Eliminating waste (non-value) in organizations has also been and will continue to be a relentless journey. One significant mindset, practice, and framework to conserve resources and eliminate waste was the Toyota Production System (TPS). It became the precursor to Lean efforts today. In TPS, seven ‘wastes’ were originally identified. But an eighth waste – human capability (non-utilized talent, skills, and knowledge) was added when the western world adopted TPS.
Unfortunately, too often this 8th waste (human capability) gets the least amount of time and attention when implementing and sustaining most, critical continuous improvement strategies. There’s great technical alignment and execution but average to poor adoption of culture change. The result is non-sustainable results, frustration, and sometimes more waste.
Take a moment and reflect on the following equation:
Below you will find my Waste of Human Capability Potential Assessment that is used with clients. Simply rate each question using the following scale where 1 = Little Waste; 2 = Some Waste; and 3 = Too Much Waste. Remember there is some ‘waste’ of human capability in ALL organizations.
- Communicate information then ensure its’ understanding ___
- Ask employees, “What do you think?” ___
- Respect and value others (opinions, experiences, backgrounds) ___
- Surface and respond to employees’ work related issues ___
- Handle internal conflicts in a healthy manner ___
- Collaborate - put diverse individuals/groups together to find new solutions to old problems ___
- Place employees where their skills and knowledge are best utilized ___
- Provide necessary resources (tools, technology, training, time) to ALL employees ___
- Involve employees doing the job in daily decision-making processes ___
- Empower employees to think and act like owners not renters ___
- Encourage employees to learn from each other ___
- Reinforce desired behaviors by both recognition and rewards ___
- Proactively address both performance and behavior issues ___
- Develop others (skills for current and future jobs) ___
- Draw valuable lessons from past mistakes and errors ___
- Capture best practices and lessons learned from people retiring or leaving ___
If you scored your organization a total of 16 points on the above assessment then congratulations, your organization is set up to maximize its’ workforce’s human capability potential. If your total score was higher than 16 points then there is potential waste of employees’ heads (creative ideas and problem-solving), hearts (commitment), hands (physical work), and habits.
Let’s talk turkey (frank, straightforward, and seriously) – How much human capability ‘waste’ (untapped potential) would be uncovered in your organization if every employee honestly answered - “Are we maximizing your potential contributions to the organization? Why or why not?”