What I learnt this month… ask the person doing the job

By Liz Kentish.

The other week, I was preparing an introductory session for a conference with an associate. And in this presentation we were including an activity to get everyone warmed up for the day.

The activity involved having a list of questions on two separate sheets of paper. There were two hundred people due to attend the conference, so that meant four hundred sheets of printed questions to be folded, taped and labeled.

When we were folding the sheets of paper, after the first ten, we worked out that there was a quicker way of preparing them. After thirty sheets, we found a quicker way still and by the time we were finishing we had the process down to a fine art.

This got me thinking about the way that the management of companies sometimes comes up with new ideas for the work that they do and then impose what they see as the way to do it. The new process gets under way and in many cases is not as smooth or speedy as they thought it would be.

What they should do is to ask the people who are actually doing the job, because no one else knows better how that work or process can be improved.

Just like we were preparing the question sheets, the only way to work out the most effective method for a process is to actually do it and improve it as you go.

So my learning is, when you want to improve something, ask the person doing the job!

This article originally appeared in February’s edition of Tomorrow’s FM.

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