Kaizen, Making Toast, Motorcycle Maintenance & the Art of Process re-Engineering. Stop & do something valuable!

Kaizen, Making Toast, Motorcycle Maintenance & the Art of Process re-Engineering. Stop & do something valuable!

Change is hard, or so they say! Especially when ‘change’ comes dressed in a ‘positively spun’ lingo of higher management. Sometimes it is more straight to the point such as ‘Process Re-engineering’ ‘ERP transformations’ or ‘this is a drive towards efficiency and cost reduction’. Why do most changes fail in the long run? Maybe because it always implies that whatever we do today is not good enough and we get our backs up from the outset. I have found over the year these initiatives are often disruptive and seldom gives long term benefits to anyone. Why? because from the beginning of the ‘re-engineering’ we have lowered everyone’s moral by telling them what they do is not good enough, and someone better than them is going to make things right.

Years ago I was working on ‘lean’ management, today it’s ‘agile’ management. Whatever we call agile, lean, scrum, blah blah blah, it is something I hold dear because it is about creating a collaborative mindset that keeps us in control and sane. ‘today we are here, but tomorrow we can improve, if we really care!’. If you can create a mindset of continuous improvement, you as a leader can lead with less effort. You will become more focused working ON the business than IN the business, you’ll learn to ‘let go’ and your teams will be doing twice the work in half the time and with bigger smiles too.

So, what’s this got to do with Making Toast?

Making Toast is a short video that introduces us to process reengineering with a continuous improvement mindset.

We start by drawing out a process e.g. how to make toast, then we draw the same on post its and lay out the process on a wall and step back to admire our work, then we get everyone to do the same with their post its and then we can collectively step back and admire the mess, then we collectively put things right, moving post its around until they are optimized.

In this way we work as a team, no bosses telling us what to do, and as a team we learn about the process because we are engaging each other in understanding what works best, then collectively when we step back we admire how through collaboration the mess has become simple, and simple in process design equals efficiency, and efficiency in business equals faster, better, cheaper. That’s someone everyone in a company looks up to.

So give this a go with your team. Make change something worth doing, make it’s something you can do together and quickly.

Pick any process. Just start making toast the way you like it!

You may want to do this once a month, or once a quarter.

Making Toast into a habit is Kaizen. You can Google or Bing ‘kaizen’ if you do not already know it’s meaning.


Look forward to reviewing your finding with you.

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