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When Standardization Leads to Inadvertent Comedy

Posted by Mark Graban

Mar 28, 2020 11:49:00 AM

shutterstock_1368244235This week, I played game show host when we hosted a Quiz Show webinar about Covid-19. The answers and discussion were provided by our local expert (and KaiNexus CEO) Dr. Greg Jacobson.

One thing I do for KaiNexus is managing our webinar series. Each time we present a webinar, we have a standard set of survey questions that appears at the end for our attendees.

The survey is standardized, meaning we ask the same questions each time. Standardized work is a core concept of Lean and the Toyota Production System, but standardization is always done for a purpose. In this case, we always want to learn the same things about our webinar attendees, including what they liked about the webinar. We also want to know what could have been better -- we're obsessed with continuous improvement like our customers are!

Part of that obsession is that we do improve our standards over time -- we can call that "kaizen" too.

But back to the survey, one other question that we always ask is:

"Did you watch the webinar alone or in a group? If a group, how many people?"

The number of people who registered for each webinar is one of the performance metrics that we track. We normally ask if people are watching alone or in groups in an effort to understand how many people we are reaching (and to understand how the webinars are being consumed).

Each time I create a webinar in our GoToWebinar system, I basically create a copy of the previous webinar. This saves time, compared to creating a webinar from scratch. It's, in some way, error proofing against things like forgetting to put in the survey. It also creates risks, such as inviting the previous webinar presenter to be a part of this new one.

So, in an era when we're talking a lot about "social distancing" (a.k.a "physical distancing") it's important to keep our distance from others. Many of us (including the entire KaiNexus team) have been working from home for almost two weeks.

Again, that question was, "Did you watch the webinar alone or in a group? If a group, how many people?"

Replies that we got from attendees included:

  • Alone

OK, that's not a surprise. More often than not, people watch alone at their desks. Two others said the same.

Other replies made me chuckle:

  • Alone from my home
  • Alone - social distancing of course
  • Alone... since I'm working from home due to current COVID-19 situation, my wife listened to part of the webinar/Quiz.

And then finally, this really made me laugh:

  • Is this a trick question? Did I watch A COVID-19 webinar in a group? I watched it alone.

Cheryl, you're the real winner of the quiz!!

Everybody who answered "alone" or watched it alone -- you're also winners! Keep it up!

Thanks for the moment of inadvertent comedy -- it's something we all need right now.

Be well... keep safe... stay physically distant!


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