We all know about the cost savings generated when we eliminate waste from manufacturing processes. How many of us consider the savings available when we address another source of waste: the waste that occurs in our workplace interactions?
This scale of this waste is substantial — and often invisible. Miscommunication results in errors and rework. People move mountains in response to a leader’s “directive” only to find that the leader meant it as an offhand comment. When people are afraid to speak up, they fail to make problems visible, allowing those problems to drag down performance and create a fire-fighting environment rather than an environment in which root causes are addressed. Meetings include the wrong people for the work at hand. Or a meeting is missing critical people, and precious time is lost in updating them during the next meeting. Decisions drag on when people are unwilling to address the “real” issue in the room, or when they agree just to agree and then fail to execute that agreement.