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Is your workplace telling you what you need to know?

May 9, 2022
I have had a great time recently working with teams at different workplaces that both wanted their workplaces to speak. We’ve had some great learnings and conversations.

Location 1- Sales volume increases means production is expanding. They now have new staff and new shifts.

At a milk processing plant this is the scenario that was facing the laboratory. They had a successful team doing great work and wanted to continue this forward with new staff and new shifts, they knew they needed to change, but the question was how. Two questions were posed to the staff:

  • What do I need to know?
  • What do I need to share?

BOOM- this flicked the switch, there were some common responses and some very specific ones. Based on this discussion, a visual display was created to answer these questions. The power of knowledge that this display will bring to the team will be brilliant. (Notice the word “will” as it has only been in place for one week). No doubt there will be more learnings (and modifications) to their display, but the key is it’s their display. They realised their information deficits and sought to eliminate (or a least reduce) them.

Location 2- ‘Where are we up to?’

At a local Council they have a million vehicles and items to register. (OK I’m exaggerating…. but it’s lots). They have two “clusters” where they get these registered and they call this ‘Common Expiry’. The process of common expiry involves inspecting, servicing each item (i.e. car, truck etc.) then applying for registration and insurance and obtaining registration. In some instances, these need to be done externally by govt. authorities. It’s a huge job! When common expiry rolled around this year 2 of the 3 staff who heavily organize and liaise this work had COVID. Thus, one person was now scrambling … and needed answers. Once again, the two questions posed were:

  • What do I need to know?
  • What do I need to share?

BOOM, BOOM- Once we started answering these, we could ‘see the problem’. We knew it was there, we could feel it but now we could see it. What’s better, others could see it too. The display they made was self-explaining, so others could see the reality of the process.

Once seeable, action priorities could be determined but perhaps more importantly conversations around HELP arose. The ‘team’ rallied and yes, they got the common expiry completed.

I’m interested to ‘see’ how these evolve over time. Ben