Don't Stop Breathing: that is what I think every time I hear a company leader say, "I think we are going to have to take a few weeks off from training during our busy season!" I am amazed because it could be the same leader who a month or a year before had made this statement, "It is exciting to see the team communicating and working together to solve problems, drive out waste, create a plan, or a multitude of other benefits from the weekly discipline of meeting to focus on Working Smarter.
Stopping for a few weeks can be similar to eating late night ice cream again after a successful weight loss program, or only smoking a cigarette with the boys after quitting the habit for several months. It is getting back into a comfort zone.
It has been my observation through the years that it is not that people are actually too busy to train. Just ask anyone in the company; of course there is an hour we can commit to training. It is going back to a place where we are comfortable when the stress of being busy hits. Much like lighting up or eating happens when stress hits. It is at this point where the right decision can actually create the new comfort zone. If you don't start back on the ice cream when the urge hits or bum a cigarette when you are out with the boys, then you have created a new, more positive mental picture for yourself and you will stay on track with whatever improvement you were making. The same is true in the discipline to train: if you do not allow the stress of being busy to push you back into the behavior that you are more comfortable with, in this case . . . running and trying to get work done, without the tools of communication and training, then you have broken through a barrier and created a new picture for yourself and your team.
DON'T STOP TRAINING . . . Keep communicating. Use the meetings to address the issues that may be causing you to fall behind in a schedule or completing a task or shipment on time. Just like life itself depends on taking that next breath, the success of any organization depends on communicating and continuing to WORK SMARTER.
GO GET EM, JIM
Originally published by Jim Paluch in Better Practices Newsletter dated May 5, 2008