Rapid Results: A tool for solving issues and motivating employees

process optimization

By Eric Johnson (EJ)

Rapid Results events are fast paced change elements that when done correctly, they can reinforce your organization's commitment to change and improvement.

1. Have a clear challenge that is impactful and measurable

Throughout many of the Rapid Results events we have facilitated over the years, one of the greatest challenges to a successful event centers on preventing the inadequacy of the challenge statement. Because the challenge statement guides all subsequent activities, a statement that is too vague or unachievable can cascade an event into a flurry of inefficient activities, unclear objectives, and disagreements. This ultimately results in missed opportunities and a resistance for future change initiatives by the participants - which can spread throughout the organization.

However, when developed correctly and succinctly, the challenge statement empowers employees with ownership and ultimately optimism, which are critical tools in effecting change. Why is this so? Because employees are already struggling within their current roles with workarounds - those activities that are done to “work around” inherent or unrecognized challenges within organizationally-designated processes. Thus, if the challenge statement leads to activities that do not lead to solutions, then those activities become workarounds in themselves.

So how does a leader develop an effective challenge statement? First – be honest with the issues at hand. This will involve a hard look at the group’s weaknesses and problem areas. Next, ensure that the problem does not involve solutions that are outside of the control of the participants - this only leads to frustration. Lastly, ensure that the challenge statement has the ability to be measured between initial development and expected outcome. This provides closure to the participants and a sense of accomplishment to what was completed.

2. Allocate time for employees to complete their assigned activities

An oft-heard complaint from participants is the amount of time involved in completing assigned tasks. And indeed, the swiftness of the 3-day workshop can create some activities that require more time than initially anticipated. As a manager, the best way to mitigate this is to discuss with employees an estimate of time requirements and provide tools and assistance in allocating work to other employees and support staff. By acknowledging this upfront, it send a clear message that the level of effort is fully understood by management and that the work being done is important enough to supersede current projects in motion. Employees will appreciate the attention to their efforts and will have better ability to manage their time at the task level. Most importantly, time allocation is the foundation for project updates and reducing the “snowball” effect of cross-department issues.

Commitment to a Rapid Results event is an investment in the sustainability of those aspects of the business that matter the most to the two most important stakeholders – employees and customers. By ensuring that the problem being addressed is “doable” and that time is allocated to completion, managers set the tone that inspires employees to take ownership over their work environment and ultimately empowers an acceptance of change as a fundamental competitive advantage.