By Jeff Hajek
A while back, Ron asked a question about how standard work is applied to leadership.
Think of it like this. You wouldn’t create standard work for ‘manufacturing.’ You’d create it for the assembly of the WidgetMax3000, designed based on the voice of the customer and produced at a rate to match customer demand. You have to know your customer.
Know the Purpose
Likewise, you have to know the purpose of your leadership. What are you trying to accomplish? Without having clear objectives, it doesn’t matter what you standardize. You won’t get good results if you don’t define the results you want.
Once you see the big picture, learn to recognize the processes that you do in support of your goals. Keep this in mind. You don’t do ‘Leadership’. You do a series of smaller tasks. Everything is a process. You inspect equipment. You set expectations. You audit performance. You improve processes. You do the coaching process.
Some of these things can be more easily standardized than others.
Standardization in the Army
I’ve got a military background. The Army is really good at standardizing repetitive tasks so people can do them in harsh environments with little sleep. We had standard reports for many of these common tasks—for example, a sitrep (situation report) came in a specific format. We had structured procedures for maintaining equipment. We even had ‘battle drills’ that we practiced in case of specific enemy ‘inputs.’
What about you?
The leadership processes in a manufacturing plant, in a hospital, or a customer call center can all be standardized as well. Do you have a standard way you:
- Prepare for the day? Make sure your staff is present and your equipment is functional at the start of the shift?
- Create a production plan? How do you determine the takt time for each production area today, based on current customer demand? How do you adjust?
- Inspect your areas of responsibility so you don’t miss anything important?
- Evaluate your team? Do you record information throughout the year so you are not scrambling at evaluation time? More importantly, how do you make sure people know where they stand on a daily basis?
- Keep your desk clean? Far too many leaders fail to set a high standard of 5S yet ask their teams to do it.
What do you think?
The more you can standardize the routine processes of leadership, the more you can use your time for the high impact things leaders want to do. Do you agree?