Mike Huszar, Principal at Drive Inc. was one of the guest speakers at OPEX Week 2017: Business Transformation World Summit (organized by the PEX Network). His presentation focused on the “Principles for Successful Improvement Initiatives”. One of the many takeaways pertain to personal responsibility and management of our company’s long-term vision and is discussed in the blog post below.
Have you heard that “a vision without action is a daydream and an action without vision is a nightmare”? An essential component of a well-managed company is that it has put in place a clearly defined vision and a solid strategy to execute it. Successful companies have developed their visionary goals, core purpose, and values. In this way, consistent guidance is available to all stakeholders, and everyone unmistakably understands the company’s ‘raison d’etre’.
Beyond that, our role as employees is to ensure that we consistently execute and/or support the organization’s strategy. Mike Huszar provides us with some principles to help us keep focused, be productive, and continue to contribute to the bottom line.
Align all Critical Activities with True North.
Knowing True North is important for navigation when moving from one location to another. Similarly, in life and in business, it is important to know where we are going, and what the right path is to get there. But what does that mean for us, on a day to day basis?
As we face operational issues and financial crisis, it is critical to identify equipment failures, product defects, overstock, and other issues that are most affecting the customer. Once identified, a proper improvement strategy should include setting up a target condition that is aligned with True North.
As we strive to increase the Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE), to do away with hidden waste and to minimize defect rates among other issues, setting a target condition is necessary before improvement(s) can take place. This target condition must be aligned with the ideal state (True North). Moving towards ideal state requires surfacing barriers of all types. Because dodging them leads to a less than desirable process, we must face them head on and eliminate them by using the right improvement tools and change management approach.
Know your Role in Fulfilling the Vision
Any company that strives for success must focus on 3 key activities: Innovation, Continuous Improvement, and Maintaining Order & Standardization. Depending on what level of the organization an employee belongs to, a different proportion of time gets dedicated to each of these activities.
To ensure alignment with the company strategy and perform excellently no matter what our role is, it is important to regularly think of what the expectations are and how well we’re achieving them. Tracy Richardson, author, and LEI faculty member has developed a sequence of questions that you might find helpful (more on this here >> What is your line of sight?):
- What is your role in the organization?
- What is your work responsibility?
- What is your job’s purpose?
- What are the goals that guide your job’s purpose?
- What are the company goals?
Manage your time
In all organizations and at all levels, there are activities that are urgent and other ones that are important. Some can also be both urgent and important, and other ones can be neither. Urgent activities are ones that demand immediate attention, and may be (often are) related to achieving someone else’s goals rather than our own. Examples of urgent activities can be ‘responding to a crisis’ or ‘attending a meeting’.
On the other hand, important activities in business are ones that are likely to be aligned with the company strategy and are more specific to one’s own goals within the organization, such as ‘responding to a customer complaint’ or ‘planning activities’.
Based on the Eisenhower decision matrix, Huszar created a time management decision matrix to assist us with re-focusing our attention.
As employees in an organization, it is important to look at the work on a regular basis. When necessary, it is critical that we learn to shift from unimportant tasks towards more important ones.
One way of achieving that is to create a schedule based on priority: priority 1 tasks are both urgent and important, priority 2 tasks are important but not urgent, priority 3 tasks are urgent but not important, and priority 4 tasks are neither important nor urgent. For more on this, click here >> Eisenhower’s Urgent/Important Principle. In the words of Stephen Covey:
” The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities”.
Mike Huszar is a seasoned enterprise-level Business Performance Improvement Consultant with over 20 years’ experience (learn more about Mike here). He shared many lessons beneficial to Continuous Improvement professionals and Leaders alike. I personally look forward to more of his contributions at conferences such as the ones organized by the PEX Network. For more information on this year’s PEX Network conferences, click here >> PEX Conferences 2017