When you’re leading the Lean efforts for your organization or for your team, you’re bound to find yourself totally swamped. At that point, it’s probably tempting to want to sort through all the improvements your people have entered into KaiNexus and delete any that seem like they won’t bring about a change in the organization.
That seems like an okay plan - you’ll be able to focus on the best ideas and get more improvement done, right?
While you may be able to delete improvements your staff has created, you should only do so very rarely. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that you should only delete improvements that contain sensitive information not relevant to improvement work (ex: it would break a law or company policy) or are otherwise deemed inappropriate from an HR perspective.
Let’s take a look at some reasons you might be tempted to delete an improvement and why it’s better to let it live in KaiNexus:
- It’s just a bad idea
Why would someone submit a “bad” idea? They have identified a problem, but they may not have a good solution to it just yet. Rather than deleting their improvement, you should think of this as a coaching opportunity. Help them find a better solution to their problem.
- It’s already been done
By letting the improvement’s author know that their idea has already been implemented, you fill a gap in their training or in the communication of a previous improvement. By leaving their improvement in KaiNexus, you create a record both of that gap and that the person is engaged in continuous improvement.
- It can’t be done
Occasionally, someone will enter an unfeasible dream into KaiNexus. It might be a good idea, but probably can’t actually be implemented. Take this opportunity to engage the improvement’s author in a conversation to see if a more practical improvement could be found. You can edit the original improvement in KaiNexus to include your new game plan.
But what if there’s just no way to address the original idea in any way?
I would recommend still not deleting it! If you resolve it as “No Change” in KaiNexus, there will be a permanent record that it was submitted and why it wasn’t implemented. If anyone has the same idea in the future, they’ll be able to see what happened and won’t need to cycle through the whole process again.
- No change is needed
If an improvement is submitted that you’re certain doesn’t need to be implemented, you should absolutely communicate with that employee and let them know why. Again, resolving the improvement with “No Change” and leaving it in KaiNexus ensures that there’s a point of reference for anyone else who has the same idea. We should note, though, that we’ve found that this is very rarely the cause for resolving an improvement, as most ideas will have - or will lead to - some value to the organization.
I’ve mentioned several, but what exactly are the benefits of resolving improvements with “No Change,” rather than simply deleting them?
- You can track the percentage of ideas that actually result in a change with the KaiNexus Report’s Snapshot. This gives you insight into the health of your Lean culture.
- You have an opportunity to engage your people and coach them in identifying opportunities for improvement that will result in a change.
- If someone else has the same idea, they won’t have to take the time to resubmit it because a record of past work on that idea can still be found in KaiNexus.
- There’s a record that the person who submitted the improvement is engaged in continuous improvement, even if their idea wasn’t implemented. This is especially relevant if your organization is utilizing the Badges module to award people for their engagement.
- If you’re responding to improvements rather than deleting them - even if they’re being resolved with “No Change” - your employees will see that you value their input.
This all may make it seem like you’ll forever be swamped by improvements you have to implement. But that’s what’s great about getting your team engaged in Lean and continuous improvement!
As a leader, your duty is to supervise their improvement efforts and offer coaching when necessary so that they continually improve themselves.You must empower them to make positive changes on their own.