News for the Hospitality Executive
Plan your work. Then work your plan.
|by Jim Hartigan
July 18, 2011
Welcome to part three of the O3 trilogy! If you’ve followed along in parts one and two, I’m sure you’re anxious to learn about the final two steps in the O3 problem solving cycle…at least until the process begins again.
If you missed parts one and two, here is a brief recap.
Overview: O3’s seven-step approach to solving business problems, founded on Deming’s PDCA cycle, is designed to equip high-potential employees with the critical thinking skills necessary to truly solve problems. This is done by capitalizing on the learning opportunity present in the problem solving process. At the heart of O3 is a one-page visual (drawing, charts, graphs, words, etc.) depicting the seven-step problem solving process. Throughout the process, key business problems are explored, investigated, and ultimately solved.
In the first two parts of our series we discussed the first five steps in the seven step O3 Problem Solving process.
In the final segment to our series, we’ll bring it all home with a look at steps six and seven – your Plan and Follow-up.
Planning is the creation of a blueprint or roadmap for all organizations. When done by work teams, plans become an agreement or contract between teams and individuals as to what will be completed, by whom and by when. At its simplest form, the Plan is the “Who will do What When” document. Plans can take fancy shapes and sizes like Gantt charts, or they can be as simple as three columns – Who, What, and By When – a responsible party, an action, and a deadline. For each “Who”, you must define the “What” (to make absolutely clear the actions to be accomplished) and the “When” (to leave no doubt or expectation for completion to chance). If the work team creates the Plan you’ll gain maximum buy-in on the tasks and have the chance to gather feedback about the timeline. Remember, no task is complete or measurable without a target completion date (read: deadline). The Plan becomes a roadmap from the Current Condition (step 2) to the Goal/Target state (step 3).
The Follow-up step is one of the most important, as its sole aspiration is to evaluate the effectiveness of countermeasures and memorialize lessons learned. After implementing the Plan – what happened? By what measures can you determine how the plan worked? Have the Current Conditions changed? Has the Goal/Target state been achieved? Maybe most importantly, what unintended consequences have been encountered by the implementation of the plan? As we’ve noted, the Countermeasure step may very well cause a new problem. Recognizing this fact and moving your organization from a “mistakes = failures” mentality to a “discovered mistakes = opportunity to learn” mentality is the key to developing a true appreciation for continual improvement.
So there you have it. A straightforward seven step process that will help you and your hotel team stop jumping to conclusions and inefficient “quick-fix” actions and embrace root-cause focused countermeasures developed by work teams in the trenches with accountability, responsibility, and authority to make change and deadlines to do so. Drop us a note and tell us what you think of the O3 Problem Solving Process or if you’d like more information about how to implement the O3 Problem Solving Process with your organization by clicking here. Until next time, remember – take care of the customer, take care of each other, take care of yourself.
About the Author:
Jim Hartigan, Chief Business Development Officer and Partner joined OrgWide Services, a Training/e-Learning, Communications, Surveys and Consulting firm in April 2010 after nearly 30 years experience in the hospitality industry, including the last 18 as a senior executive with Hilton Worldwide. Jim’s last position was that of Senior Vice President – Global Brand Services where he provided strategic leadership and business development and support to the $22B enterprise of 10 brands and more than 3,400 hotels in 80 countries around the world. His team was responsible for ensuring excellence in system product quality, customer satisfaction, market research, brand management, media planning, and sustainability.
Chief Business Development Officer & Partner
165 N. Main Street, Suite 202
Collierville, TN 38017
office: 901.850.8190 Ext. 230
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