Can Standard Work be fun and lead to EnthusiasmBy
David Veech (@leansights) thinks that work should be fun, exciting, challenging, and interesting, and knows that it is leaders who can make or break this kind of workplace. To help organizations of all types develop better leaders, he founded Leadersights in 2011 to focus on this overwhelming task. David is part of the a series of blog posts outlined in A Lean Service Design Approach to Gaming your Training.
David comes across a little strong about standard work in this excerpt but as you read on you will see the openness he creates through standard work. This is an excerpt of an upcoming podcast.
You lead me to believe in the article that standard work can be fun and lead to enthusiasm, but standard work has to be pretty strong in this concept that we talked about. When we do these job changes and roles, it has to be understood what needs to be done.
Absolutely, standardized work is the single most important tool we have in the toolbox. If we screw it up, we are going to have problems, if we get it right, all kinds of other things fall into place. It is hard to get right. It takes a lot of time to get right. Once you get it right, once you enforce it ?,? and you have got to enforce it with an iron fist? you cannot be friendly and “Oh, well that is OK; you can you do it your own way.” No, it has got to be done the way the standardized work says, so that requires enforcement with an iron fist.
You see, there is a balancing act that we have got to kind of take as a leader because it is our responsibility to make sure that they are building skills, and the only way their skills are going to improve is if we make sure they do it the same way every time.
Now, in a mature organization that is used to standardized work, standardized work is ought to be changing every day, right? So, how do we balance that as well, how do you have a process that allows people to change the standardized work every day and still build skills?
And that is one of the great mysteries that a lot of organizations struggle with. They think as they start rolling out the standardized work, they are supposed to be changing it that frequently from the start. That is not the case.
You might take 6?8 weeks to define the standardized work. During that 6?8 weeks, it is going to change all the time as people explore new ways to do things. You get a couple of key people who are working to try to make sure you know what the standard ought to be.
When a small group of folks gets it right, set that standard and then do not change that standard until everybody who is going to be doing that work can go into that workplace and do the job to standard without problems. Then when everybody has reached that level of skills, then they are all more capable of coming up with creative ways to make it better.
Instead of squashing creativity, which a lot of people accuse standardized work of doing, and it sure sounds like we are squashing creativity because, “You have got to do it this way!” it is actually laying a foundation for creativity to explode.
When that creativity explodes, if the organization doesn’t have a defined, clear, standardized process for making changes to that standardized work, they just screwed themselves.
One of the first things you’ve got to do is figure out how you are going to change to standardized work before you start rolling it out in a broad basis. What I think the key thing in changing standardized work is you have to have a thought process that is based on, well, I call it the C4 process for concern, cause, and countermeasure and confirm. Toyota calls it PDCA. Everything they do is driven by PDCA, as you know.
David’s Blog: Leadersights.blogspot.com