It’s a red flag whenever I hear the words monthly meeting minutes. It means nothing is getting done. OK, that’s an exaggeration, but I bet you scoffed because there’s some truth to it. You’ve likely experienced the panic of scrambling in your emails for the previous month’s minutes to find out what you’ve meant to have done. Then there’s that sigh of relief when you show up to the meeting and realize no one else has followed up their actions either. So the meeting rolls through the same items and the cycle repeats.
Nearly every business we talk to recognizes this behavior. It’s an expensive waste of resources for the organization and a clear sign of a broken productivity system. But no one is doing this on purpose! I’m not waking up in the morning thinking “how can I avoid doing my job”. The problem isn’t the meeting either, it’s the way we communicate and drive activity. Emails fall off the top of the inbox very quickly, attachments don’t get read and spreadsheet rows don’t send reminders or notifications to keep you on track.
Siloed functions and data
Besides the actions in meeting minutes, you might have a number of other databases that you regularly look at for specific information:
- Work orders
- Supplier development
- Safety incidents
- Quality incidents
- Improvement ideas
- Action logs
- Risk registers
These are in spreadsheets or Access databases, some are in more mature systems (but only accessible to ‘admins users’ or licence holders), and others are simply stuck in someone’s email inbox. We’ve created a world for ourselves where we need to go into a different system for every single function, even though all the information is related and the context of the bigger picture can impact decisions. Being in separate systems often creates ownership issues too, where one person is tasked with the responsibility for updating, so no one else feels accountable and productivity takes a hit.
Then there’s the activities that aren’t on databases because they’re mostly on paper or whiteboard;
- Behavior observations
- One point lessons
- 5 Why Problem solving
- A3 reports/projects
These are often outputs from part of a larger process, so are not considered as worth capturing. Or if they are, they’re in the corner of an office or in a photo attached to an email. And the opportunity for an organizational learning or capability development is lost.
We need a better productivity system.
You want to organize, track, prioritize and manage your work. Not your project tasks, then daily tasks, then something else. All your work, presented together in context, coherently, with visibility to everyone. And you want to understand how it fits in with other people, other teams, and organizational goals. This is not an unreasonable request.
Take a systems approach. Think across your operations and how many systems and databases are in use. These legacy systems are not designed to increase visibility, assign team responsibility and individual accountability. That needs to change. Mandate operational excellence, and commit to a productivity system that enables collaboration across the organization.
A Continuous Improvement Framework, Not Locally Optimised ‘Islands”
To reiterate the above, we must ensure that we look at continuous improvement holistically and consider the influence that all systems and their related processes have on each other. There are great gains to be had by ensuring that no one element is developed in isolation. The goal is to build a connect Tiered Daily Management process that can handle the full PDCA loop to deliver the desired continuous improvement.
For instance, the key lean tools we use like Leader Standard Work and Daily Huddles must be supported by standardised problem solving techniques, documentation and an established training / skills development process.
The illustration below shows how we designed an interconnected platform that ensures there are no disconnected ‘Point Solutions’ (digital or analog) that can hinder organisations from achieving their objectives.
On average, an organization will retire 6 legacy databases when implementing TeamAssurance. This increases to 15 after 12 months. Contact us today to improve your productivity system and start driving real change.