"In a recession, you've got to get more done with less. And the only way to do that is to eliminate the waste. So what's waste look like?
- If you've got to redo something, that's wasted resources.
- If you're stuck waiting for approval of response or feedback, that's wasted time.
- If people are duplicating efforts, that's wasted energy.
- If people are wrapped in bureaucratic red tape, that's wasted opportunity.
- And if people aren't leveraging their strengths, that's wasted talent.
In a recession, you can't waste resources, time, energy, opportunity, or talent. Waste is costly, it's demotivating and it's soul-sucking. I've talked about how you map a process. You start with the outcome and you work backwards. You use Post-it Notes to specify each step in your value stream.
Now, Post-it Notes come in different colors, and I want you to use the same color of Post-it Notes to map your value stream. I've also shared the importance of getting people closest to the process to provide their input, how they experience the process today.
This is when you hunt for the waste. When you're listening to your team. Listen for waste, listen for red tape. Listen for lost time. Listen for redundant tasks or unnecessary steps. Each time you spot waste, capture it on one of those brightly colored Post-it Notes and stick it in the value stream wherever it tends to happen. Now your process map really starts coming to life. You've got a value stream mapped that represents the best practices and standards. But you've also got the enemy identified. All those brightly colored Post-it Notes represent your opportunity costs.
Waste is the enemy!
It keeps 'average' from being 'good' and 'good' from being 'great'. But waste is sneaky. It hides. It's the elephant in the room no one wants to acknowledge. It's traditional. It's the 'way we've always done things here'. Sometimes it's more comfortable. It's familiar.
- Procrastination is waste, but sometimes it feels good.
- Paralysis by analysis is waste, but it's easily justified.
- Bureaucracy is waste masquerading as management.
You're not going to eliminate all the waste at once, but start taking the trash out. Deal with the easier stuff first. Focus on the obvious disconnects - the stuff everyone can buy into. Focus on redundancy. Empower people to act. And don't shy away from outdated procedures. Your people are going to love this.
You're walking in their shoes and you're making their work better. You're helping people work smarter, not harder. And you're eliminating the things that make work suck. This is what transformative leaders do. They hate waste. Waste is the enemy. And transformative leaders are always taking out the trash."
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