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Re: Site Visits

Forwarded to P2Tech by John Katz (from Bob Pojasek):


If some one comes into your office and tells you the "right way" to
organize it so you will not lose memos, it will take little time (A
approach).  That same person comes into your office and talks to you about
your office and you have a great idea on how to organize your office for
the same purpose (B approach).  Which approach are you more likely to take?
 Both approaches take the same amount of time.  Some B approach providers
will need training in the use of problem-solving and decision-making tools
to perform at this level.  This is what we are talking about.  All quality
programs (even good old - now dead - TQM) use problem solving tools.  No
matter what flavor of the month is proposed, the tools remain the same.  We
just need to forget about the quasireligous quality programs and focus on
the tools (right Burt?).

On an EPA Environmental Justice Grant, I worked with one and two person
("Microentreprenures") firms to teach them the tools and to get them to use
them in their programs.  They were excited because they were solving their
own problems. Implementation rates were high.  As Pat Gallagher said, they
actually had fun.  How many companies have fun during an "A" visit???? The
"Nothing to Waste" Manual is on my web site.  I find people love to solve
problems - both in little firms and big firms.  They are less interested in
having right answers thrust at them.  The only problem that I see is that
different facilitators like to use different tools.  There are many tools
to choose from.  The only thing that is important is that the sequence
involves process characterization, rank ordering of opportunities, root
cause analysis, finding MANY alternatives, selecting an alternative, and
writing an action plan.  Different tools can be used in each item in this
sequence.  There are actually books of tools available.  However, you need
to learn by using them not by reading about them.

You are just assuming that companies will not participate in your B visits.
 Ask Pat Gallagher about the level of participation she has been getting.
You cannot just walk into a firm and not be familiar with the tools.  It
will take some learning and some more practice.  Once you have attained
proper familiarity with the tools, you can have very good results with the
B approach.  This past summer, there was a workshop in Crested Butte that
took a group of people that were not trained in the tools.  They were
divided up into teams to work on case studies.  One team used the A
approach and the rest used the B approach.  The A team got bogged down in
filling in all the forms.  The B teams came up with great solutions to P2
problems.  It was argued that it would take more time.  The groups admitted
that this was not so.  I have done this in all the classes that I have
taught in the past 11 years.  The B approach always works better once you
know the tools.

It is easier to measure the B approach because a written Action Plan is
required in the approach.  It sets out metrics, time frames, resources, and
other information necessary to track progress.  I spend much of my time
auditing action plans written by the companies I work with on an annual
basis to see if they have made continuous improvement in their programs.
The measures of A and B can be the same.  It is just easier to see the
results using the B approach.

People and companies learn by doing.  I have given workshops on the tools
for the past 11 years.  Many people do not ever use the tools again.  Now I
require the trainees to commit to using the tools within two weeks after
the course.  In some cases, the company has me evaluate their pictoral
outputs (each tool has a picture as a product).  This is working much
better.  However, there is no substitute to getting in there and coaching
them on the use of the tools in the B approach.  It is little wonder why
implementation from your workshops has been lower than you wish.

Industry already feels that it is over regulated.  I can convince them to
use the tools to find out what they are doing to trigger the regulations in
their shop.  If they can remove the trigger, they will not be regulated any
more (for that item) and that will save them money.  They LOVE this
argument.  They also love the efficiency case - efficiency is the opposite
of waste.  P2 is a means to a more efficient operation if you do not spend
all your time looking for safe substitutes (chasing windmills).

I didn't think that Mike and I were pessimistic.  We both want to see more
effective modes of delivery of services developed and implemented.  It
sounds like we have a lot of company on this listserver.  Mike and I are
waiting for someone to tell us about the brand new "C" approach.  It is
probably trade marked.


Dr. Robert B. Pojasek
Pojasek & Associates
P.O. Box 1333
E. Arlington, MA 02474-0071
(781) 641-2422
(617) 788-0288 (FAX)