In Part 13 of the TLS Continuum Blog series we talked about the necessity of getting out of the corner office in order for process improvement to take place. This sequel will present 10 strategic initiatives to aid you in that journey towards the new corporate culture.
Strategic Initiative #1: Visit a customer – Set aside one day a month to get out of the office and visit with your organization’s top clients. Begin a dialogue with them as to what they expect from your organization. Understand what traits they expect from your human capital assets, they will write your job descriptions.
Strategic Initiative #2: Job Shadowing – Your every day employees know more about the problems with your processes than management does. Spend some time out of the office working side by side with an employee observing what they see and where they see the problems are. Then take concrete steps to remedy the issues.
Strategic Initiative #3: Process Maps – Take a blank sheet of paper and draw out the various processes within your organization. In the end you should have a process map for everything within your organization It is an eagle’s eye view so it does not have to be finite. It just shows the basic steps involved in each process.
Strategic Initiative #4: Walk the Floor – Even more important walk the process. A leading financial services organization did it and found that a mortgage application from start to finish walked the equivalent of 8 miles. Map out your steps in a spaghetti diagram and see where it takes you. Are there wasteful steps in your organization that can be eliminated? Can you simplify the process by removing a wall so people do not have to travel extra distance to get to the next step?
Strategic Initiative #5: Stand in the Circle – Tachii Ohno used to ask his managers to go out on the factory floor and stand in a circle and observe what is going on around them. He required them to stand in this circle for at least 25 minutes. The purpose was to observe where there were problems. Try it in your organization. What did you find?
Strategic Initiative #6: Benchmarking – As HR professionals we are great at talking to our peers. Try talking to your peers in other similar companies to discover how they are dealing with the same problem. Their solution may not be a fit for your culture but gives you an idea of innovative ways to complete processes in your organization.
Strategic Initiative #7: Town Meeting – Take a page from the GE Workout and set up a company wide town meeting where the employees are free to bring up problems and proposed solutions and get immediate approval to go about resolving those issues. In the GE Workout, a team proposed a solution to a problem and then management gave them 90 days to resolve the issue.
Strategic Initiative #8: Visit Supply Chain Components – Dr. Edward Deming stated in his 14 points of Quality that we needed to get managers to institute training. What he meant was that managers needed to understand the process flow from the front door to the back door. Visit your suppliers and see what their process is from their front door to your front door. Learn how their processes affect your delivery to your clients.
Strategic Initiative #9: Take an Employee to Lunch – Get a feel for how they feel about your organization. Learn what bugs them. Learn what delights them. Show them that you truly have an open door policy when they have issues with how the organization runs.
Strategic Initiative #10: Eliminate the corner office – Consider to migrating to an open office where your workspace is n the floor with the employees. Be in the place where you are in the middle of the process not looking at it from the outer edges of it. This will lead to higher employee engagement.