Set goals that will achieve tangible results in 2017!
One month down, 11 more to go! Excited? Nervous? Anxious? Coming up with ideas on how to make the year “bigger and better” than the last can be a challenge!
Here are three critical goals that I know from experience are essential to help improve business performance. If achieved, these goals will give you a lot to smile about in 2017!
1) Build capabilities: Turn employees into waste elimination machines!
Given the right skills and encouragement, it’s amazing what people can achieve! A small investment in training and coaching can give employees’ skills that will improve the business … continuously!
Example goal: “Brian to achieve Business Process Practitioner certification and demonstrate a tangible improvement in efficiency, waste elimination or compliance.”
Okay, so picture this – one of my current clients operates across several sites; of which one site has 400 employees ranging from project managers and engineers to quality personnel. They have developed excellent capabilities to the point where with just 9 qualified practitioners, they are self-sufficient in the day-to-day execution and improvement of their operational ways of working. It doesn’t stop there! They are coached regularly through our Academy programme to ensure they sustain and improve their skills.
2) Identify 5-10 important ways of working to improve
Ok so now your employees have the right skills, what do they do with them? Focusing on the most important ways of working will ensure the investment in training will help towards achieving business goals.
Example goal: “Reduce procurement lead times by an average of 5%.”
While having a coffee with the Head of a large R&D centre, he stood in front of me, slightly disheartened, before saying“ everywhere I look I see waste.” They had some skills but no method to guide them to work on the right things. What they needed was a simple approach to review their operational ways of working and produce a shortlist of improvement opportunities – so that’s exactly what we did! Also, their Practitioners were empowered using our (simple but powerful) process improvement approach. Waste began to be reduced a little, speed was increased a little, and customers were pleasantly surprised! I say just a little because this was only the first phase. Now they can repeat the cycle and become even leaner – by themselves!
3) Teach everyone to speak the same language!
Well not literally! But when it comes to describing how we do our jobs, how often do people describe the same thing in different ways? A simple approach to describe process steps allows common ways of working to be agreed and used by people who do the same thing in different parts of the organisation.
Example goal: “Agree and train a common way of working for the testing, release and distribution of samples to customers.”
A client proudly announced they had greatly improved their material ordering process! A great achievement right?…but one that also involved a missed opportunity. How? Because other sites in the organisation who also order materials could not apply these learnings. Why? Because they work a different way! We helped this customer to describe their operational ways of working for material ordering using a “special language.” Different parts of their organisation were able to collaborate using this common language and a standard was created! Ok, admittedly the standard was not efficient, but now this can be addressed for all sites when pursuing goals 1 and 2 ☺