Waste not, want not...

The 8th waste of Lean is considered to be underutilization of (personnel) resources or sub-optimization.  An underutilized employee is not challenged by their duties and hence not working up
to their full potential. This does not mean that the employee is unhappy or not doing good work but rather that in an optimal situation, the company could get more value out of the work that the
employee is producing. Conversely, the fully utilized employee  is more engaged,  more fulfilled, contributes more and has greater opportunities for advancement.

I have been fortunate to recently work for a company that believes in developing their employees and promoting from within. I joined the company after being out of the field for over a decade
and had to take a position several levels below what would might be expected based on my education and previous experience. Consequently, I entered the company as an underutilized
employee.   Thinking of how to fight the 8th waste and avoid becoming a statistic, I developed a 3 year plan that incorporated the following:

1.        Professional certifications
           •        learn more about a new industry
           •        validate my existing skills
2.        Volunteerism
           •        Used some of my existing skills that I didn’t utilize in my day to day activities
           •        Learned more about the company and its processes
           •        Increased my visibility
3.        Company training
           •        Took classes that would make me better perform my day to day duties
           •        Identified those classes that everyone in leadership role had taken and signed up
4.        Attend professional conferences
           •        Add to ways I could positively impact the company
           •        Add to overall my knowledge and skill base
           •        Network
           •        Find professional mentors and sources of information outside of your company

So as you start a new year, I encourage anyone reading this to plan to become actively engaged in both your company and your career this year. Reach out to others both inside and outside of
your company. Those doing what you do, and those doing what you want to do in the future.  Find out what type of training your company offers. Find out if they will purchase a membership in a
professional organization or send you to professional conferences (often if you are an organization member and volunteer for a few hours, you can attend conferences for free). If your
company doesn’t have a formal training and advancement path, then develop your own, using some of the ideas that I have mentioned above and sit down with both human resources and your
manager to discuss creating a path for your career advancement.  Yes, this is a lot of work. What did all of this time and effort do for me, you might ask?

Well, after 2-1/2 years, I had received one promotion and two substantial merit increases,  that had doubled both my initial salary as well as my initial amount of vacation time. I was also being
considered for another promotion at that time.  I do so love it when a plan comes together…

   OFTR January 2013

Even if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck..

We have a wonderfully efficient lady named Dianna that handles HR, mans our phones and does a host of other things for our site. We also have an outdated phone system that sometimes
behaves in a quirky and irksome manner.  Bear in mind also as I share my tale of woe, that I hadn’t  yet had my first cup of coffee for the day, when it took place. Now, thus begins our story..

Recently,  I needed to call a colleague in another state and after dialing the number, a familiar voice answered the phone and said ‘thank you for calling Tech Group this is Diana’. Hmmm. ‘Sorry
Dianna, I dialed you by accident’.  I checked the number, made sure I hit the button and got a dial tone for an outside line and dialed again.  It was then that the weirdness began…

Diana: “Thank you for calling Tech Group, this is Diana.”
Myself: “Diana, I am sorry to bother you. I don’t know why I keep getting sent over to you. “
Diana: “Well who are you trying to call? “
Myself: “I am trying to call a colleague at Tech Group Michigan. “
Diana: “This IS the Tech Group. “
Myself: “I know that Diana. This is Lance trying to dial out. “
Diana: “Did you dial “9” to get an outside line? “
Myself: “Never had to do that before – just select a line, then dial ‘1’ the area code and the number. “
Diana: “And you say you are here in the building? “
Myself: “Yes, I am back here in my office.  “
Diana: “And who is this again? Do you work here? “
Myself: “Yes, this is Lance Coleman. I am trying to dial a colleague at the Michigan site. “
Diana: “This IS Tech Group Michigan!”

Then came the “light bulb” moment.  I had indeed reached the Michigan site, and against all odds, the person that answered their phone was also named Dianna, and sounded a lot like our
Dianna over the phone. My initial shock and confusion, along with her first assertion, that I had indeed reached Tech Group (not Tech Group Michigan) had sent me down this “who’s on first?”
The moral of the story – no matter how sure you are of your facts, always confirm, be clear in your questions and carefully evaluate all answers received. And above all, NEVER ASSUME. It
makes clear communications difficult.

   OFTR November 2012
          Catalysts for transformative change

6507 S. Hardy Dr, Suite 280  ♦  Tempe, AZ 85283  ♦ 480-677-5009  ♦ lance@fullmoonconsulting.net