Thursday, April 12, 2007

Relay Race

A great example of team building

The Relay Race.

Or the weakest link. I was the slow kid. Too tall. Too thin. Just not much of a runner. Well in gym class, where everyone must participate regardless the particular talents (or lack thereof), there was only one way for my team to win.

Overcome the weak link. Me.

Yes, I wanted to perform better. No, I would never be fast. Giving it "all my best" was not good enough. How many parents tell their kids that line, "just do your best"? If I did, I have blocked it from my memories. I recall telling them "I expect A 100s." Often. When ever the subject of school performance arose. On tests. On report cards.

Did it work? I will submit better than the more popular approach.

If you do not know the goal, how good are the odds that you will hit the mark? Yes, talent and ability are huge factors. If you get A's in History and C's in Math, knowing that the goal was A's in all subjects, AND you gave it your best, AND you had a tutor in Math, then the C is fine.

In business, as in relay teams, one can overcome weak links. But the first step is always defining the environment and the important goals. Only then will the various options for improvement make sense.

Once some amount of time was spent on helping me learn to run faster, it was time to turn attention to other team members. In order to make up for my short comings. To minimize my impact on hindering the team from reaching the finish line first.

Same concept for business. If the assembling department in building Six is the weakest link, then what is it going to take to reach the corporate goal, given that fact? However, few understand that 80% of the time, it is a stupid policy that prevents them from achieving the required throughput.

Yes, policies are the largest source of bottlenecks in most businesses.

TQM tried to teach us that lesson decades ago. Failure to understand the past, often causes one to experience it over and over. Every system has one weakest link.

Jeff 'SKI' Kinsey, Publisher

P.S. Once you define your environment and the goals, then seek your weakest link.

(c)Copyright 2007, Jeff 'SKI' Kinsey.
All rights reserved.
blog comments powered by Disqus