Lonnie was working hard to change the way his team responded to problems on the manufacturing floor.
“I keep telling them that we need to be proactive,” he said. Lonnie wasn’t defensive, but you could tell he wasn’t having any fun.
“So, tell me what happens?” I asked.
Lonnie shook his head. “It’s just day after day. The problems jump up. You know, it’s not like we don’t have a clue. We know what problems customers are going to have. Heck, we even know which customers are going to call us. We just don’t ever get ahead of the curve.”
“Lonnie, being reactive is easy. It doesn’t require any advance thinking, or planning, or anticipating. Being reactive just happens. Being proactive, however, requires an enormous amount of conscious thinking. It doesn’t just happen. You have to make it happen. You have to make it happen by design. At the beginning of the day, I want you to gather your team together. Show them a list of the work you are doing for the day and for which customers. Then ask these two questions.
- What could go wrong today?
- What can we do to prevent that from going wrong?
Lonnie smiled. “That’s it?” he asked.