This website covers knowledge management, personal effectiveness, theory of constraints, amongst other topics. Opinions expressed here are strictly those of the owner, Jack Vinson, and those of the commenters.

What? Good looks like this

Okay, I made a mistake, I admit it.  The CEO example is not a good one for real What Good Looks Like discussions. 

"What good looks like" (WGLL) is a way to add meat to the idea of some recommended change.  It gives the people intimately involved a picture of how things should be.  The picture needs to be clear enough that a person could go out into the shop / office / store and actually see the image we've defined. 

Let me give some examples to clarify. These focus on a physical production environment.

  • "[The constraint] is doing work only the constraint can do." This one may be obvious, but when stated this way, the team working at the constraint came up with a large number of activities they do that other people could do.  And the people who don't work at the constraint started to offer to do things.
  • "Paperwork is available before the start of a batch."  This is a picture for the team that generates the work orders and shop floor paperwork.  When they delay the paperwork, an order cannot be started, and this delays the entire chain of work.
  • "Equipment is prepared and staged for the constraint."  In other words, the constraint shouldn't have to wait for a pump to process an order.

The specific image of WGLL aligns with the larger strategy, as there are obviously many ways to reach a goal.  For instance, "grow sales" is a fairly generic goal that could be realized many, many different ways.  The specifics of how this will be attained are part of a strategy.  For the sales person, the production manager and the shop keeper, they need to be able to visualize what this means for them.  The sales person, for example, will want to be sure she is taking orders that the plant can deliver in the promised time.  This means her orders have to be in-line with the production load at the plant. 

Now, back to measurement.  The example of the CEO in the previous post was arguably not a good behavior for the CEO.  If the team devised What Good Looks Like in relation to the larger goals, then the measures should align exactly with the WGLL.

By the way, this concept of visualizing the change isn't new.  I've heard versions of it for years, from "what's the best possible result" to "what will people say at your eulogy."  I also think it isvvery much related to Goldratt's thinking about internal changes, usually related to new software implementations.  He has said,

Technology is beneficial if and only if it diminishes a limitation.

I extend this to include any change effort.  This generates several questions about making the change that help make the decision and help make the change happen:

  1. What is the power of the technology (change)?

  2. What is/are the limitation(s) being overcome?

  3. What old rules were followed because of the limitation?

  4. What rules need to be followed now (as a result of the change)? 

Questions 3 and 4 are strongly related to the "what good looks like" idea.  This is where projects can succeed or fail: the description of what really needs to happen behind the scenes of the big change.  And the use of WGLL is a nice mnemonic that helps describe how life should be.  Explicitly getting these into the discussion also helps the next time there is a change, when the new rules need to be eliminated/modified.


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