Be alert for good ideas...


Businesses often seek line employees’ advice about how to improve productivity, the theory being that those employees know best how workflow should be designed. Unfortunately, companies often impose practices and processes from the top down; but once implemented, those usually need adjusting. By that time, however, workspaces have been built and procedure manuals have been printed, and leaders may be resistant to change. Continuous improvement, however, is an iterative process that shouldn’t be unduly influenced by inflexibility. I recall the front desk at the Mirage – when we opened, it had been beautifully designed and built, but almost completely backwards from a service perspective. The desk agents there were trained to make and maintain eye contact, but they had to turn their backs on customers to retrieve forms and materials needed to complete their tasks. They explained this to us and, because our boss also believed that employees knew best, the company redesigned the entire registration area, making sure that the service strategies were aligned with the workspace and workflow. Many things in life and business are like this iterative process, and leaders should be flexible enough to adjust to appropriate changes: they should regularly ask employees for process and productivity improvements and be open to that input. Because you never know where the next great idea is going to come from. Listen to your employee ideas today.

 

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 – 1882): American essayist, lecturer, philosopher, abolitionist, and poet who led the transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century