As a follow-up to our 2nd article in the "Leading Problem Solving in Non-Manufacturing Series" that described the acronym "TIM WOODS" as it applies to non-manufacturing environments, this 3rd article in the series will explain how you can teach your eyes to see these waste form in non-manufacturing areas and then how to engage your team in problem solving.

 

An important skill for leaders is to learn to “see”.  This means seeing beyond what most people see, or at least a different perspective of the same image.  Teaching your eyes to see is a learned skill, that once mastered, opens your eyes to many new things.

 

So how do you learn to see?  Practice.

 

The first step is to Go to the area in which work is performed and go with a specific purpose to learn to see.  For example, go with a focus to see one specific type of waste from the TIM WOODS definitions as summarized below.  For more examples of each type of waste in non-manufacturing areas, you may want to review the previous article here.

So what do you do if the work is done on a computer?  Go to computer and observe what is done, how it is done, the steps involved, information required, etc.  You can learn a great deal from observing any type of work.  Observing someone doing data entry or programming, can be enlightening to see, what they experience.  It could be glare from overhead lighting or sunshine, large numerical entries prone to errors, system delays while background analysis takes place, excessive clicks to complete a desired task, etc. 

 

The next point is to dedicate an appropriate amount of time to see a very specific focus.  I'd recommend no less than 30 minutes, and more appropriately 60 minutes depending on the area you are reviewing and the people being engaged.  However, it's less about the size of the office area, and more about giving enough time to really see and observe the various forms of waste.  Sometimes, depending on the type of waste, you need to observe for a longer period of time before the waste actually takes place.  For example, to see wasteful "transportation" or employees walking around looking for information they need to do their job, likely only occurs periodically.  Unless you are just lucky enough to be there at the right time, you will miss this type of waste unless you observe long enough.

 

Look for that specific focus that you determined and only that focus.  Resist the temptation to "wander" or make a "laundry" list of everything you see.  When you see the specific focus items, ask yourself as many questions as you can about that particular item.  See beyond the obvious.  Look for deeper meaning, symptoms, evidence, or abnormalities.  Ask "why" many times to understand what is really happening.

 

Although efficiencies and personal productivity can be improved by engaging in TIM WOODS in non-manufacturing areas, I'd suggest it's less about that, and more about reducing employee frustrations and distractions.  Employees will become more engaged, energized, and happier!  Of course, if your employees are engaged, energized and happier, they will be more able to focus on their work tasks resulting in improved efficiencies and personal productivity.

 

This type of activity is something you can practice on your own, together with your team, or engage your team to increase engagement, awareness, and sustainment long term. 

 

Often leaders in non-manufacturing areas struggle with what to put on their Leader Standard Work (LSW).  This is a great one to add - "Conduct TIM WOODS audit"!  Whether it be weekly, monthly or otherwise, adding to your LSW and integrating it with your calendar by reserving time in your calendar makes for very effective leadership.

 

Team engagement can be done by establishing an audit type system (similar to a layered process audit) where the TIM WOODS focus areas and office locations are pre-determined and an audit frequency and responsibility schedule/matrix is made up.  In doing so, each team member will be have the responsibility to conduct a TIM WOODS audit on a specific focus area, in a specific location, at a scheduled interval.

 

When repeated often and with a new or different focus you will soon see these forms of waste naturally and without effort.  Once you learn to see, you won’t be able to turn it off.

 

The next step is to engage your team in problem solving to resolve the cause of these wastes by implementing a "Problem Solving Auction" which includes the following key points:

 

  • Prioritize and select a limited number of top items, recommend 6 or less open at any given time.
  • "Auction" off ownership of action and agree upon completion dates.
  • Document and distribute the action plans as detailed above, make visual physically or virtually.
  • Problem solve after the auction, not during.
  • Follow-up, close out actions, recognize successes, repeat.

 

To get you started, you can download our TIM WOODS audit sheet from our Tools page.

