Monday, September 3, 2012

Efficiency vs. Change - 11 year old's perspective

When my daughter explained to me her system for knowing who's turn it was to empty which section of the dishwasher. What this turned into was an interesting discussion and lesson on efficiency vs. change. If you are into leadership, management, or are interested in encouraging change, then I encourage you to read on.

The scenario: My two oldest daughters switch back and forth between emptying top and bottom of the dishwasher. They sometimes forget and then argue over who has top and who has bottom. My oldest daughter was so proud to explain to me a system that they had devised to tell who had top and who had bottom.

The system:
The system they came up with was to use two double sided magnets that designated whose turn it was. I know this sounds trivial but pay attention to the complexity of the system they came up with. Each double sided magnet has a red side and a blue side (Red = Adriana, Blue = Briana). Each double sided magnet can stick either the blue side or the the red side to the hinges of a cabinet. They chose two cabinets, one containing glasses (representing the top side of the dishwasher) and one containing plates and bowls (representing the bottom of the dishwasher). When switching the magnets they actually carry one double sided magnet (blue side down) from the plates cabinet across the kitchen and physically switch it with the other magnet (red side down) stuck to the bowls cabinet, and then carry the magnet

The lessons:
I am amazed that my daughters could not see how they did not have to use two cabinets to determine whose turn it was, but rather just flip the magnet. In response to my suggestion, my daughter said, "Some people don't like change, so we we are going to keep it the way we have it."

Ways to institute change:
I asked my daughter to come up with ways we could encourage people to want to change and she came up with the following list.
1. Before you release the method, have a conference and discuss it and give people a heads up and discuss their opinions.
2. Discuss how this new method is going to work.
3. We could give people FREE instructions that tell people how to change.
4. Start doing it.
5. After a week, Take a vote on whether we want to keep it or not.
6. If it was at work, we could pay the people involved more so that they want to change.