A recent visit to my GP showed me what sloppiness and indifference look like. When an expert displays such behavior, it can have serious consequences. That applies to all aspects of life and business — including Visual Management.
Who’s the expert again?
The other day, I went to see my general practitioner. I’ve had a bad cough for weeks, and given my long-term smoking habit I figured it’d be wise to get myself checked. Since the risk of COVID-19 is still taken very seriously in Germany, the doctor examined me through a window. He asked a few questions, pulled out his stethoscope, and gave me a recipe for antibiotics and a cough syrup.
I was slightly taken aback. “That’s all?” I said.
The doctor stared at me for a while before he replied, “You want to see a lung specialist?”
For a moment, I was at a loss for words. Yes, I wanted to see a lung specialist. If something’s wrong, I’d rather receive treatment sooner than later. But was it up to me to decide that? Didn’t I visit my GP so he could give me some expert advice?
When I tried to discuss the issue with him, he made it clear the choice was entirely mine. I mumbled something along the lines of, “Well, refer me to a specialist, then.”
Truth be told, I think he was being sloppy. How am I supposed to answer a question that requires expertise and experience in the medical field? Perhaps I’m worrying over nothing and we’re burdening the lung specialist for no reason. Or, I have good reason to be concerned, in which case my GP is being very irresponsible. I have no idea.
Help employees make well-informed decisions
When discussing Visual Management, we often bring up the importance of autonomy. In today’s workplace, employees should be allowed to make independent, real-time decisions. But, as my visit to the GP shows, we should be careful not to hurl them into self-management without ensuring they’re properly trained.
Decision-making comes with responsibilities. Remember, choosing one option always means you reject several others. So, you want employees to consistently make the right choices (at the right time). That requires knowledge. Therefore, we recommend that you regularly organize training and knowledge sharing sessions, focusing on data filtering, among other things — rather than paying attention to the information you receive (which is irrelevant), you need to ensure the data you share should be specific or replaced by other, actionable information. (And if you use a flexible Visual Management solution, it’s relatively easy to convey it in the right place using the right colors.) It’s crucial to invest in your people before you give them autonomy. Only then, you can trust that they know what they’re doing.
At Texas Digital, we provide the technology required for actionable, hands-on, real-time decision-making. We involve people on the work floor in our business workshopsto help you lay a solid foundation for your information sharing strategy. But it’s up to you to empower your employees with knowledge!
Want to explore your Visual Management opportunities? Please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re happy to perform a Quick Scan and discuss your information sharing strategy.