3 Easy Steps to Becoming More Effective

No matter what you do for a living, or vocation, you will be in position to double, possibly triple, your effectiveness after reading this post.  I am so confident you will be successful if you follow my advice I offer a complete money back guarantee, no questions asked.  Oh wait, this is a free blog.  Anyhow, let’s get to it.  

It’s all about Flow

If you spend any time studying the way Toyota produces cars you will notice they relentlessly pursue flow.  When I say flow I mean making the “thing” being worked on move through the process without stopping or waiting.  For Toyota this thing is often parts of automobiles flowing throughout their factories.  Did you know Toyota produces a car every 55 seconds?  How is that for effectiveness?  

In other situations, this “thing” may be a document in a front office environment, a piece of metal moving through the assembly line, a patient in the ER, or a pillar article being written by a professional blogger.  So you see this “thing” can be anything.

So without further delay let’s get to this 3 step recipe.

Tip 1: Become the Thing

First, we need to become the “thing” being worked on.  If the “thing” is an invoice you need to become the invoice to understand how it is actually processed.  Note, this is not how it is “supposed” to be processed.  We are only interested in reality.  If, for example, this invoice sits in an inbox for a few days you need to realize this since if you had to sit in an inbox for several days… well that would suck.

Tip 2: Eliminate Functional Boundaries

Next, we must ignore the functional boundaries that so often impede flow.  In most organizations there are ‘departments’ grouped together that don’t necessarily play nice with one other.  We need to be able to get past this… which may mean, God forbid; we shuffle some cubicles around so people that need to work together can actually look up and speak to one another instead of sending emails or instant messages.

Tips 3: Eliminate Stopping and/or Waiting

The last, and hardest tip of all, is to keep the thing, whatever it is, moving without stopping or waiting.  So, if you need to get 5 signatures on a document first ask if all 5 people really need to sign the document.  Chances are 1 or 2 will suffice. 

Then, once this is sorted you need to figure out how to get these signatures as quickly as possible with no stopping or waiting.  For sure, those functional departments discussed in point 2 will need to be examined to make this happen.  There really is no secret trick to this last step.  Often times flow is impeded for silly reasons and once this is recognized we can move past them quite easily.

There are more advanced flow principles related to the study of lean manufacturing, or the Toyota Production System, but these 3 basic steps will help any organization become more effective.  So give it a shot and check back in to let us know how you did.

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23 Comments

  1. Toyota Fan's Club

    July 2, 2007 - 8:39 pm

    Nice write ups!!! Thank you so much, through this I can be able to manage my self on how to fix problem easily regarding my toyota prebia parts… I will share this to my friends and relatives. Nice write up!!!

  2. J.M. Boles

    July 5, 2007 - 7:58 am

    I don’t understand how point 2 can apply to me. I work in manufacturing and never sit in a cubicle.

  3. Ron Pereira

    July 5, 2007 - 12:54 pm

    Hi J.M.

    Think of how some companies have welding in one area, machining in another, painting in another, and assembly in another. All of these are spread across the plant with no communication.

    In these situations no one cares about the other department. They worry about getting things through their department and if the “thing” sits for a day in between departments… well not their issue. They did their job.

    So we need to break away from this thinking and create, for example, a work cell that allows us to weld, machine, paint, and assemble in one area.

    Good question and let me know if you are still confused.

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