A tenet of process improvement management is to use visual indicators of quality to help people connect. I experienced an excellent example of that today at the bank. To calibrate you, one of the best inventions of the 20th Century was the ATM so that I no longer had to interact with bank tellers. (No offense intended, I just found them to generally take too long, after waiting in too long a line, to add no value. A lean thinking opportunity if there ever was one.) As you might expect, I work hard not to go into a bank.
Today, I needed to make our company bank deposit because our office manager was on vacation, so I went into the bank because, for reasons I am unclear about, if we deposit checks via ATM they are put on hold, but if we deposit the same check inside the bank, no hold. (We long ago gave up trying to get an explanation for that one.)
The process went smoothly, quickly and resulted in the desired outcome. While waiting I noticed several signs posted saying to the effect, “If you like the experience, please ring the bell.” I then noticed little “bells” at each teller station that you could ring by pushing on the top. A while back I was in a fast food restaurant that had a bell on the way out the door with a sign asking you to ring the bell if you had outstanding service. What I liked about the bank’s program is that the specific person you are dealing with gets a visual indicator of quality … right now.
How are you helping your people know how they are doing? Ken Blanchard said it best in his 1980s book The One Minute Manager, “catch people doing something right.”