Laying the Foundation: Part 2

By Ron Pereira Updated on January 13th, 2011

Old JeansTonight we’ll wrap up our series on how to lay down a strong foundation such that your continuous improvement initiatives not only survive… but flourish.

In part 1 of the series we talked about creating tension, ensuring our efforts are a means to an end, and genchi genbutsu. If you missed it, you can find it here.

Be Speedy

Some of the best advice I can offer an organization starting out on their continuous improvement journey is simple… never allow any “project” to be scoped for longer than 30 days during the first calendar year. No exceptions.

This would stop folks from attempting to boil the ocean with “super project teams.” Sadly, many of these super teams with huge aspirations out of the gate begin to hit some roadblocks. And the next thing you know, most of the once pumped up team members are suddenly too busy with their “regular” jobs.

So, by initially focusing on short kaizen events momentum can form. And once this momentum gets rolling… well, that’s when the fun really begins friends.

Put on Jeans

I could wax poetic about all kinds of other tips tonight… but I won’t. Instead, I want to wrap up with my favorite tip of all, especially for managers or leaders of people.

The next time there is a kaizen event scheduled, show up on the first day wearing a pair of old jeans and a t-shirt. And when the team members look and wonder what the heck you are there for… grab a broom or paint brush and get busy. I don’t care if you are an entry level supervisor or a vice president. Just start working… the team will follow you. I guarantee it.

And once you’ve won a few battles along side the troops… you are well on your way to an extremely strong foundation.

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