 

In the next article in this series we will discuss "Looking for evidence through gemba" in non-manufacturing areas.

 

If you missed the previous articles in the series, 'Leading Problem Solving in Non-Manufacturing Series", you can find them here:

 

 

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In this second article in the Leading Problem Solving in Non-Manufacturing Series, we'll discuss the application of TIM WOODS in non-manufacturing areas.

 

No matter what our team does or is responsible for, we all have an ultimate customer.  They may not be the traditional customer but rather other internal departments or company stakeholders.  So whether in manufacturing or non-manufacturing, it's important to first consider how our customer defines value.  At HPL, we believe all customers, internal or external, value the following when it comes to the product or service they are expecting of us:

 

  • they want it NOW
  • they want it Perfect
  • they want it Waste Free
  • and they want an Exceptional Experience

 

Therefore anything that detracts from these 4 values or attributes can be looked upon as a waste and is certainly undesirable.  As leaders then, our role is to engage our teams in identifying and waging war against anything that negatively impacts our abilities to meet and exceed our customer expectations.  This then is a starting point for a form of problem solving for all leaders and their teams.  In order to identify these wastes or problems, we need to "teach our eyes to see" the various forms of waste.  That's where the acronym TIM WOODS comes into play, whether in manufacturing or non-manufacturing.

 

 

Let's address a myth that TIM WOODS is not applicable to non-manufacturing by taking a look at just a few examples of the 8 forms of waste in non-manufacturing environments.

 

Transportation - excessive movement of people, information, or materials.

In non-manufacturing areas there are typically huge opportunities to reduce "transportation" wastes.  Examples could be associated with numerous or multi-level approvals requiring multiple emails to different people, multiple in-person reviews/presentations obtaining multi-level or departmental approvals,  and transferring files, data, reports between people or departments.  Walking to conference rooms or from building to building to attend meetings.

 

Inventory - excessive storage and delay of information or products.

It's important here to consider inventory as more than just raw materials or finished goods, and think about excessive storage of information of physical or electronic in nature.  Examples of inventory of this nature could be excessive filing cabinets with years of no longer necessary documents, inbox with hundreds or thousands of unread/unresponded emails (yes you!), having to maintain multiple copies or versions of electronic documents in multiple locations, or issuing the same data in various formats.

 

Motion - any motion that does not add value to the product or process. 

Many of the examples of waste described above, also result in creating unnecessary or unproductive motion, such as walking around the office to find necessary information, obtaining clarification for tasks, locating shared tools or equipment are some common examples.  It could also be motion from poorly laid out office spaces or even having to make too many 'clicks' on a webpage to get the necessary information for the task at hand or multi-level file directories to open a file.

 

Waiting - long periods of inactivity for people, information, machinery, or materials.

This form of waste is definitely applicable to non-manufacturing and is commonly experienced in "waiting" for approvals, responses, or information from others.  What should be a quick approval can often take days if not weeks to receive.  This waiting could be a result of a poor process, lower priority to the requesting person, missing necessary information, poor organizational skills, people on vacation or out of the office etc.  Waiting slows things down, decreases efficiency, and increases the opportunity for errors and omissions.

 

Over Production - producing more/sooner than the internal or external customer needs.

Over production in non-manufacturing includes things such as creating reports that are not used, the tracking and collection of data that is no longer analyzed or used for any purpose, printing more documents than are distributed at a meeting, or lengthy emails or presentations that provide unnecessary information and don't really add value.

 

Over Processing - using the wrong set of tools, procedures or systems.

Similar to 'waiting', over processing is all too common in non-manufacturing.  Over processing shows up in the form of large distribution lists which include many unnecessary people, unnecessarily being added to the 'cc' line of an email, abuse of the 'reply all' feature, or unnecessary or lengthy meetings.  Also having team members with high or advanced skills doing routine work or tasks is also over processing.

 

Defects - frequent errors in paperwork or product quality problems.

