Thursday, April 2, 2009

“No early swiping” - Leaders start from a basis of trust

The large conference center was filling up quickly. Teammates of all types were joining in. The folks that work on the factory floor were mixing with office workers and top leadership. It was a mandatory ethics training event and last year’s class was quite interesting. In the middle of the “finding a seat” process, you could hear the administrative team calling out “no early swiping.” “No early swiping.”

The concept was that credit for attending the class was to be provided upon completion when each teammate would swipe their badge through the electronic proximity scanner. The implied assumption was that if the scanning was done upon completion, then it assured full session attendance. Unfortunately, the teammates that attended this training in the past knew there was going to be a sizable queue at the end and simply wanted to avoid this waste of time. Thus, the call for “no early swiping.”

It seems like many times when leaders try to second guess the integrity of the people we lead, the intent is misjudged. Whether it is early swiping or providing the tools to get a job done most expeditiously, we often build procedures for the 99th percentile individual. This is costly and impacts morale. Procedures and processes for the masses are typically fine.

Have you been able to ensure your processes are not overly cumbersome? Have you had luck eliminating any?


Brian K said...

very good point, John.

J Wong said...

I like this post! Sometimes a corporation’s worst enemy is the corporation itself. They try to improve processes so much that they implement process on top of processes and there is so much heavy rigor involved that it costs more to do the work then what the job may actually be worth. We tend to over engineer things where I am from but is typical of many companies I imagine. I would like to say that in my particular area we are working diligently to lean out, or reduce the number of processes and try to streamline things as much as possible. When performing a step or function always thing to yourself, “is this step or process value added” if not, then determine an easier way that makes sense and provides value to the end result. You will always be successful when thinking about things this way.

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