Making the invisible visible.
This is key.
Here is a wonderful example how a client did this recently.
Major bottle neck happening getting projects through the lengthy approval process so they can start work. They can’t start work and make money until approvals and insurances are sorted.
The spreadsheet for tracking where the project was at in the approval process was inside a computer. It was a nice spreadsheet, had all the info including coloured boxes.
BUT! It was invisible!
Make a huge whiteboard with all the columns for approval steps and hang it where everyone responsible can see it.
They have coloured magnets they move along the columns as steps are completed.
In an instant, project managers can see which projects are dragging. There is no escaping reality and this is what you want.
Staff responsible for chasing approvals, permits, insurances, contracts etc can immediately see which projects they need to focus on.
Results have been instant.
BUT! There was one extra bit missing that added the final icing to the cake, and boosted performance even further.
Project managers and the business owner couldn’t quickly see how many projects were ready to start that week. This is a key KPI that needs to be tracked because it directly influences cash flow.
The solution was to add a 3wk forecast of jobs due to start. This means they can clearly see how many jobs are starting each week. As a result they can slow down or ramp up efforts as required. In the past it required the business owner to spend a lot of time digging into the details and hassling them to make follow-up calls.
With the new columns added, the business owner can set the team targets for how many jobs need to be starting in Weeks 1, 2 and 3.
As a result, the staff can self manage, and don’t need the business owner to waste time monitoring what is happening and pushing them.
This is key! It is an important step towards holidays for the business owner!!!!
When targets and progress are visible, staff are more able to manage themselves. Plus, visible scoreboards satisfy a core need to contribute and feel a sense of achievement/progress = improved job satisfaction.
Less time needed for the business owner ‘in’ the business!! Win-win.