Often passed off as  normal "human error" in non-manufacturing, there are many defects created.  These can include data entry errors within systems when manually entered, software coding errors, missing information, none functional links, missing attachments, incorrect tolerences or dimensional errors within designes.

 

Skill - lack of training, application, development, engagement.

Beyond the necessary skills required to perform any type of task, areas can also include on-boarding of new hires as they learn their way around and adapt to the new culture, new skills required with the introduction of new IT systems or tools, new automation, routine software updates with a change to features, or as simple but frustrating as a new photocopier or printer.

 

These examples indicate that TIM WOODS clearly applies to non-manufacturing environments just as much as it does in manufacturing.  These wastes not only decrease efficiencies but many of these are what frustrate our teams. 

 

Unfortunately, too often in non-manufacturing areas, the perception when beginning to track the above type of issues, people may take it negatively and look at it as personal criticism of their work or competence.  This should and can be overcome easily and quickly.  First start by explaining the why and "WIFM" (the 'what's in it for me?') to the team and that tracking of this information will be used to prioritize ares the team can focus on for improvement and will not be used for performance management.  The why and WIFM can include the following:

 

Why:

  • Improve efficiencies and effectiveness of the team
  • Increase team engagement
  • Make tasks easier to complete
  • Reduce rework and downstream problems
  • Meet / exceed 'customer' expectations and experience

 

WIFM:

  • Reduced frustrations and distractions
  • Less pressure and stress
  • Increased job satisfaction
  • Improved team work with peers

Next is to get some quick wins, ideally on things that cause them the biggest frustrations or create undesirable work or tasks.  Lead the team to identify the top 1-3 priorities and then implement problem solving methodologies to breakdown the problems, identify root cause, and implement countermeasures.  Select priorities that the team can directly control so that a quick win can be realized.  Doesn't have to be easy necessarily, but it should be an area within your or the teams' direct responsibility to make change.  This is to avoid delays or problems obtaining approvals or agreement from other leaders/department if it is not a priority to them. 

 

As the leader, you need to let the team come up with the countermeasures and to implement them.  Your job is to coach them along the way on problem solving, remove barriers experienced along the way, and provide necessary resources.  You also should provide a framework in which they can problem solve.  For example time frame for implementation, budget, tools, resources, etc, to help avoid the team coming back with a proposed solution that you will not be able to support.  Of course, you also have to provide encouragement along the way,  and recognition and celebration for achievements, including when counter measures don't work as expected. 

 

It may take some time, but following these steps is proven to build engagement, improve problem solving skills and capabilities, and increase job satisfaction.  The momentum builds and once moving, there will be no stopping it!

 

In the next article in this series, we'll discuss how you can put TIM WOODS to practice in a non-manufacturing area by 'teaching your eyes to see'.

 

If you missed the first article in the series, 'Leading Problem Solving in Non-Manufacturing Space - 1 Second Understanding", you can read it here.

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We had a great turn-out and received very positive feedback at our last Lunch & Lead Series on the topic of "Leading Problem Solving", however, we also received some comments that it was difficult for those in non-manufacturing spaces to relate to how they can lead problem solving in their area.  Over the next few posts, we'll cover off the topics from the Lunch and Lead Series but with a non-manufacturing focus.

 

If you missed the Lunch & Lead Series, it is available free at our on-line content site here as a “course” but don’t let the terminology fool you, it is just the video recording of the event, divided up into smaller duration “lectures” that correspond to each of the agenda items. Go check it out…

 

The first topic was the establishment of standards that within a very short period of time, as in a few seconds, anyone can determine if something is normal or abnormal.  As in manufacturing,  visualization of some standards in non-manufacturing areas are relatively easy.  These are the things that when out of standard negatively impact the team’s ability to do their work. 

 

Examples could include a common reference library of regulations, policies, or other documented information. Being able to quickly find what you’re looking for or identifying any that may have been misplaced can prove very helpful, save time, and reduce frustrations. In the virtual world, similar standards are useful for organizing digital storage by establishing standard file structures and nomenclature.

