All you gotta do is ask

May 5, 2005
Most American companies today are pursuing Lean or Lean Six Sigma but few understand the critical other part: getting people involved.

Hearing what employees have to say makes their work easier, more interesting, and lets them build skills and capabilities through their own creative ideas. "Without empowering workers to participate in creative problem solving you will never be able to sustain improvement activities," says Norman Bodek, coauthor of the book All You Gotta Do is Ask. "How can you attain Six Sigma or zero defects unless everyone is part of the process?"

All You Gotta Do Is Ask explains how to promote a large number of ideas from your employees, something most organizations do poorly, if at all. The people who manage such organizations are either unaware of the power of employee ideas, or they don't know how to tap it. The book shows why it is important to have a good idea system, how to set one up, and what it can do for you, your employees, and your organization. You will become a much more effective manager as a result. People will be happier, you will be less stressed, and your unit's performance will rise to levels you could not have come close to in any other way.

The program is already working in several companies. ArvinMeritor, an automobile parts supplier, for example, says it received 21 ideas in writing from the average employee and saved $4,285/employee. Subaru received 108 ideas/employee and saved over $5,000/employee. This simple process is dynamically changing the workplace. Instead of people always waiting to be told what to do, they are now beginning to lead the improvement process.

All You Gotta Do Is Ask is written by Chuck Yorke and Norman Bodek and can be bought from PCS Press, pcspress.com.

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