistency around how we approach detail. If we get the level of detail wrong we can end up with an outcome that we don’t want. We could find that by having too much or too little detail we can get side tracked, delayed, or lost with the work we are involved with. By having too little detail we could miss important tasks that have a big impact on the end result. By having too much detail we risk closing down opportunities for exploration. Whilst I am not advocating what level of detail needs to be applied to your work I am asking you to consider this factor and ask yourself this question ‘is the level of detail I am working on appropriate to the work that I am doing?’ Smartspeed Consulting Limited 'For When Results Matter' www.s

Finding a symbol

When change needs to take place, when there is enough need within the organisation, it can sometimes be difficult to prove to others that things will change. We need their involvement after all so we need to get them involved. Completion of a small but visible improvement can provide us with a symbol that it can be done, and that other things can also be achieved. By creating a clear symbol of change we can remind others that we are capable of change and that the situation we are in can be different. Using an approach like this can work well if your team / workforce has 'heard it all before'. Find a small project and make it a symbol for change within your organisation. Smartspeed Consulting Limited 'For When Results Matter'

Clear specifications

Many projects are started without a clear specification. There may be clear objectives in place, but often some of the detail about what is really required (or needed for that matter) may not be present. In our experience of projects - getting the right level of detail into a specification regarding a system can be extremely difficult. If you look at the results you have been receiving over the past few years, how many of the results that have fallen below expectation have been related to a poor specification? The amount of time that is spent trying to rectify a project can be very large. A concise and specific specification can allow projects to complete in less time with lower costs, if a little more time is spent upfront with the design of the specification and the planning. Is it worth another look? Smartspeed Consulting Limited 'For When Results Matter'