Good morning!

Are you wondering how to get started with a new or modified visual management system and the team huddles that go along with them?

What do you measure?   What do you display?  How do you get people to care about the boards?   How do you get people to care about the huddles?

It can be a lot of hard work for leaders.  I don’t want to sugar coat this. 

The most important aspect of visual management and huddles is understanding why you want to incorporate them into your workplace or work life. 

You need to understand what problem you are trying to solve with this.

To me, the most important reason to do all this is to allow all employees to feel more involved in what’s going on at work and give them a system where they can become engaged. 

Why that?  Because we need engaged employees to help us see and solve future problems, to share new ideas, and to develop the skills they will need to be future leaders.

How do you start?  You’ll need some specific measures.  Usually there will be a set that includes a metric for People, Safety, Productivity or Delivery, Quality, Service, and Cost.

The general question for all of these metrics is “what do people need to know?”  This isn’t about what the leaders need to know, but this will play directly into metrics at higher tiers. 

“What do the people in the huddle at tier 1 need to know?” 

1. They need to know if their team is here or if they can expect more work because they’re short handed today.  So we MEASURE Attendance.

2. They need to know if special events, training, or future vacations are going to affect them.  So we have a 3-month rolling calendar people can write on.

3. They need to know what they are expected to do that day.  What are the targets for production or service delivery – How many widgets am I expected to make or how many customers should I expect to see today? 

4. They need to know that the problems they had yesterday (or earlier) are solved or are being solved if they aren’t personally involved.

5. For other things, ask them!  

a. Many will want to know how they are doing with customer satisfaction, so you will want some quality measure of their work. 

b. Many will want to know how the company is doing financially – especially if there’s a gainshare or bonus structure they will benefit from with higher profitability. 

c. Others will want to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, babies, promotions, or recognition team members have received.

I’ll start today with People and the simplest thing you can do to begin bringing people in – Measure attendance at the huddles.

Sounds silly to take attendance, but the way it should work is that each team member has to interact with the board to mark that they are here.  We do this to build the habit of coming to the huddle, picking up a marker, and putting a green dot next to your name.

But that alone will just be annoying, so you have to offer a challenge.  You have to offer something like: “If we have 100% attendance for a month, there’s a reward for the team.”  The reward can be an office pot luck, but that’s pretty much a non-starter in COVID world, or it could be that everyone gets a $5 Starbucks or Walmart gift card. 

Give out the reward as soon as it’s earned.  Don’t wait til the end of the year to reward perfect attendance in February.

For longer periods of 100% attendance, you offer larger rewards. 

Don’t forget though, that the purpose you are after is to get them to care about the huddle.  So the other things you measure and talk about in the huddle have to matter to them. 

I’ll talk about them over the next few days.  If you need any help with this, send me a message or give me a call.

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