It's Just Conversation
Most people want things to be better, smoother, more efficient, more profitable. They want to do what's "right" for their organizations.
Why don't they take advantage of some of the opportunities identified?
How often have you and colleagues solved problems in a meeting, casual conversation, over lunch, or happy hour?
Problems relating to work, personal habits, or the world?
How many actually got implemented or even worked on?
How many opportunities are wasted in conversation, never to be heard about again?
Certainly we can acknowledge the "noise" all around us. Things like pressing issues, emails, lots of meetings, customer crises, project deadlines.... things that prevent you from getting a minute to even think.
The problem here is that we can identify problems and maybe even solve them, however, It's just conversation until someone writes it down.
The simple act of writing things down, documenting issues and solutions, or approaches to get to root cause can make a big change in your ability to improve processes.
Writing down the problem and the potential solutions goes a long way.
Of course you need to actually work on the issue to achieve the breakthrough improvements you and your organization deserve.
How can you achieve this? After all, you're a busy person.
You could charter a team, have regular meetings, management updates, and celebrate the successes - in a few months. Sometimes that's appropriate.
I think it's always appropriate to schedule some CI time weekly on your calendar. What problems you choose to work on depends on the situation.
My suggestion is to spend 2-4 hours a week of scheduled time working on these issues.
Maybe some of that time is spent in meetings with people working in the process to gain perspective on their needs and constraints.
But some of that time should be spent actually making improvements - rearranging items, sorting areas, creating labels, documenting standard work, etc - ideally with the people that work in the area under investigation.
"But, I don't always have a pen and paper with me when an idea strikes," you say. You can always send email to yourself using your phone. Just remember that writing it down is your reminder to actually do something with the idea.
While it's important to satisfy customers and keep the business running, please remember to take some time every week to:
"work on the business and not in the business"
1) Write it down
2) Schedule time to work on it
3) Make improvements
4) Lather, rinse, and repeat!
Enjoy the Fall weather. All the best.