Behaviour through Reinforcement

I want to share with you the impact of long term recording and measurement of data when it comes to reinforcing result-producing behaviour from your teams.


So firstly, I quite often advocate that in the creation of visual management communication boards, data is recorded by hand. This makes the data more meaningful during the time that it is being collected, and more meaningful to the team. In real-time, they can collect and view relevant, updated data. The next step is to save the data, put it away somewhere for the longer term in the form of a spreadsheet or what have you.

By keeping and maintaining a record of data over the long term, say several years, we can actually see how processes evolve and improve over time. In addition, we are able to clearly demonstrate the reduction of defects. Linking back to what we were talking about previously in ‘Clarity in Processes’, that the measurement and recording of defects by teams over time, empower teams to identify the root cause of defects, thereby reducing them. It has a lot to do with quality checking, the standards worked to, and the training provided to teams. It’s not just simple defects that came from somewhere else. It is a long term journey for the metrics. Without data recorded over the long term to refer back to, it would be far more difficult to establish the changes to processes made that led to the improvement of processes. But, now with that information recorded, we can.

We should be looking at the way teams and supervision can work across the silos of a business to run processes, remove waste, shorten cycle times, manage the variation within their teams and improve every day. It’s really important that they do capture their data and push it upwards to the leadership and management within the business. The top-level quite often design and apply KPIs upon the processes the teams carry out. Hopefully, those KPIs are designed in consultation with the teams who do the work.

In order for teams to prove that they’re meeting and exceeding the KPIs, they need to collect data. Teams can then provide the evidence to management and leadership that in the long run, they are making a difference and that it has come through their own personal efforts. Records of valuable KPIs like defect rates, productivity trends or Delivery In Full On Time (DIFOT) need to be kept for long term evaluation. It’s a powerful reinforcement of behavior and modified behaviors. You want to have the ability to look back over the years and actually appreciate where you’ve come from in your Lean journey.


The ability to look back over the years and actually appreciate where you’ve come from on your Lean journey is a powerful reinforcement of behaviour and modified behaviours.


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