We all know that two heads are generally better than one. In the areas of continuous improvement (CI) and operational excellence (OpEx), the collaboration of people working in teams is particularly valuable in driving synergy and delivering better results faster.
The path of continuous improvement can be long and difficult, especially if it’s just one of many important efforts your organization is pursuing. Often staffers and even internal operational excellence practitioners don’t have the time to sit back and evaluate whether they’re even on the right path.
My father, now retired, put food on the table for most of my childhood by running a small carpet cleaning and disaster restoration company. As a child when on summer break from school I would go with Dad every day to his office to “hang out” while he arranged the daily work schedule, assigned jobs to the crews, inventoried supplies, paid bills, and performed all of his other standard work in order for the business to function.
A common challenge that OpEx Leaders and Practitioners face in their efforts to generate traction is how to drive workforce accountability for improvement. And there's good reason why broad-based workforce accountability is a tough nut to crack. As I've written before, there's a fundamental tension that exists in virtually every organization, but particularly those that are early, less operationally mature, and therefore highly reactive, between spending time to manage the business vs. improve the business.
As many of you know, the U.S. Men's Olympic Basketball Team won the gold medal at the just-completed Rio Olympic Games. This marks the 3rd straight gold medal for that group in this event. Casual fans that may not stay abreast of the successes and failures of the Olympic Team, may just assume that U.S. basketball has dominated the Games since the original "Dream Team" was put together back in 1992. But that's not the case.
I’ve had the opportunity to coach my 7 year old son’s basketball team for a few seasons. If I'm being honest, coaching has been both highly rewarding and exasperating all at the same time.
On the one hand, I love watching these players literally improve their skills before my eyes. On the other hand, I know how much better they can be if only they could learn how to play as a team.