PERFORMANCE IMPROVEMENT: How to Reduce the Costs of Human Error (4 Simple Steps)

This is a transcript of REPSradio.com Episode 005. To listen to this Podcast, Click Here.

Have you ever attempted a “half somersault”?

Think about it- stopping mid-stream through a heals-over-head rollover?

You’d likely get hurt.

I can’t imagine anyone doing this on purpose, perhaps other than teenagers shooting a “Hey, y’all- watch this!” YouTube video.

The thing is- when it comes to leadership and performance improvement, I see facilities and organizations doing half-somersaults all the time!

Efforts undertaken and ineffective, implementations initially effective yet unsustainable…as well as attempts to improve performance where results have plateaued- far short of what is desired and certainly achievable.

Quite honestly, this is a primary reason our phone rings- companies seeking to recover from half-baked attempts at reducing errors and improving performance.

When we dig under the covers, we find that sometimes lack of success is due to lack of vision- efforts either initiated simply to “check a box”, or started without taking time to [honestly] figure out WHY they’re being implemented in the first place.

This is the reason, in Episodes 2 and 4, I talked about doing your Transformation BEFORE doing anything else!

Other times, it’s the suck of one (or both) of the “sirens of performance improvement”…

Either the “shiny box”- the alluring call of a slick consultant or salesperson, espousing the bells and whistles of her next great cure-all, OR a case of analoculitis (yes- that’s a new term you should become VERY familiar with).

Analoculitis is where the desire for data, or the inability to understand existing data, generates “frog in the pond waiting for the gig” syndrome- standstill paralysis, blinded by the perceived light of an all-knowing database, waiting for a computer (or a computer analyst) to spit out the “magic formula” for what to do next.

When such answers do not readily rear their heads, leaders demand action, and it’s blindly onto something else… the half-somersault!

HOWEVER- I’ve found the most COMMON reason for half-baked performance improvement to be efforts conceived, implemented, and reinforced with focus upon the WRONG THING.

It’s human nature to do so- especially in industries dominated by engineers and MBAs…folks conditioned to assessing and analyzing numbers and data.

Whether you’re talking production stats, financials, safety numbers, customer satisfaction / client ratios…whatever it is…most organizations run themselves on data: KPIs, metrics, and trends.

Now, don’t get me wrong…you MUST measure, and you must make adjustments based upon measurement. Whether you’re flipping hamburgers in the corner drive-through, writing software for the medical industry, or running a nuclear power plant- measurement and corresponding action are critical to your success.

When it comes to generating true performance improvement, however, numbers are the ‘backend’. They are ONLY the RESULTS.

Your response is likely… “How can you say only results? Aren’t results what we’re after?”

In the end, yes.

It’s counterintuitive.

Having results as your primary focus in a performance improvement effort is like saying “Beam me up, Scotty.” It’s a nice idea, but the technology of instant teleportation don’t quite exist just yet!

As so many organizations have discovered, likely yours included, DRIVING results is simply NOT sustainable. It’s like pumping water uphill. You can pump long as you want. But once you turn off the pump…well, gravity works every time!

There’s a LOT between where you are and where you want to be (Your Point B), especially if you’re interested in staying there (and beyond) into the future.

So…if results shouldn’t be your primary focus, what should be?

We’ve just completed putting together an infographic, which CLEARLY shows the pathway and the GOAL- your recipe for SUSTAINABLY achieving whatever results you DESIRE!.

We call it “The WAY”. The WAY to quantum, sustainable, holistic performance improvement- no matter what the size, type, or business of your organization.

I’m going to begin covering the WAY and each of its elements in detail in our next episode.

For now, however, especially if you’re an A Player, you can go to REPSradio.com and click on Episode 5. At the bottom of the Episode 5 page, you’ll find links for each of the Resources I’m mentioning during this discussion. Look for the resource labeled, “The WAY”. It’s free, and available for your immediate download.

Now back to the questions…

When it comes to Performance Improvement…

What SHOULD you focus upon?...AND…

What SHOULD your GOAL be?

Your GOAL for your team, organization, and entire enterprise should be the achievement of what we call “Viral Accountability®”.

“What’s Viral Accountability®? you ask.

Great question.

Here’s the definition: Viral Accountability® is an environment where team member ownership, proactive actions, and positive interactions spontaneously generate continually improving outcomes.

Consider the tremendous behaviors and attitudes identified in that definition- ownership, proactive actions, positive interactions, and spontaneous generation

I’ll be diving into HOW to achieve Viral Accountability® in a future episode of REPSradio.com. For now, consider this:

How would such team member attitudes and attributes serve day-to-day functioning within your organization?

As you continue along with me in this journey, and implement what we’re talking about, you’ll be light years ahead of your competition. You’ll also no longer be duped or enticed by those sirens of performance improvement- ever lurking to draw you off course or stop you dead in the water.

For now, though, I want to give you four simple steps as a STOP GAP to eliminate your potential for doing the performance improvement half-somersault.

I’m also giving you a downloadable tool to use with each one. Again, these tools are available for your immediate download and use by going to REPSradio.com.

