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How Can We Learn from Our Successes?

Six Sigma – iSixSigma Forums Operations Manufacturing How Can We Learn from Our Successes?

This topic contains 4 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Anthony S. 1 day, 1 hour ago.

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  • #238466

    Ahiru-san
    Participant

    I lead a team that focuses on studying large scale scrap events at my company and taking action to see that these events don’t happen again–in other words, recurrence prevention. We are good at learning from our failures, but some areas rarely make big mistakes. Many, many people in our organization have not had a large scale scrap event in over a decade, or have literally never been involved in a major scrap event.

    So, how do you suggest I study, and find the lessons in, these success stories?
    What model works for looking at, and learning from successes?
    How can I visualize, and learn from, the people who rarely or never screw up?

    Thanks.

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    • This topic was modified 1 week ago by  Ahiru-san. Reason: Typo
    • This topic was modified 1 week ago by  Katie Barry.
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    #238486

    Strayer
    Participant

    Off the top of my head, I’d guess that your organization is relying more on individual expertise than on defined process. If that’s the case, you want to reverse it by defining and standardizing processes. Getting those who don’t screw up to reveal how they’re more successful can be difficult. They might consider that their secret to job security. You can’t accept that.

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    #238496

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    @ahiru-san If people won’t speak to you that is generally a trust issue. Do they not trust you, the company, the people they work for, etc. That can take a while to fix. There are people in every factory that keep notes, store data, etc. in an informal way just because it is their nature. They will give it to you frequently if you speak to them one on one and they trust you.

    Lets assume you just need to do something now. When you complete a “large scale scrap event” have a post mortem with the team and then invite some other people from other processes to sit in on the review. Maybe being in the crowd and having a discussion about something that is not their issue will loosen them up. After the post mortem find them one on one and thank them for their participation. First because you should, second people like to be appreciated, third it will start you building a relationship.

    Another thing you can do is hold brown bag lunches every 3-4 weeks. Have one of you projects present and then a Q&A. Eventually if you get them there people will open up.

    What you should do some reading on is what is called tacit knowledge transfer. It is a large issue as the Baby Boomers are retiring. How do you extract that knowledge they have before they pack up and move to Florida? This has a fair amount of research behind it. If you want to get in touch with someone who can help you with this email me at mike.carnell@csintlinc.com. I can connect you with a woman who can do this for you or coach you. I just don’t have her permission to put her contact information up here.

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    #238567

    Strayer
    Participant

    In the nineties there was a Phd. in our organization who was implementing expert systems to capture the knowledge of key employees and help with future decision-making. It ended up not going very far, partly because the technology was just beginning. But he did manage to get cooperation. One thing he stressed was that we aren’t trying to replace you with a machine, or with some lower-salary employee. We want to help you do even better.

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    #238612

    Anthony S.
    Participant

    @ahiru-san I’ve worked with teams like you described, where there’s a similar desired outcome (no scrap in your case) but very different actual outcomes by person, even when processes were similar. I agree with Strayer’s response in that you’d likely benefit from some standardization of processes using your best performers’ behaviors, approaches, and process to getting the work done right. Simply put, graph the desired performance (e.g. quality defects or lack thereof) and for those who are performing the best, and where no standard work exists, talk to them first and/or build buy-in like Mike Carnell recommended; despite our intelligence and technology, humans still like food just as much as we did 20,000 years ago and continues to be a great way to connect with others. John Maxwell’s “Everyone Communicates, Few Connect” is a great book for any leader, or human-being in general, leading change or trying to get buy-in/support for an idea. Tony Robbins also has a good TED Talk on the 6 human needs, how these drive behaviors, and how meeting these needs for others, prevents fear responses like the fear of being replaced, uncertainty (though this is also a need…ironically), and decreased significance.

    Assuming you get their buy-in, go through the process with them in detail. When you ask how someone does their work successfully, they’re initially, likely to respond with something like, “well, I just make sure ____ is filled out correctly” or “…I set the machine up right and press go and voila, good units”. So you’ll have to ask questions like, what “correctly” looks like and what settings are adjusted and when. You’ll then get “…well, it depends…”. To which you’ll have to respond, depends on what. From there, those ‘depends’ become the diamonds in your process map. You can then compare processes to see where similarity exist and, ideally, begin applying those sub-tasks and evaluations to lower performing processes before they become issues.

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