Possess a zero tolerance for waste – fundamental #1

Employees have two jobs: Perform and improve performance. Although most leaders focus significant time on getting employees to do their job, the lack of time spent on improving performance leads to unintended consequences. For example, C-Suite leaders having to be Fire Chiefs with their top level management acting as firefighters engulfed in handling the company’s daily fires.

The solution to the eliminating the firefighter culture and many of the other challenges that business leaders face today, adopt a zero tolerance for waste. This means that everyone is responsible for identifying and eliminating waste: The process of improving performance. Waste is a valueless activity that increases business cost and the time required to respond to customer demands.

Activities performed by individuals in an organization are classified into three categories:

• Value added
• Value enabling
• Waste (Non-value added)

Value added activities are the activities employees do that a client is prepared to pay for. For example, putting condiments a hamburger order, or organizing travel and hotel accommodations for a customer.

Value enabling activities are actions employees must currently take in order to meet the needs of a client. However, a client is not prepared to pay for this type of work performed in a business. For example, the preparation and submission of an RFQ or proposal to win a contract.

Waste is created when employees perform actions that add zero value to a product or service as defined by the client. Examples include, searching for information, poor quality products or services, or delivering the wrong order.

Creating a culture where everyone has a zero tolerance for waste allows employees to be far more successful at doing the second aspect of their job, improve performance. This can be extremely advantages to an employees career if they understand how to use this talent.

If you are a leader, you not only have the authority, you have the moral responsibility to integrate fundamental #1 – possess a zero tolerance of waste into your daily business practices. To succeed you must have a structured and formal mechanism for measuring employee engagement, innovation, and waste elimination.

Take the opportunity and make your people’s careers more interesting. Help them to work smarter, not harder. Eliminate the greatest form of waste found in businesses, the waste of human talent. There is no limit to your opportunities and people’s creativity. People don’t really go to work to work, they go there to think and contribute. Employees want to be engaged and to innovate. Provide them with the right training, knowledge transfer, and support systems, then watch the magic unfold. Your people will gladly adapt to a zero tolerance for waste mindset.

The performance-centric thinking fundamentals are part of EISA’s program that is helping business leaders of SME companies to reach the intersection of business and career success: The location from where high-performance teams operate. 
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