Search Results for: leadership

We Affect Other People With Almost Everything We Do

        When I was 11,  I cut the grass in my family’s yard all by myself for the first time. Tired and sweaty, I was so proud. A family friend drove into the driveway just as I was finishing. His first words out of the car were “You missed a spot behind the shrubs.” I was crushed. Why hadn’t he noticed the rest of the four acres that I had completed correctly with so much sweat and effort? I suppose his eye was trained to look for the imperfect spot. I never wanted to cut the grass again.          Most of us know the power of other people’s approval or disapproval in motivating us to keep trying. Or to feel like throwing in the towel. A smile and a comment showing that someone values our efforts will keep us going for a long time.          Joanna tells about a week when her supervisor was out of town; she had been working through lunches and until 7:00 P.M. every night to meet department deadlines. She was feeling burned out, she said, when Wayne, a co-worker, came and stood for a minute at her cubicle door one evening, watching her work. “You work hard,” … Continue reading

Your Fingers

"Everybody’s behavior makes sense to them at the time," says Dr. Aubrey Daniels, founder of the consulting company bearing his name. We can remove the mystery and superstition for why people do the "crazy" things they do (translation: things we don’t agree with). It’s not voodoo. It’s the consequences. "I just don’t understand why he won’t pick up his clothes. I end up picking them up every day." The answer to the question is right there. You just read it. When we don’t approve of someone else’s actions, and wish we knew how to change those actions, all we have to do is ask, "What happens for that person when he or she does that action?" If she keeps doing the same action, we know that a positive reinforcer (from some source) is fueling her behavior, keeping it running and running, no matter how much we detest that behavior. When Mike’s daughter was nine, he gave her a laundry basket for her closet. "Put your dirty clothes in here, Shawn. The day before you want clean clothes, take your basket down to the laundry room." Downstairs they went for a lesson. Using her fingers, not his, he taught her, "Here’s how to run the washer." And later, "Now … Continue reading

Poke Yoke: Video Game or Business Tool?

  Poka Yoke.   You think, "Isn’t that the video game my children play?"  No, that’s Pokemon, "Game Boy" game with cute animated characters.  The challenge of that game is to train your Pokemon (pocket monsters) to do non-lethal battle against other Pokemon.    Poka-Yoke is the Japanese term for "mistake-proofing."  Like the video game, the challenge is to see how skillfully you can mistake-proof the key tasks and processes of your business.    This means designing the product or the task so that it is difficult or impossible to do it wrong. Like the diesel fuel nozzle at the gas pump, purposely made too big to fit into a gasoline automobile.   How can you make the key tasks of your business easy to do correctly and difficult to do incorrectly?  Hospitals color-code certain medications to make it easier to identify the adult dosages from the child dosages.  Factories post instructions for each step of the job right at the work benches.  Airline pilots use checklists to follow for landing safely (which is too crucial to trust to memory).  Another technique is to remove any unneeded tools that could be used to do the task incorrectly.  If the job involves using wood screws to attach something, provide … Continue reading