The statistic is frightening. 40% of employee’s time is gobbled up by recurring problems! These are the issues that never get solved, the copier that never works, the supply closet item that is always out of stock, the messages that are never delivered, equipment malfunctions. If you conducted a meeting just to determine what recurring problems you have, would you have any doubt your people could provide you with an avalanche of issues?
If not, good for you.
For the rest of us, there’s a reason we have the placeholder What Did We Learn on the Quarterly Meeting agenda. It’s to prevent your team and your business from make one mistake a recurring event.
It’s one thing to make a mistake, it’s another to recognize it and discuss it. The big mistakes often get dramatized, over discussed, and thus aren’t likely to be repeated. We shouldn’t diminish those or the importance of including them in the quarterly meeting. Too frequently it’s the little mistakes that we recognize during a month, or a quarter, that go undiscussed. The value we gain from recognizing them, realizing their impact on performance, and preventing them from recurring it’s critical to leveraging long-term improved performance. If 40% of your staff’s time is spent on recurring problems, doesn’t it make sense to begin recognizing and reducing them?
This question isn’t just for the executive team. It’s a question that can be cascaded down in department and team meetings. Put a stake in the ground each quarter and determine what you’ve learned. Write it down, distribute the notes and keep them somewhere so you have a record of it. If a policy needs to change make sure it gets changed to prevent recurring problems.
If your business is committed to becoming a learning, growing organization this is a good place to see how well you are doing. George Bernard Shaw said, “If history repeats itself, and the unexpected always happens, how incapable must Man be of learning from experience.”
Eliminating recurring issues will have an enormous impact on your business. Work will be more fun, free of the recurring frustrations. Your customers will notice because service will improve and the attitude of the people they engage with will be more positive as well. Is it time you included “What Did We Learn?” in your quarterly meetings?