Recently, my wife’s friend paid a visit to our house. It’s no secret that she and I have our challenges, and this time was no different. But what started as annoyance turned into new insights that relate to Visual Management.
On sprinkles and logic
Here’s what happened. After my wife’s friend left, I had lunch with my family, and my five-year-old went to get the chocolate sprinkles from the cabinet. When she opened it, the spot where we usually keep them was empty. That seemed mysterious to say the least, as we organize all food products and kitchenware according to a system. For example, each shelf contains products that go together, and we make sure the stuff my daughter needs is placed at her height. It took some searching before we concluded my wife’s friend had put the sprinkles somewhere else.
Truth be told, I was annoyed. Not because we don’t get along, but because she messed up our well thought-out system. “It’s rude and illogical,” I said. But then my wife reminded me there are different kinds of logic, and one is not necessarily better than the other. Her friend had simply thought it made more sense to store the sprinkles in the first available space. I had to admit that was not a completely irrational choice.
Make sure you’re clear and on the same page!
The thing is, information should be organized in a logical way. But not everyone has the same mindset. If I want people to adhere to a system I find logical, I’ll have to ensure they understand it right away. If I had clearly labeled the shelves or hung up an overview, my wife’s friend would have known where to put the sprinkles.
The same goes for the work floor. One glance at a communication board should tell employees everything they need to know. If you convey information in an unambiguous, visual way, people can act on it.
On top of that, you should make sure all team members are on the same page. As my story shows, different people have different perspectives. So, it’s important to discuss which data employees require before you devise your information sharing strategy!
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