Here are the 4 Steps-

If you’re in a place where you’re able, you should write these down. If not- download the transcript of this Episode for your reference available at REPSradio.com.

STEP 1: Think Backward

Before you do anything, OR if you’re already doing things (which is more likely), BEFORE you take another step, identify and quantify your desired RESULTS. Yes- these will likely be numbers, metrics, and KPIs.

THEN…think BACKWARD.

Do a mental exercise-

Consider you have already achieved your desired metrics and milestones for the next year, then look back and ask…

1. FIRST (and most important)- WHY was this IMPORTANT to me?

2. What BEHAVIORS had to exist to get here?

3. What CHALLENGES were overcome?

4. What OPPORTUNITIES were seized?

5. What STRENGTHS were leveraged?

We have a tool designed to guide you through this process. If you’re a veteran listener of REPSradio.com, you’re already familiar with it. It’s called the Transformation Conversation. Download it…and USE it.

STEP 2: Know Your Costs

Face it- most performance improvement professionals are idealistic. I know…I certainly am. We can often see, feel, and even ‘taste’ what needs to be done.

We get upset when the “number crunchers” get in our way. However, the world, and certainly your organization, runs on money (even if it’s a non-profit). It’s the fuel. It MUST be considered.

So- to provide juice and motivation that will speak the language of virtually any board or senior executive, you need to discover and communicate HOW MUCH human error is currently costing your organization.

Whether your primary focus is Reliability, Efficiency, Productivity, or Safety, or you use a term such as Quality, Human Performance, or Risk Management…

Whether you’re looking at the big picture as a senior executive, are in Human Resources, a performance improvement practitioner, or a frontline supervisor, human error, in some form, lies at the root of virtually every challenge you face.

Until now, it’s been difficult to make a business decision to invest time, energy, and resources into something as abstract as “human error reduction.” After all, how can you place a dollar value on things that haven’t happened?

No longer.

There is now on online Cost of Error Calculator you can access free of charge.

You can input YOUR current numbers. Within a few minutes, you will see precisely how many dollars are being stolen from your ‘bottom line’ due to the inefficiencies and setups of your current systems and processes, combined with the realities of human fallibility.

Once you have this information, you can then anticipate a percentage error reduction through PROPER implementation, and the calculator will instantly reveal your return on investment.

Talk about making it easier to make your case! Whether it’s board member, CEO, COO, CFO, or Facility Manager, we’re now speaking Decision Maker language!

The Calculator is provided with a downloadable User Guide, which provides details of how to use it, as well as underlying references regarding how each of the fields are calculated.

Again, you can access the calculator using the link under “Resources for Episode 5” at REPSradio.com.

STEP 3: Focus on the TRUE Goal

Remember- your GOAL is NOT your results. Your GOAL is to achieve the behaviors and interactions within your organization…amongst your team members, that generate the results. We call it Viral Accountability®.

Download the “The WAY” infographic to see WHY this is the key.

And finally…

STEP 4: Adopt a “One Team” Approach

Most organizations remain fractured in their attempts to improve performance.

Think about it- if you’re part of a large organization, you likely have Quality folks, Safety folks…people working to improve productivity and lower costs…human resources…each with their own agendas- agendas often generating conflict (or at least perceived conflict) within your overall efforts.

What if there was a way to approach things such that everyone worked together with common goals…in a manner that synergizes efforts (rather than creating silos and conflicts)? And what if this commonality could be spontaneously generated- from among those doing the work, rather than an ‘edict’ from ‘on high’?

There is.

And it’s all detailed in an easy-to-read report titled: REPS: Next-Generation Performance Improvement. Simply use the link at REPSradio.com.

Download it.

Read it.

Do so, and you’ll be amazed at how simple the solution can be.

By the way…the solution evolves within “the C Word”. It’ll become obvious what I mean when you read the Report.

So- that’s it for now. Before I close, however, I want to make you aware of a CONTEST we’re running for the next two weeks especially for you- our listeners. We are offering, courtesy of the Practicing Perfection Institute, two fully paid scholarships to the 2017 Practicing Perfection Certification Course, each of which has a value of $4,500.

This is the finest performance improvement training on the planet- truly Next Generation! I will be there personally, teaching a good chunk of the course myself.

To enter yourself to win, simply go to repsradiocontest.com, that’s repsradiocontest.com.

If you want to know more about NEXTGEN Performance Improvement Certification, go to ppiweb.com, and look under HU Academy.

***

This episode has been brought to you by the Practicing Perfection Institute, (more affectionately known as PPI) home of the systematic Next Generation approach to sustainable performance improvement known as Practicing Perfection®. PPI has been gracious enough to offer (2) fully paid Certification scholarships to REPSradio listeners. Go to repsradiocontest.com and enter today!

***

That’s it for this Episode.

It is my fond desire for you to avoid the half somersault! I don’t want you to get hurt. AND…I want you and your organization to be tremendously successful!

Grab the tools and follow the 4 Steps I outlined.

As our announcer, Jeff Pike, says in the intro to each of these Episodes- “this is NOT your grandfather’s performance improvement!”

Next-level performance demands a next-generation approach.

It’s time to get real.

Those who do so will command the future!

Until next time,

Arrivederci!

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