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You Get What You Inspect

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Today, guest blogger Curtiss Quirin explains that a key secret to improvement in business is not high expectations, but the process of actively checking for yourself.

Here’s what this seasoned business professional has to say on the topic:

I learned a long time ago, you don’t get what you expect, you get what you inspect. This concept is very simple to grasp, but very difficult to implement and sustain. Inspection requires not only the creation of a standard, but also the discipline to observe and audit on a regular basis. If done correctly it will help to create constancy of purpose and the development of a work culture.

How many times have you personally or your company started a new initiative (sometimes with great fanfare), only to see it slip away over time. This generally occurs because the expectation was created, but no follow up was established. This confuses your work force and makes people skeptical of any future changes. That is why before any new initiatives are started, you, as the leader, must decide what is important and be prepared to stay the course. The goal is to set a standard and change behavior.

The following are the key steps required to get started:

  • Pick something Important
  • Involve your People
  • Establish Measurable requirements
  • Make it Visible
  • Set up an Audit frequency
  • Have the Discipline to stay the course

People will do what is important to them and what they perceive is important to you, but if you ask an employee to do something and never come around to check to see how it is going or whether it was even done, you are sending a very confusing message. So before you begin a new initiative, develop your plan on how you will audit the activity.

Inspection Procedure

© Flickr user Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Is Curtiss right? Absolutely! We’ve covered some of these topics here on The Methodology Blog before. To quote ourselves on the question of measurement:

Start by sharing your goals. Are you trying to increase revenue? Reduce turnover? Have happier employees? Whatever you want to accomplish, include other stakeholders as you come to a decision. That way, they will see the “why” behind your objectives.

Measure what matters, not what’s easily measured. It’s easy to look at the total number of emails you send per day, or the total sales volume. What’s harder to measure is customer satisfaction or brand awareness. But these may be more important, and if so, you need to find a way to measure them.

Decouple measurement from individual rewards. It can be helpful for everyone in the organization to know they benefit when goals are met. However, many business consultants know that direct incentives can often backfire. Let people know that measurement is about insight, not about trying to get people to do more with less.

Curtiss QuirinThanks Curtiss, for reminding us about the importance of inspection. Now, back to follow the process we committed to doing!

Curtiss Quirin is the Chief Operating Officer of Easter Seals Crossroads Industrial Services. He is a highly motivated leader with years of experience in identifying opportunities for growth and building bottom line results. His emphasis on developing strong relationships with clients as well as external manufacturing partners is a valued business philosophy that resonates throughout the Crossroads organization. With a broad business background in directing a variety of operations on an international scale, Curtiss is an authority on positively managing safety, quality, productivity and inventory while helping clients to reduce lead time and boost revenue. He applies his Six Sigma lean manufacturing knowledge and focus on operational excellence to improve processes and reach target objectives that create growth for both Crossroads and its customers.

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