Behavioural Wastes

All of us are aware about the 7 or 8 Wastes Lean suggests in the processes. Wastes are not the problems per se but are symptoms of the problems that exists in the processes. These wastes results in different types of losses again. Apart from these process wastes, we have another classification of waste which is generally ignored. They are termed as Behavioural Wastes.

Behavioural wastes results from those forms of behaviours that divert our focus, saps our energy, wastes our talent & resources away from people or organization. These wastes leave people in a frustrated state which will result in people losing the initiative to do anything. These wastes will make people stop using their brains and thus empowerment or engagement of employees will never happen.

Almost every behavioural or cultural issue in an organization, such as conflict, avoidance, aggressive or passive behaviour, is the result of dysfunctional behaviours. They can be identified and improved through attention to where people’s attitudes and thinking align.

Basically people’s attitudes can be classified into three types.

  1. Can-Do (powerful & in control)
  2. Can’t Do (helpless & out of control)
  3. Won’t Do (defensive & over control)

Behavioural wastes, in general, are caused by people who fall under the ‘can’t-do’ or ‘won’t-do’ category. These people find excuses for failure, they do not even make an attempt to face them let alone taking actions to eliminate them. Let us see the types of behavioural wastes that steals our productivity.

  1. Leadership-waste is the result from too much push-management (based on authority). In a Lean organization, the leader pulls knowledge from his colleagues by giving direction and empowerment, but leaves the creative part of the problem solving with his colleagues. The team members can use their experience and creativity to find solutions and share with their leader.
  2. Comfort-waste exists when targets aren’t stretching. Generally comfortable targets are set under the guise of "under-promise - over-perform". In a working environment, people in general are not really motivated to improve anything unless they are asked to or forced to. Setting stretched targets challenges the team to continually upgrade their capability, that in turn, improve their performance.
  3. Communication-waste is the result of misunderstandings which usually find their origin in Tier meetings. A clear breakdown of KPI (Result & Process KPIs separately) to set targets (Hoshin Kanri) and the use of Communication cells will structure the Tier meetings and therefore reduce this type of waste.
  4. Discipline-waste exists when people are not held accountable for the agreements made, which could range from being on time or following a "Standard Operating Sequence". A way to minimize this waste is to implement Kamishibai, a mini-audit system, in which every standard can be visualized, continuously checked and challenged. Delay Waste could be considered as a part of this waste. Respect for our time and other’s time is equally important. Not being punctual to a meeting or to work or to home (working late hours) are also considered as part of this waste.
  5. Goal-waste originates when employees have no idea of what is expected of them. While the top Management is well aware of the goals set as they do this, the value-adders are ignored about what is expected out of them. Cascading of KPIs (Results & Processes) and aligning them to a common goal is pivotal. A clear link between company KPI und Team KPI (Or Behavioural Indicators [BI]) should be made.
  6. Engagement-waste is the result of asking people to take responsibility for events or results which they cannot influence themselves. Empowerment does not mean delegating responsibilities without proper coaching, guide or authorities. This will only disengage people further.
  7. Solving-waste is the waste of capacity to solve problems when people work on solving problems without focusing on the root-cause of a problem. Attacking the symptoms and leaving out the cause will only hamper the situation further. Any problem, once resolved, if recurred, then it is a clear indication that the root cause analysis is not done in the right perspective. Involving the value-adders in structured problem solving using PDCA will be the right approach.
  8. Tuning-waste is the waste where people talk about different problems or solutions and comes from the mismatch between Performance, performance management and improvement activities. This waste can also be reduced by using Communication Cells.

As we all know, culture is termed as “collective habits”. Habits are driven by our actions which in turn are driven by our behaviours. Hence if one has to create a culture of Continuous improvement, it is to be ensured that none of the behavioural wastes is allowed to be imbibed. Daily Kaizen™ , precisely, addresses this. Practising Daily Kaizen™ will enable us keeping these behavioural wastes away.

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