Intervention shows how small errors in business processes can escalate into major performance problems. It illustrates the need for expedient and coordinated change activity to address these errors.
- Show how small errors in business processes can escalate into major performance problems
- Illustrates the need for expedient and coordinated change activity to address these errors.
MetaskillsEmpowerment Planning Ownership Continuous Improvement Innovation
Participants work in a group of between 4 and 10. The activity consists of 4 rounds, each lasting approximately 10 minutes. In each round, the group see a board of red and white tiles that must be progressively covered by players placing jigsaw pieces in turn. The aim is to cover as many of the white tiles as possible with as little error and wastage as can be managed. The total area of the jigsaw pieces is 100 tiles, equal to the number of white tiles, so great care must be exercised in choosing where each piece is placed. Inevitably there will be an ‘overspill’ of jigsaw pieces onto the penalty area that surrounds the board. Each white tile covered is +1 point. Each red tile covered, white tile uncovered or piece not placed is -1 point. This gives a cumulative error that rapidly and negatively affects the performance of the group.
Between rounds two and three there is a ten-minute ‘intervention’ period during which the group is asked to devise and commit to changes in their method of operation which will deliver performance improvements. Participants recognise the rapidly mounting cumulative error and the need to decide on a set of ground rules for the remaining rounds. The rules set out by the facilitator at the beginning of the task may be challenged and a business case put forward, however not all rules can be set aside. Once they have selected a new set of ground rules using the in-game functionality, this change agenda becomes the operating norm for the following two rounds.
The review of the exercise should be focused on the way in which minor errors escalate into poor overall performance and the way in which a clear and agreed set of process guidelines helps to reduce these errors. This can be illustrated by a rough graph of the cumulative error across the four rounds, showing a steeply climbing trend for the first two rounds and a downward deflection after round two. The extent of this deflection is an indication of the effectiveness of their ground rules in delivering performance improvement through change. At this point there is a direct path back to the participants’ workplace situation and the transferable learning may be clearly defined.
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