As I have detailed in previous columns, there has been a great deal written about applying Lean Six Sigma (LSS) in production and more recently in office functions. Here I plan to introduce some ideas about how LSS can be applied to your personal working situation.
What I am referring to here relates to the hidden waste that each and every one of us struggles with to a greater or lesser degree - losses to our personal productivity. For example, if you were to rank each of these issues on a scale of one to five, with one being ‘it is a non-issue’ to you and five as a ‘major issue,’ how would you rank these?
I don’t know about you, but I had to honestly give myself a three or four on most of these issues. Let’s do a mini-assessment: what are the root causes of these issues and what is at stake? We will examine the root causes next, but let me assure you that what is at stake is a potential 25% to 50% improvement in personal productivity if you can address these issues.
Don’t believe it? Let’s do a little self-assessment of your work habits. First, take a look at your personal multitasking capability and habits. In our Western culture, people who can reply to e-mails, answer the phone and run a meeting at the same time are looked upon with great admiration by management. We tend to glorify and promote those who seem to be able to juggle everything at the same time and not let too many balls hit the ground. There is one little problem: 99% of us are not very effective when multitasking. Most of us who multitask and believe we are effective are just fooling ourselves. What is really happening is:
Do you pride yourself on answering the phone in two rings or less every time, or answering every e-mail within 90 seconds of receipt? How about dropping everything for anyone who enters your space? While there are many good things about these practices, one should consider the consequences of your quality and effectiveness. As in the multitasking issues discussed above, well-intentioned interruptions that we may, in fact, invite are often a direct roadblock to getting mission critical things done.
Take a little inventory for yourself. How true would you say these issues are for you?
If you feel two or more of these are true for you, then join the rest of us mortals who have the same problems.
You now have a start in assessing your situation. In the next column, we will begin examining the ways to improve your performance with Lean Six Sigma techniques.
If your organization would like to learn more about LSS, contact me for a free Webinar to dive deeper, or e-mail me at rcrabtree@MetaOps.com to learn more.
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