 

Other examples could be as simple of establishing standards around team supplies, tooling, or equipment.

 

 

In non-manufacturing areas the challenge often is that the “work” and “work flow” is not overly visible. For example, an engineering project is comprised of various tasks that engineers need to complete. The challenge here is that often with development type work, the engineers are dealing with a lot of unknowns or because it maybe the first time creating “something” there are no standards for it. In these cases, you want to establish standards around the work flow, provide a framework of generally accepted principles or benchmarks, and provide clear escalation mechanisms when things are not going as expected or planned. An effective way to visualize these is through a visual control board.

 

In the first example we will use a technical team that is responsible for completing some type of project type work. This could be product design, tooling or test equipment design, or construction/fabrication.

 

 

The layout of the board would be done in such a manner as to indicate the tasks that need to be completed by whom within a “standard” period of time. These standards could be industry standards, standard times as determined by the organization, benchmarks, or in the case of creative/innovative never been done before work, best guess estimations or established service level agreements (SLAs). It can also be with reference to the project milestones. Often, there is a strong reluctance to do this because of the “unknowness” of how long it should take to complete these tasks, however, referencing to the milestones allows for faster visibility of potential project delays or impacts. This should not be used to place blame or put undue pressure on those involved, but rather, provide the opportunity for escalation that can lead to additional resources, rescheduling of downstream tasks, and/or important communication of the status of the project to critical stakeholders.

 

Typically this would be visualized by day for a 1 to 2 week window for each person assigned to the project within a specific team. The board can be either physical or virtual board as long as the task assignments by day by week can be displayed. Each day the board is reviewed by those working on the tasks and their next level up leader. At the daily review, abnormalities to the standards would be very visible indicating a task is behind or that there has been some kind of difficulty or risk associated with it identified.

 

 

A pareto of issues can be created and built each day to help the team focus on the biggest issues that impact their work. Often in these types of situations, unplanned work plays a key role and has a significant impact on the teams ability to complete their project(s). Using a different colour sticky in this case to indicate unplanned work is very visual and can easily be tracked in the pareto as an issue. The leader can then assist the team in quickly resolving the issue through problem solving. The problem solving should not occur at the meeting, but rather a commitment made between the appropriate stakeholders as to what the next steps are and by when.

 

In the second example we’ll review a procurement situation. Typically a procurement team’s work flow is within a computer system. However, critical information is also usually available within those same systems. Again using a visual board and placing critical reports on them with visualization of abnormalities to standards is a good approach. For example, perhaps there are SLAs as to how long it should take for a purchase order (PO) to be placed. An aging report or having each buyer indicate which of their purchase requisitions (PR) are out of that standard helps to visualize purchasing abnormalities. Unfortunately, too often, we can experience payment problems to our vendors and then get ourselves into trouble when they refuse to continue to ship. Then talk about abnormal work to clear that up! Perhaps a metric that shows outstanding payment aging would be beneficial to avoid such situations. Again the abnormalities can be tracked in a form of a pareto for deeper analysis and problem solving. The point is to identify the aspects of the teams workflow that can or is having the biggest impact on their ability to effectively do their job or on the organization.

 

A third example is for a sales and marketing team.  They can visualize their work flow on a visual board and meet daily to review.  They could visualize main proposal work content and status.  Discuss new risks that arise that may pose a threat to winning the project, as well as visualizing the probability of a win and the financial status of the sales plan vs actual.  They can also capture lessons learned to improve their quoting and proposal process to drive continuous improvement, as well as to quickly identify abnormalities or issues that could impact a proposal so that problem solving is quickly initiated and/or escalated.

Although non-manufacturing work tasks are less naturally physically visible, the same principles apply.

 

You need to establish the standards the team is to follow, make them visible in some manner usually through a visual board, and then there needs to be some form of controls in place to manage and problem solve through the abnormalities.

