‘I purposely try to hire people who are really self-motivated and good at what they do, and then I just leave them alone.'
— Yvon Chouinard —
Employee involvement is the key! Involvement only arises when employees are given the opportunity and confidence to prove themselves. They do the work every day, they are closest to the customer and they know best what could be improved.
Yet employee involvement often goes wrong. Only if mission, vision, core values and strategy are communicated and understood throughout the entire organization, work can be done accordingly. This has to be worked on first. After that, it is a matter of stopping micro-management and supporting and facilitating the teams to coordinate their work.
Structure is often blamed for restricting creativity and innovation. However, in an organization creativity and innovation need structure to emerge and flourish.
Different teams within an organization speak different languages and follow different rules. New creative ideas get lost in translation. As a result, employees are stressed, and money and time are wasted. New ideas will not survive without a common framework or structure that unites the effort of various teams and expertise.
The trick is to keep it simple. Agree on the structure and stick to it! Creative sessions will now be used for developing creative and innovative ideas and not for planning and structuring.
‘Order is the sanity of the mind, the health of the body, the peace of the city, the security of the state. Like beams in a house or bones to a body, so is order to all things.’
— Robert Southey —
‘An organization's ability to learn, and translate that learning into action rapidly, is the ultimate competitive advantage.’
— Jack Welch —
If the mission, vision and strategy of the organization are understood, improvement ideas will arise quickly. To implement them, decisions must be taken as soon as a budget is required and this often takes a long time.
There is nothing more frustrating than waiting for a decision and meanwhile not being able to perform your work properly. After a few times nobody takes the trouble anymore to make suggestions for improvement.
You must make sure ‘lessons learned’ and ‘best practices’ are shared and information can flow quickly from workfloor to management and back. Put a well organized and structured rhythm of meetings in place and you can save a lot of time and tons of e-mails!