How Effective are Your Strategy Setting Systems?
Is your idea pool polluted? Most organizations have a backlog of improvements just waiting to be developed and implemented. Most managers cringe when someone suggests that we hold a meeting to collect ideas from ‘everyone in the plant.’ Too many managers and supervisors are not very skilled at project management. Even fewer are skilled at designing and using effective strategy setting approaches.
Unfortunately, I have witnessed the above facts in all too many organizations. Fortunately, I have learned over the years what the root causes of poor idea flow rates in organizations are, what types of system changes can be made to reduce idea backlogs, and what mechanisms can be used to allow all team members to contribute their ideas for improvement.
I, like most facilitators, can go into any company, meet for an hour with a collection of their employees, and identify at least two or three years worth of work for someone. It is for this reason that I strongly dislike suggestion boxes as they are typically used in organizations. The typical suggestion box collects poorly described ideas from a limited group of people. Worse yet, these idea boxes are rarely supported by a sound project evaluation and development system. The idea pool quickly becomes polluted.
Expectations are raised when people think something is going to change, and then dashed when the organization fails to put their improvements in place. In most cases, people fill the box with problems that they are most familiar with – not those that may benefit the overall goals of the site the most. They don’t understand why the changes aren’t being made, and management takes a big credibility hit.
It is truly a vicious cycle. People won’t share ideas because management won’t listen, and management won’t listen because the people suggest things that really won’t make that much difference. As morale drops, supervisors spend more time dealing with gripes instead of working on projects that would help reduce the gripes. Then someone calls the consultant to fix morale, and he asks the people for their ideas about how to improve it. An additional dump into the already polluted pool is made. Is your idea pool polluted?
EXPLORE MORE: Process Improvement Strategies