Given that value-added work is “the work our customers would be willing to pay for if they knew what we were doing,” the core value- add of an organization’s leadership is to study and improve the system of work and to maximize the amount of work that is value-added.
By using the insights and information of people doing the work and knowledge about improvement tools and methods, a manager can improve the system of work so that everyone’s performance improves, more value is created, and the organization becomes stronger and more profitable.
Here are four ideas to increase the portion of resources that are directed at value adding activities:
- Work On The Bottlenecks – When we work on many things that have a small effect, we will have a small impact. The way to increase value most substantially is to work on the bottleneck, or constraint. If the bottleneck can be widened even just a little, it provides a pure increase in value.
- Increase Alignment With What Customers Truly Value – One of the biggest wastes is when the products or services we offer do not align perfectly with the customers’ needs and values. Errors are possible in two directions.
- Bundling a feature into the product or service that the customers do not really need or want.
- Overlooking ways we could leverage our capabilities to solve a problem that the customers may not even have articulated to themselves.
- Get At The Root Causes – Instead of working on problems and symptoms, drill-down to root causes so that lasting solutions can be found.
- Eliminate The Non Value Adding Administrative Work – A great deal of time in most organizations is spent on emails, meetings, and reports that do not produce additional value for the customers or the organization. By taking proactive steps such as reducing inbox clutter or introducing meeting effectiveness practices, an organization can reduce waste and quickly boost people’s capacity to perform more value-added work.
By tackling these four things — the bottleneck, understanding and alignment with what the customer really values, the root causes and the non-value adding administrative work — any organization should be able to greatly increase the value content of the work.