The Little Things Matter
Recently, I received a virtual badge from KaiNexus for submitting my 50th Opportunity for Improvement. If you saw my Twitter and LinkedIn posts, you’ll know that I was pretty excited about it. After all, I work hard to improve our company, and the KaiNexus badging system is a fun way to get a little recognition for my efforts. Then, as I am basking in my gamification pride, a co-worker replied to my Tweet:
Now, I know Jeff meant it as a compliment, but it made me take a hard look at why it’s taken me so long to reach 50 OI’s. Because, really, I do much more to improve our company than I give myself credit for in the KaiNexus platform. I take my improvement work very seriously – we all do at KaiNexus – so why don’t I log each little improvement when it’s so easy to do so?
I think that like others, I typically take the time to log:
- Big projects that have tasks to be managed
- Ideas that I’ll need help from others to implement
- Things I want to work on later, and don’t want to forget about
Can you see the glaring hole in what I’m not recording? How easy would it be for me to enter the small, easily implementable ideas that I can (and do) take care of right away. Instead, I act when action is needed and don’t think about it again.
That said, I’m pledging to do better, and you can too. Here are a few reasons we should all take a moment to record the work we do on the fly:
- Create an Institutional body of knowledge
Improvement tracking software naturally creates an institutional body of knowledge for your organization that can be accessed both by current and future employees. Everyone can benefit from everyone else, and you’re not all reinventing the wheel. Searching a database for specific improvement topics you’re looking to improve, and seeing what other people have done about it, can make an entire organization more efficient.
These ideas that you implement on the fly without a second thought may seem small and easy to you, but that same idea could solve a problem for someone else down the line to whom a solution didn’t come so easily. If you take a minute to record your idea and its impact, you may end up removing a boulder from someone else’s path.
- Sharing your idea will prompt others to share their own
When you have a great idea, a good improvement tracking software platform will broadcast your resolution throughout your department or organization. Everyone benefits because they can see the problem you solved or the opportunity for improvement that you identified. It helps change attitudes too. When your coworkers see someone making a concentrated effort to improve the organization and help others, they are more likely to respond in kind. Sharing your ideas tends to motivate others to share as well, and that behavior eliminates organizational silos fosters community.
- Tracking the ROI of all the little things you do
Believe it or not, small improvements and minor problems occur to you because they make your own job easier, more enjoyable, or enable you to serve your customers more effectively. But from that perspective, it’s sometimes difficult to see the big picture impact that your improvement efforts have on your organization.
Every effort helps though. A new process that saves 12 minutes a day becomes an hour a week - or 52 hours a year! If you got 5 other people to also save 12 minutes a day too, you’ve now saved your company over 250 man hours a year. Imagine how much that 12 minute idea saved the company in a year!
Little ideas matter to you AND your organization. Logging them in your improvement tracking software helps you and your leadership to accurately measure the impact of your improvement efforts. There’s no better way to show your value to the company than to track the actual impact your creativeness has had on actual business results.
- Getting credit for your ideas
In a normal day, I spend loads of time doing things like writing content or making customer service calls. However, I also devote time to thinking and to reflecting on ways to improve the work I do. To an untrained eye, those times might look like I’m not being productive. In reality, those moments are highly productive, as they help me to identify better ways to do my job.
Taking a minute to formulate those ideas saves me lots of time and improves my output significantly, and I’m betting it does the same for you. By logging those moments in my improvement tracking platform, I’m letting people know what I’m thinking and how I’ve made the organization better every day.