Roundtable 3 – How do you check that you are engaging people?

Staatsrat by jonas k under Creative Commons Attribution, Noncommercial, Share Alike

[tweetmeme source=”leanisgood” service=”ow.ly” only_single=false]The ‘posters’ of the Lean Is Good blog have grown to four in number. Each of us brings a different background and set of experiences around Deming, lean, and learning. How could we leverage this diversity of thought and voice for the benefit of our readers? We ‘planned’ and came up with an idea that we could each briefly answer a question once a week. Today we ‘do’ it, and we will ‘check’ it after a couple weeks looking for a high rate of comments.   This is the third edition of the ’roundtable.’   The first two are here and here.   We will post a poll so that readers can interact when it is reasonable for the question asked. The order that the answers appear in will be randomized each time. Please join us by adding your comments. We would like to hear from you.

The question:

How do you ‘check’ that you are engaging people?

The answers:

Bryan (posts)

This is a very difficult one for me to describe and measure, however, in general it is very easy to tell if your people are engaged.  I liken it an NFL quarterback.  They have all kinds of tests for intelligence, speed, arm strength, height, release timing, etc but how can you measure what Joe Montana or Tom Brady (& hopefully Tony Romo) have?  You get in the huddle and the game with them!  Same as with your people.  You’ve got to get out there in the game of improvement with them in the gemba!  Its easy to tell but difficult to measure and put on a chart for corporate presentations!

I have tried many metrics with limited success.  The best was probably ideas implemented / employee.  However, this still did not tell the whole story and can’t be subbed for “feeling” the engagement by being on the line.

Scott (posts)

I think you need multiple touchpoints to ensure your message is being received
Tool Pro Con
Discussion Tone will convey level of engagement more than words May be difficult to reach broad audience
Survey Should get unbiased feedback not possible in discussion May not be able to get to key issues
Audit Gives indication of actions Need to focus on actions not results
Metrics Shows results. Absenteeism May reflect direct supervision instead of overall message

Bruce (posts)

I try to talk face to face with people as much as I can.

I can’t talk to everybody as frequently as I would like though.  So, I try to consider the quality of improvement work as a measure of engagement.  My theory is that the more people are engaged, the more ‘complete’  ideas and suggestions for improvement will be (whether they come through a formal suggestion system or not.)  I take people coming up with lists of problems as a sign of a low level of engagement.  I take suggestions that recommend fairly specific countermeasures as a sign of higher engagement.  When small groups or individuals work really thorough ‘plan phases’ autonomously I take it a sign that they are ‘in the game.’

Kim (posts)

I keep pretty close personal contact with anyone who I have teamed with. I prefer talking with people and seeing what they are doing. If they are engaged it shows in the conversation and their work area. If they are not this contact is the prefect time to probe a bit to see the issues that you might have missed or the new politics of the day. When working with autonomous maintenance groups if you do not keep this contact and encouragement to the teams you will lose them quickly. Any other less personal method does not work for me.

Those are our answers.  We would really like to here from you in the comments below.

Bruce

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3 Responses

  1. If they ask questions.

  2. […] How do you check that you are engaging people? by Bruce Baker – “I take suggestions that recommend fairly specific countermeasures as a sign of higher engagement. When small groups or individuals work really thorough ‘plan phases’ autonomously I take it a sign that they are ‘in the game.’” […]

  3. […] for Lean – Humility5S – Shadows Boards Are Bad and Reflection is GoodAnother Interesting Poka YokeRoundtable 3 – How do you check that you are engaging people?DownloadsCFO Magazine – Lean Health CareAmbiguous Visual Controls – Denver AirportAbout the […]

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