STOP CHASING 5S SQUIRRELS
FINDING FOCUS IN A FAST-MOVING WORLD As spring approaches, I look forward to baseball season. Any other fans out there? Growing up, baseball was my everything. I played peewee all the way into high school and participated in a ton of leagues, loving every second of it. Today, I’ve settled into my role as a spectator. I’ve even gotten Barbara into it.We jumped up out of our seats watching the Red Sox win the World Series last year. It’s hard not to go into this season with high expectations after that! I’ve noticed fewer kids are into baseball these days, and the sport is losing viewers. It’s a slower game than basketball or football, and it takes a different kind of spectatorship to appreciate it. In today’s world, there are so many distractions, and we look for something fast-paced to hold our attention. It reminds me of Lilly. She’s totally focused on one thing until the second she sees something else, like her toy shark or a squirrel. Then boom — her attention is diverted. It’s also similar to what I see happen with 5S. Folks implement it well only to forget the last principle: sustain. A common hiccup I see is that a lot of companies get stuck choosing the same people to audit one area. In addition to the job getting boring and routine for that person, it becomes ineffective. If you’re always looking at the same thing, you stop truly seeing it. You don’t catch all the issues, and you don’t notice things out of place. Essentially, you put a new sign up and don’t see it anymore.
board. Typically, this is a whiteboard that displays pictures of each team member and has a spot for 5S audit scores. You might include before- and-after pictures of spaces where you’ve used 5S to give visual proof of its power. I’ve seen companies with virtual communication systems use screens in the lunchroom or other common areas to share 5S wins and updates. Making your 5S efforts public and shareable builds accountability within the entire company. I’m always happy to discuss ideas for how to sustain, so don’t hesitate to reach out. Inside this newsletter, you can hear how life-changing 5S has been for one of our customers, John, and learn more about custom shadow boards from our resident expert, Louanne. I look forward to hearing how you sustain this month after trying some of these strategies. If you start any incentive programs, I’d love to know about them! Your victories are ours, too.
What’s the solution? Mix up your 5S team. Change whose eyes are covering each area. This helps with the distraction factor and builds momentum for new ideas to make 5S sustainable. Empower your staff to get creative with keeping 5S top of mind and encourage input from team members. Contests can be useful motivators for sustaining 5S. If your team reaches a certain goal — let’s say they rock five audits in a row— throw them a lunchtime pizza party or give out Starbucks gift cards. Incentives are a great way of celebrating success. If your team doesn’t feel that their hard work is being rewarded or even recognized, what motivates them to continue putting in the effort? It also goes back to awareness. If you make 5S a focus for everyone, including yourself, it’s going to become a priority. But if you’re always the one giving an update about 5S at weekly meetings, switch it up and ask a team member if they’d like to present that portion. In addition to having 5S on the agenda at every staff meeting, another major tool to keep it relevant is to implement a communication
Until next time,
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