Taking Control Again in Today's Troubled Times

by charles shillingburg of Insights & Solutions LLC ( 21-Oct-2009 )
With the economy in shreds and unemployment rising many individuals and organizations are feeling insecure about their futures.  Where is the economy going?  Where do we fit into the future?  Are our products and services the right ones to go forward?  What do I do and where do I fit in? It's time for people and organizations to take control again . . .  to seize the opportunity to make a difference for themselves and their organizations.  Its time to take a look at Lean Six Sigma methodologies.  They have been around a long time, but are little understood outside of production engineering.  With its focus on outcomes, the scientific, systems based approaches of Lean Six Sigma are a road map to success, both personally and organizationally.  Starting with a clear vision, strategy and action plans detailing where you are, how you are operating and where you want to go, everyone can understand, diagnose and take appropriate action to secure their futures.  Individuals and departments need to think and act with a broader focus.  Not just about what they, personally (or departmentally), are doing, but how their attitudes and actions affect others and how others actions affect them.   Not to create or add to "the blame game," but to understand, develop solutions and work cooperatively to common goals that benefit the whole as well as individuals.  The systems based thinking and applications embraced by Lean Six Sigma are a way of thinking and managing on a daily basis that simultaneously leads to a more controlled environment, more capacity, faster turnaround times, higher quality and lower costs.  Embraced, it means a more organized and productive life and a more productive and competitive organization and America. Here's how to start.
  • Take a look at what you are doing an how you are living.
  • Identify Waste in your life and work.
    • Are you doing things over and over again, rather than just once?  Figure out what is causing this and come up with a solution so it doesn't happen ever again.  Do it right the first time!
    • Are there piles of materials and supplies that don't need to be there or extras being produced "just in case?"  Why?  If you have "just in case" thinking, then fix the problem upstream so you don't need the extras.
    • Are you and others around you not being used to your/their full potential?  Do you/they feel unimportant or under appreciated?  You/they should get involved in investigating, coming up with solutions and implementing them.  Encourage others to question and reward them for bringing constructive knowledge and solutions to the table that help you, them and others.
    • Do you spend a lot of time looking for things due to a lack of organization?  Organize your work areas so things are easily seen and within reach.  Remove clutter.
    • Are you constantly moving things from place to place, or walking around?  Find locations for things used frequently, store them someplace else if you use them infrequently and get rid of them if they are broken or unnecessary.
    • Are you doing things that you shouldn't have had to do, because something wasn't been done right in the first place before it got to you?  Investigate what is happening upstream that is causing this. Don't blame.  Work cooperatively with others to come up with solutions to prevent the problems from reoccurring in the future.  Do not accommodate problems, do not create one and do not pass a problem on to others.
    • Are you doing more with something than it deserves.  Think about whether your end user really cares about it.  Would they pay extra for what you doing?  If not, forget it!
These few helpful hints can simplify your life and work, speed up completion time, increase your quality of living, while decreasing your cost of living and business.

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