Good morning from Massachusetts today. Taking all kinds of virus prevention protective measures.

One of the more important things you can do to allow you to let go as a leader is to make sure everyone knows what to do.

That sounds pretty basic, doesn’t it.  But think for a minute…. You’ll discover that we don’t do a great job of this. 

Clear expectations are a critical piece of trust building, and since it’s about trust, we have to make sure that both sides of the relationship understand the expectations of the other.

As the leader, you represent the needs of the organization, its goals and objectives, and its rules. It is up to you to ensure that everyone else knows those goals, objectives, and rules.

As the follower, you represent the ability of the organization to accomplish things that satisfy customers and keep them coming back.  It is up to you to ensure that leaders know when you aren’t able to do the work so they can help round up additional resources or reprioritize the work.

For every task, there are goals and objectives, but we usually call these targets for daily work.  There are also rules that describe how the work should be done.  These should all be integrated into standardized work. 

Standardized work isn’t just a detailed description of how to do the work. It captures the best techniques and knack points that people have discovered while doing the work.

Creating standardized work is a lot harder than people think.  Many fall into the tendency to have engineers or continuous improvement staff create standardized work, but the only way people will do what we need them to do with it is if they are intimately involved in its creation.

Reality mandates that we start with some specification or draft document.  But it won’t become standardized work until the people doing the work show us their reality.  Then, engineering and continuous improvement staff can provide support in capturing what the people do but it has to be a highly interactive process that ends with the team doing the work owning the documentation.  Once they own it, we’ll need to challenge them to keep making it better. 

That means – can they find a way to save a second or two here and there?  Can they find a way to walk less, to reach less, to bend and stretch less while doing the work?  In offices, can they access the information they need more quickly?

But when they find those better ways, the standardized work needs an update.  Keep in mind that it doesn’t have to always be pretty.  They can update the document set with a pen or pencil every time they make a change in the work.  Maybe a few times a year we’ll need to clean them up and reprint something a little prettier. 

Useful first.  Pretty second. 

Have a great day and I’ll see you tomorrow.