Controls could include variance to SLAs, escalation mechanisms, layered process audits to confirm standards and identify areas needing focus, for example.

 

 

 

In the next post, we’ll discuss how TIM WOODS can apply to non-manufacturing areas.

 

 

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I would like to congratulate our Front Line Leader Spring 2021 graduates.   We now have 20 more high performance leaders in the FLL alumni adding to 2000+ that are already alumni.   This group rose to the virtual challenge and has demonstrated that good leaders can develop in any environment.

 

With their graduation, I will pass on some wisdom by Peter Drucker on Leadership.  

 

The most important leadership decision you will make will be the decision to become a leader.   Acceptance of the responsibility to become a leader is important.   It means you must live with the fear of something going wrong.  You may be blamed for actions that may not be fully under your control.   It means living with the anxiety that followers may not follow you and that you may make the wrong decisions.    You may have to live with the embarrassment and penalties of failure.   

 

Many people who have the capability of becoming great leaders never accept this challenge.   They live with the fear that limits the success they may achieve and the contribution that might make by helping others.   The decision is yours to make.   

 

Please let me know your thoughts.

 

Thank you

Scott

 

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Mary Kay Ash built the global cosmetic empire Mary Kay which is now a $3.25 billion company. (Some of you may recall Mary Kay’s signature pink Cadillac). 

 

She built the empire based on the following leadership and problem solving approach:

 

1. Follow the golden rule – do unto others as you would have them do unto you – in dealing with team members and employees.  If you help them get what they want, they will help you get what you want.

 

2. The people are more important than the plan.  Make them feel important, praise them, listen to them and let them contribute.  In return you will get their best efforts and their support.   Managers get their best ideas from their teams.


3. Manager must lead by getting their hands dirty.


4. Managers have a responsibility to their employees.  They must instill in their employees a sense of pride and pleasure in the work and try to provide a low-stress environment in which people can do their best.  All employees are called by their first names, regardless of title.


5. There are no ‘little people’ in the organization. Everyone is important to the organization’s success. (When Mary Kay was alive, she met personally will all new employees within the first month). 

 

Please let me know your thoughts.

 

Thank you

Scott

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Intentionally Valuing People

In our High Performance Leaders leadership coaching and development programs we often talk about leading on purpose or with intentionality. I firmly believe in this and try to live by it both professionally and personally.


One of my favourtie leadership guru's John Maxwell has a short video about "Intentionally valuing people" and "intentionally caring". With all the negativity in the news and social media these days in addition to the stress that many are experiencing due to the COVID situation, this is a video well worth watching.  Strongly encourage you to make this video your daily learning for today!


After watching, try to form a new habit of intentionally valuing people and caring every day!  A great application of the 28 day habit ("Leadership Challenge Calendar") available for download or on our tools page.

 

Would be interested in your comments on your general thoughts or commitment to be intentionally caring!

 


 

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Leadership Courage

 

In our Front Line Leadership program, we discuss 4 very important leadership attributes with our leaders which are Attitude, Accountability, Courage, and Trust.  We always have some great dialogue on each of these attributes with the leaders sharing examples of how leaders can demonstrate each of these and equally how they can very easily damage their reputations within each.

 

Thinking of leadership courage, and reflecting back over my career, my greatest career opportunities and leadership development growth has come when I have pushed myself, or have been pulled, outside of my comfort zone.  Without exception, every single of what I would consider to be my greatest career accomplishments and where I have grown the most have come when I gathered up as much courage as possible to challenge myself to do what initially scared the life out of me.  Each time, I learned and grew exponentially.  In many cases, the risks could be considered high.  Failure and definitely losing my job were real potential outcomes.  There were failures along the way but boy did I learn from those, so were they really failures?  They are only failures if you don't learn from the mistakes or miscalculations. 

