I have reviewed a book called Zen To Done. I have been exploring increasing personal and corporate productivity. I have studied Lean/Six Sigma. The WordPress powered Blogosphere is a wonderful place to browse, explore or search in. So I ran across this blog post on productivity.
As in ALL situations where you are trying to increase productivity, you are absolutely not trying to cause someone to put “more effort” into their work. You are trying to get either the same production with less effort or get more productive with the same effort. The key is the “Work Smarter, Not Harder” idea.
Lean and Six Sigma both have their roots in manufacturing. There have been enormous successes in manufacturing (see “The Toyota Way” for instance). There have been numerous attempts and perhaps successes in applying Lean/Six Sigma to the service industry and to Knowledge work. Its not easy to do. A major stumbling block is being able to measure your productivity. If you can’t measure it, how can you be sure your changes actually improved your productivity?
Douglas W. Hubbard wrote a book called “How to Measure Anything – Finding the Value of “Intangibles” in Business.” He has setup a training and certification program to help business people and consultants get a handle on this. Jay Arthur is a consultant in Lean/Six Sigma and has written about using LSS in service industries like hospitals. So it is possible to apply these techniques.
My favorite (lean) story about how to increase productivity in an office process is a “follow the object of the workflow through the process from the object’s point of view”. When you do this you will find that the object spends significant time waiting between activities. If you can locate those wait times and if you can reduce the wait times you can speed up the production of that service without actually making anyone work harder.
“Lean” probably won’t help a pure Knowledge Worker situation but it will help a multi-step service business.
I just noticed that using this WordPress application for posting drops out the spellcheck I am used to having. I need to investigate if I can get this back in, or return to the web interface where I have Grammarly available to grammar/spell check. Hmmm…..