One of the things I notice with Managing Directors and high level executives within large organisations is that there became a point where they felt responsible for making the decisions about the success and direction of the teams within their organisation.
This puts quite a lot of pressure on them because it’s up to them to make decisions on things that they might have become quite out of touch with.
The reason they’ve become out of touch with them isn’t because of lack of care or attention, it’s because their focus has changed, and rightly so.
As they go up the responsibility ladder, their focus changes and they start to look more towards making strategic decisions. At least, that’s what they are paid to do.
But sometimes they can struggle to let go of coming up with ideas about how their teams can do business in a more effective way.
The solution to this is pretty simple, but yet it gets missed often.
Just Ask A Simple Question
We forget to just ask the one question that makes such a huge difference.
I work with a managing director who realised that he was taking on the responsibility of coming up with new ideas. He realised that his team are actually really effective and evolved, they want to do better and be better. They want to help and support him.
Just one question changed everything for him.
How can you do your job better?
Such a simple question but you can tap into so much wealth within your team by just asking them how they think they could do their job better. How could their function within the organisation be better performed?
How Kaizen Comes Into Play
The principle of Kaizen runs from the management level down to the operations within the business.
That’s really where people get lost. They believe that innovation and change and improvement has to come from the top level, whereas within the Kaizen principles, it comes from all levels.
What Does That Look Like?
It means a high level manager having a meeting with the receptionist or cashier and asking “How could you do your job better?” and then simply listening to their response.
But We Haven’t Done This Before…
The most important part of this is understanding if you have created a culture where it’s encouraged and OK for these people to suggest ways to do things better.
If you don’t have this culture, the first time you have these meetings, you may have a blank expression or a look of fear from them. The worst response you can get is “I don’t know”, because that person doesn’t feel inspired to go about their work day thinking of how they can improve how they work. But the more the culture is encouraged, the more the ideas and proactive thinking will surface.
When ideas for improvement come from the “people” rather than management, employees are more receptive to adapt to those changes because they are the ones who have created those changes.
This creates the feeling of ownership over their job role, they feel more satisfied, they are more effective and it takes pressure off of senior management because they can focus more on strategic decisions rather than thinking about how the operators within the business could be more effective.
Gather as much feedback as possible, look for patterns and summarise it. Put changes in place that people come up with that fit within the business.
Each time you listen and respond, what you are doing is creating a culture of continuous improvement. You’re creating a culture that says “We’re never ‘there’, we’re constantly going through a process that is continuously improving and developing”.
As the business owner or high level manager, take the pressure off of yourself to come up with all of the ideas of how to run the organisation better, start to tap into the wealth within your business and the ideas within your teams.
Everybody needs to be encouraged to look at how they are operating on a day to day basis and thinking to themselves, “How can I do this better?”
What are you going to do with this information today and how are you going to tap into the wealth within your business?