 

Moving out of your comfort zone takes real courage!  It's scary and is not without risks.  However, if you plan carefully and mitigate AND accept the risks, the rewards and growth realized are without doubt, career and life changing.

 

Are you being courageous and pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone?    Leave comments on your thoughts and or experiences of when you have been courageous with your leadership.

 

Below is a link to a very good John Maxwell video that talks about Courage.  Well worth the 2 minutes!  Enjoy and be courageous in your leadership!

 

 

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Lunch & Lead Series - “Leading Virtually”

 

 

 

We’re excited to let you know that we are all set to launch our first Lunch & Lead Series event! Registration is now open for this complimentary topic of “Leading Virtually’.

 

Leading Virtually, was the number one requested topic when we asked for input from our community of leaders. No surprise really given the number of us that have been forced to work from home.

 

Register Here

 

Topics include tips and techniques to:

  • Stay connected
  • Keep key aspects of your culture alive
  • Ensue engagement & effectiveness
  • Be supportive

Although we’ve been in this situation longer than any of us like, many leaders are still working hard to make the best of the situation. If you’re looking for some practical tips on how you can be even more effective leading virtually, please join us. Even if you think you’ve got this working virtual stuff down, join us anyway and offer some of your best tips to your peers.

 

Please feel free to forward this message to members of your team, organization, or other leaders in your peer network that you think may be interested in attending.

 

Register Here

 

If you’re interested, there’s more info below explaining the methodology we will follow for the Lunch & Lead Series. Hope to see you at this event.

 

 

 

Lunch & Lead Series Methodology

 

Register here!

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Lunch & Lead Series - It's a go!

 

HPL is excited to announce our latest leadership development program the "Lunch & Lead Series"!  Launching in February 2021.  Stay tuned, more to come!

 

Subscribe to our mailing list to receive direct communication and notificiation on this and other HPL programs.

 

SUBSCRIBE HERE

 

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With every New Year, there is an opportunity for all of us to make a fresh start! Are you prepared to take it? This year, perhaps more than recent years, we all want things to be different!

 

Often due to our busyness or just plain procrastination, the hardest part is to get started, so I thought I'd try and assist you by providing some of my previous posts on topics that I think can be very helpful at this time of year.

 

Getting yourself Organized - Time management & weekly personal planning

 

6 Must have’s for any planning routine – If you are in need of getting yourself better organized so you stay in control and get the right things done, these 6 key points to incorporate in your planning process will be helpful.

 

An effective leaders to-do list – We all have “things” we need or want to get done on a regular basis, but often we lose track of them and they fall off our radar. This article gives an over view of a very powerful leader tool, that is sadly too often overlooked, not understood, or assumed to be only for manufacturing. Not giving it away here so as not to discourage you from checking it out first!

 

Free personal organizer/planner download – Free down load of the template I use for my personal organizer and weekly planner. If you don’t have one, this should give you a good starting point that is ready to use, or you can easily revise to fit your personal needs.

 

Leadership Hacks – Getting your stuff together – a 2.5 hour live virtual seminar with over 50+ proven tips and techniques to get yourself organized and stay in control without having to spend a career figuring it all out.

 

Setting goals and Objectives – Personal or for business

 

Reflections vs Resolutions – A critical step before setting annual goals and objectives is to first reflect on the previous year. In my opinion, reflection is far more important than any resolution. In this post we discuss why resolutions typically fail and the steps to conducting a good reflection.

 

Setting Personal and Professional Goals and Objectives – Mission Statements – Whether it’s for personal use or professionally, having a defined mission is very important. This article walks through what a mission statement is comprised of and provides a couple of personal examples to help demonstrate.

 

Setting Personal and Professional Goals and Objectives – Goals & Objectives – Providing both personal and organizational examples, this article outlines how to create strategies, goals and objectives.

 

Setting Personal and Professional Goals and Objectives – Tactics or Action Plans – Once again providing both personal and organizational examples, we review the steps to take to develop robust actions to achieve your goals & objectives.

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