We had just completed the first of three workshops, it was regarding to grow better in the short term without losing sight of goals in the long run. Each of the workshops had two phases; first, learning something new; second, apply what was learned to the company reality.
Once the first phase was completed, participants should’ve been inspired by the ideas disseminated through the workshop. But, were they prepared to let their imagination run free to solve actual and current problems in their jobs? We’d talked about the balanced scorecard as a driver for improving internal processes; as a performance measurement tool and as an effective communication tool of strategic formulation, but we needed to face with harsh reality of the details.
To center the attention on improving and get away from philosophical debates, we took for granted two issues: first, the company is doing “the right things” now, and can figure out which “right things” should be done in the future; second, performance and results are properly measured, in other words, the company measures what really matters.
Of course there are many ways to grow better but the most straightforward is to abandon those useless activities that produces waste. So don’t do what doesn’t add value, is to say, don’t think of the products or services your company can deliver, but if it is able to meet the needs of your end customer. The end customers determines what a business is. The company can offer a hundred things whose value is zero if end customers aren’t willing to pay for them. So the company must begin looking outward.
I closed my speech quoting the words of Peter F. Drucker: «It is not necessary for a business to grow bigger; but it is necessary that it constantly grow better»; many questions were asked and all had a fundamental center of gravity: “we accept we must grow better, but, which is the most straightforward way to do it?… and thereafter some specific and well defined problems were put on the table
To set priorities for rapid improvements (and eventually for incremental innovation) we used a template (see the graphic) to make decisions centered around the concept of value through the lenses of end customers.
Words as muda, muri, mura, gemba, jidoka, heijunka, poka-joka, kaizen, kaikaku, kakushi, etc. all of them, unless you understood japanese, are likely to be strange sounds to your ears. Nevertheless, if you’re lucky enough to have a good job, in a good organization, you probably have heard kaizen word more than twice a week, no matter if you’re working within a small, medium, large or “extended”, organization. Aimed to goods manufacturing or service delivering.
Let me know what do you think of this