5-Meters 3-Seconds Rule
January 20, 2024
Process Improvement or Best Practice Implementation?
January 25, 2024
5-Meters 3-Seconds Rule
January 20, 2024
Process Improvement or Best Practice Implementation?
January 25, 2024
Show all

Geerten’s Favourite Workshop

two guys yelling at each other

One of the things I really (REALLY!) like about what we do, is the airplane game simulation. I get to play the owner of a fictitious company where continuous improvement practices are introduced; we’ve named the owner ‘Butch’. In the first round of the simulation, Butch is a traditionalist, a boorish, impatient, top-down, totally un-PC sort of guy. Butch’s mindset is that people are stupid or lazy. He’s an in-your-face bully, whose idea of improvement is to shout louder. I love picking a fight with the huge staunch tattooed guy in the audience to get the point across.

I always warn people upfront of what’s coming (“it’s only a bit of fun”) and wear a captain’s cap to show I’m role-playing, not to confuse the audience with my normal calm (ahem) persona. I get to use my acting skills and try to make the first round totally chaotic to demonstrate that people need to be engaged in the process of improvement and that poor leadership skills combined with poor work designs lead to abysmal performance on many fronts.

Butch is a combination of the bad management behaviours I have seen in my 30+ year career, and his over-the-top behaviour often fully engages the staunchest of shopfloor audiences. In the debrief of the first round, I always ask if anyone has ever worked for someone like Butch. The scary part is that more often than not the answer is Yes.

In subsequent rounds of the simulation, Butch becomes very supportive of the team, role-modelling the behaviour we want to see going forward. Ideas start to flow and the very unproductive and loss-making round 1 evolves in steps towards a very effective round 4, where the team achieve totally unexpected outcomes, high-fiving each other after giving their discretionary effort. Quality, waste elimination, throughput, and profit are through the roof.

About the author: Geerten Lengkeek is the Managing Director of Productivity People