Archive for November, 2011

The Power of the Routine Task

Posted on: November 27th, 2011 by admin 2 Comments

One of the most important concepts we have seen in any environment where we need to get things done is the POWER OF THE ROUTINE TASK. Basically, we make any work that needs to be accomplished part of a routine, say, in the morning, when we begin our workaday activities.

Some of these tasks are items we do every day. Some of them we only do for two weeks or even less time. The point is that they get done because we set aside a few minutes a day to work on them. This approach is a rational alternative to the unacceptable “I didn’t have time to do it.” Of course, the power of the routine task requires a smidgen of planning in order to be effective, but effective it is.

I wrote my first book in 30 days using this approach. Every day, I set myself a specific number of pages and graphics that needed to be completed that day. I held to his approach and I was able to generate 17 pages a day! And I still performed all my functions at the day job!!!

So, how do you start?
1. List things that need to get done that somehow seem to be falling through the cracks.
2. Plan out some time slices in which to perform micromovements that will lead to completion of the task
3. Make sure you set aside time before you get started on other projects for the day.
4. Review your results EVERY DAY, preferably with somebody else.
5. Use a tickler file or other reminder method to see to it that the jobs are completed on schedule.
6. Celebrate your success

We have used this approach, so we know it works…

Training thoughts

Posted on: November 13th, 2011 by admin No Comments

Are you tired of training that is mostly blather from the speaker/teacher/trainer? We use techniques that eliminate this issue. For example, we are fond of “training games” that allow our clients to get some person-to-person and hands on activity. We also ask you to work examples of the kind of material we are training on; for example, if we are presenting material about the work breakdown structure, you can guess that we will have a class activity that includes the creation of a work breakdown structure. In some cases, of course, we have to build documents in the small due to time constraints, but every client should come away with some kind of example of how the document or task is performed! Training is not about the trainer–it is about the trainee and we want to keep our focus on the people receiving the benefit.
We have also found that after-the-training-event follow up is important also, particularly if we want to keep retention of the material covered. A good way to do this is to ask for some kind of reflective practice, which is sometimes as simple as asking for what the trainee learned. Research suggests that reflective practice is one of the simplest methods for getting people to recall the material.

Measurement and assumptions

Posted on: November 6th, 2011 by admin No Comments

Most of us know that the “M” in the Six Sigma DMAIC acronym refers directly to the measurement and indirectly to the measurement system. Sometimes, it almost seems as if we have faith in measurement because it seems to be an objective activity as opposed to one based on opinion. However, measurement systems can produce their own distortions. For example, what does an IQ test measure? The best answer I have been able to come up with is that it measures your ability to take an IQ test. Does it measure the mythical intelligence value of “g” or does it measure largely nothing?
Furthermore, we might question the probability distribution function which, in this case, is nearly always a normal distribution. Is the PDF an artifact of the measurement system or does it truly represent what is going on in intelligence metrics? We already know that most continuous distribution functions are actually estimates for discrete distributions.
The point here is that it is certainly wise to avoid blithely assuming that we know what we are talking about when we measure a variable, particularly when that variable is not well understood (“g”). Positing hypothetical explanations that cannot be falsified violates Popper’s criterion for the advance of science.
The name of the game is “tread carefully.”

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