How poor daily management can derail annual business goals and how to avoid the pitfalls to effective execution
Did you make a New Year’s resolution this year? Halfway through the year will you still be on track with meeting your business goals? If yes, congratulations! But if you’re like most of the world, that resolution likely fizzled out somewhere between February and March, especially if it was particularly ambitious or required a major alteration to the way you are used to doing things.
The fact is, making a major change isn’t easy. It’s even harder if you’re not the one mandating the change, and instead you’re being asked to get on board and follow the directives of another decision maker. This is exactly the case for the majority of the workforce in businesses where a daily management system is being deployed. If those employees are being asked to change the way they do things or put in more effort, it can be a challenge to keep them engaged. Especially if they don’t see the value or if they lack leadership or guidance to stay focused.
Maintain your resolve for a new daily management system
In our work as consultants, we’ve seen daily management systems fail for precisely these reasons. Our recent eGuide, The Key to Hitting AOP Goals: Data Driven Daily Management, talks a bit about some of the adoption challenges companies face when implementing a system like Dploy Solutions KPI Management. And our recent post about how to get started with a daily management system offers some advice for getting your new system off on the right foot.
But, as all of us New Year’s resolution setters know, you need more than a good start when making a big change. You need to maintain momentum in order to get past the common pitfalls that can spoil even the best of intentions. Here are a few tips for keeping your daily goals on track and steering clear of common problems that can derail your efforts.
4 Daily Management Spoilers to Avoid
Don’t neglect any of the prongs on your three-pronged stool.
We all know what happens when a three-legged stool loses a leg. The whole thing collapses. We strongly contend that a daily management system or approach must have three prongs in order to succeed. It must 1.) Show you how you’re performing, 2.) Help you determine why you’re performing that way, and 3.) Help you take action to correct performance problems.
So many times we see organizations that have artifacts of a daily management system in place. Maybe they have some visual management tools, such as a performance board or hour-by-hour board, or a war room for tracking performance metrics and identifying misses. Those tools take some effort to keep up to date, especially if the system is a manual one.
But if the company lacks a way to understand its performance (such as through root cause analysis, a capability that Dploy’s KPI Management offers) or to do anything about it (for example, by implementing action plans or taking countermeasures) the value of the artifacts deteriorate substantially. Companies eventually—and typically sooner rather than later—stop making the effort to use their performance boards or war rooms. And the promise of performance improvements goes unrealized.
The point is, to truly reap the rewards of a daily management system, you need to do more than stay on top of your performance. You need software and data for responding to performance in real time. Without those essential elements, your system is likely to go unused.
Make your goals aggressive but attainable.
A daily management system is an important tool for achieving Annual Operating Plan goals, which you can read more about in our eGuide, The Key to Hitting AOP Goals: Data Driven Daily Management. Essentially, it works by aligning annual business goals to daily goals and giving your team tools for identifying and correcting misses.
But hitting those annual business goals shouldn’t be the end of the story. When targets stay static or flat, organizations miss out on the opportunity to drive continuous improvement. By continually elevating targets, and using your daily management process and software to identify and remove roadblocks that stand in the way, your organization can continue to make improvements and not just meet, but exceed goals. In other words, your target line should always curve toward improvement. And your software like, Dploy’s Solutions KPI Management should help you see where performance is lagging and provides the tools to figure out how to get better all the time.
Make sure your leaders are fully engaged.
Implementing a daily management system and software demands an unwavering commitment from your management team. Daily management cannot be the flavor of the day and leaders must truly become evangelists for the new way of doing things.The system ultimately depends on workers on the front lines making the effort to identify and capture issues the moment they occur, when they occur. For people to keep this up, they need to feel confident that the new system is going to be a lasting change and not just a fad. And that directive needs to flow from the top down. Because if workers do not feel like management really cares or that the change will stick, they’re very likely to fall back into their old routines.
Make accountability a good thing.
Among your workforce, there can be resistance to software that can track performance, productivity and progress toward goals because people don’t want to feel like they are under a microscope. Some will feel uncomfortably knowing that all of their actions will be transparent to management.
Your leaders can help ease this uncertainty by positioning the advantages of the software in the right way. People typically don’t mind working hard, but they do hate wasting their time. When they realize that a daily management process integrated with a software solutions is about eliminating road blocks and that it’s ultimately going to make it easier for them to stay on track and achieve their goals, then become less fearful of accountability. They start viewing the software as a tool for their own success, rather than just an oversight device. And they are more likely to get onboard, take pride in their enhanced productivity, and eventually feel a sense of ownership in the system and a contributor toward continued progress for the company.
Make your transition to daily management a success.
If you are committed to the many advantages of daily management and its ability to improve performance in your organization, then your transition to a new process and software can be a major success. As I referenced earlier in this post, to learn more about what daily management means, how a daily management system works and how you can prepare for a successful adoption, download our eGuide, The Key to Hitting AOP Goals? Data-Driven Daily Management. After you read this guide, take a self-assessment to understand where your organization is in achieving daily management success and implementing software, like Dploy Solutions.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
David Pate is Managing Director of North American Business Development at TBM Consulting Group. He is a skilled business leader with experience in both process and discrete manufacturing, David Pate is recognized for his ability to deliver results and for his 25+ years’ experience driving lean transformations, facilitating culture change and developing lean leaders. In his role as Director of Lean Manufacturing, David led lean transformations for four large factories and implemented a program for lean supplier development. As plant manager, he utilized lean to drive and sustain significant reductions in defects and increased productivity.