As we approach the end of this year and look ahead to 2023, this might be an ideal time to gather the group together for a fresh and penetrating look at where the business has the biggest opportunities for getting more of the waste out.
Over the past year, you likely have studied the work in a number of areas and found and eliminated a substantial amount of waste.
Congratulations! And while bringing those results to the bottom line, you almost certainly got close enough to the work to identify even more waste and opportunities for the new year. As long as you are willing to roll up your sleeves and really learn about the work, the opportunities for improving the business will continue to grow larger and larger. The more you gain, the more possibilities you can see.
Now is an excellent time to gather up these insights, step back, and make sure you are focusing your efforts on the right thing.
Inventory the Opportunities
Where do you go for your inventory of next best ideas?
Many organizations make sure that they document their findings about additional waste as a regular part of their improvement efforts, and it is a good idea to make a habit of capturing the improvement opportunities that become visible when a team goes after an area of waste.
By maintaining an easily accessible repository for these newly visible opportunities, not only does the organization gain the benefit of these insights and observations, but it helps teams to avoid scope creep as well because each new opportunity is documented, but not added to the initial scope.
But in addition to collecting these insights, step back and do some Imagineering: what would the business look like if everything were right? When people start to answer this question in detail, some major areas of waste are bound to surface.
Ask your group what problems and challenges are delaying the organization from achieving the vision and mission.
What strategic challenges does the organization face? What changes to the business are necessary to ward off strategic threats and capture strategic opportunities?
How do these translate into specific problems to solve?
Go through your list of improvement possibilities and areas of waste you have identified so far.
Which ones further your most important objectives?
Which ones should we focus on when the New Year arrives in January?