Thursday, June 27, 2013

Do you find this story familiar?

The hurriedly called meeting was almost over. The Chairman concluded, “This is a serious issue. Mr. Lee, let’s work out an action plan in next 4-5 days to produce 200 assemblies per day. And I don’t want any failure this time.”

Mr. Lee was wondering whether in the current setup it was at all possible to produce 200 assemblies per day. Not being sure whether he could answer the Chairman in 5 days, little did the poor chap know that he would be called by the boss on the third day itself. When he tried to convey that he was still on the job and it was to be completed in 4-5 days, the reaction was not unexpected, “My dear, our mindset is precisely the reason why our company is sinking. There is no sense of urgency. Don’t you understand how serious the matter is? You should have worked day and night and got back to me before I asked.”

Lee had no option but to listen to his boss’s admonishing. However, he was a very positive minded person and would not give up easily. He was already on the job; he got back to brass-tacks and, within the next 24 hours, came out with a detailed plan to achieve 150 assemblies per day to start with going up to 176 per day in next three months. Anything beyond that, he knew, was not possible. The Chairman was not in a mood to listen and said anything less than 200 was not acceptable, and he wanted a plan to achieve this number within the next two hours. Being under tremendous pressure, Lee went back to his drawing board and returned with a document which had no logical basis, no roadmap, no timeline, but did show the figure of 200 as desired by the boss. The Chairman was happy and remarked that he was a brilliant fellow and that he had very high expectations from him.

The next month, Lee put in his papers; the company which was producing 120-125 assemblies per day was down to producing a dismal 100-105.
Can you spot what went wrong and where?

This is just one of the many stories we do not want to talk about. Most of our action plans fail at the planning stage itself, because we ignore or misjudge the fundamentals.

Whenever you are making any improvement plan, whether it is a business plan, professional plan or personal plan, there are six steps involving some fundamental principles that ensure success or otherwise of your efforts.

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