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.
- Stop Moving and Start Working
- Playing Fast – American Football and Lean
- Standard Work
- Stop the Finger Pointing!
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