No one likes problems. We either try and resolve them or we try to avoid them. We avoid them by doing nothing or by simply ignoring they exist hoping they will go away. Sometimes ignoring a problem is a good strategy as not all problems need or deserve our energies to resolve. However, when we decide to work on resolving a problem how we proceed is important to achieving an outcome. Too many times I have seen organizations and individuals focus on the process instead of the desired results. In other words, they spend more time talking about the problem, talking about the problem-solving process and little to no time about executing the solutions to the problems they are trying to fix. This process focus isn’t problem-solving.
Like it or not we all can find ourselves leading a workplace project. Our ability to successfully execute Project Management is key to the success of our businesses. As a result, we must understand what it takes to successfully manage a project. By success, I mean not only completing the project on time and within the budget but also achieve or exceed the expected results. Given that an estimated 80% of our work time is spent on projects the development of the necessary skills to do that is important to our total success as leaders.
As I was pumping gas a man in dirty disheveled clothes walked up to me and asked: “Do you know what time it is?” I looked at my watch, answered him and then looked at him more closely. He had a half filled plastic bag and had been putting aluminum beverage cans in it. He thanked me, started to turn away when I asked “You collecting cans?” He said yes and I asked him to wait as I reached into my Jeep and gave him 4 empties I had inside. He thanked me again and I asked, “You collect these often?”
Blasphemy! Heresy! Burn Him! Yup, I wrote that. Your Lean initiative will most likely fail. A study released by the Lean Institute conducted by Industry Week in 2007 found that only 2 percent of companies that have a lean program achieved their anticipated results. Further, more recent follow-up studies have shown that few of those sustained their gains initially made. Much can be made of that statement and when you consider that more recent studies show at best that only half of Lean initiatives achieve any measure of success at best (some show as little as 5% success) you have to wonder what all of the excitement is about.
It’s a simple question. Do you have a workforce strategy? Many businesses think they do. They focus on cost control within their workforce. They look at data such as cost per hire to focus on what they believe is a good workforce strategy. They use “Best Practices” from other businesses and see them as a one-size-fits-all solution. The focus is primarily on minimizing the cost of the workforce to maximize the value of profitability. That focus is wrong.