We all love to play the “What If” game. One of the most popular versions is “What if I won the lottery?” This version usually leads to an hour-long pipe dream of what you’d do with all this money you’d get on this game that you don’t even really play.
The question I want to pose to you is, what if you played the “What If” game with your company? Today, I’m sharing five “What If’s” that you can use to stress-test your company and to push it to improve and grow.
1. What if you made selling a priority for 2 hours a week?
What would happen if you decided to dedicate a two-hour block of time each week to nothing but selling? How would that affect your business? How long would it take to get just one more sale per month if you prioritized sales for just two hours a week?
I encourage you to try this for one month. I’d be willing to bet that you’d at least get one more sale out of that effort.
2. What if you wrote 3 SOPs per week?
A SOP is a standard operating procedure for one of the functions at your shop. SOPs create a baseline for our current and future employees so that our product stays consistent in quality and production times, regardless of the personnel in the shop at the time.
How would it affect your company if you wrote three SOPs per week? After one year, you’d have 150 SOPs that you didn’t have before. If you use our free template and strategy for making SOPs, this “What If” is about as simple as it can get.
3. What if once per week you spent a little time with at least one employee at their station/area to improve a process?
How would your shop transform if you got employee feedback about what they would change, alter, or improve, and then you actually worked together to implement those changes?
In our shop, we call this process, “lowering the water and exposing the rocks.” It’s a term used in the Lean community quite a bit. You’re exposing the rocks to remove those that impede flow so that the water flows better.
When I walk to an employee and say it's time to lower the water, they understand that I’m already in a mindset to improve their area.
4. What if you saved 1% of your revenue in a separate account?
Personally, I do this for our company in a completely separate bank than our other accounts. My 1% account doesn’t have a debit card or checks. It’s purely an emergency fund. Last year I was fortunate to have these savings because I had to dip into it a bit, and now we’re just replacing it.
1% seems small and insignificant, but it adds up over time, and it can be a real lifeline if and when you face a challenge and need a bailout. Plus, unlike a business loan, it’s interest-free.
5. What if you had regular shop floor meetings?
My shop aims for meetings on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Some weeks we don’t hit all of them, but most weeks we do. We do our shop floor meetings right after our clean-up, which is from 7 - 7:30 a.m. each day.
During our meetings, we don’t talk a lot about production. Instead, we talk about how the company is doing overall. We talk about improvements we can make and things the employees need to be able to do their jobs better.
We also talk a lot about the customer chain. For us, that means that each area uphill of the other is a customer. In other words, the CNC’s customer is the edge bander, the edge bander’s customer is the kit line, the kit line’s customer is the shipping station, etc. until it gets down to the end customer. That’s our strategy for keeping it real with employees so they always see that their products are going to somebody. They’re going to an end-user, even if that user isn’t a paying customer.
As you grow and your employees become hyper-focused on their one area, it’s easy to forget that these products are actually going somewhere. So, at least once a month, I’ll play the Customer Chain Game with the employees to identify any issues in the chain. If we do find a problem, we talk about it and solve it right there and then. For example, if the edge bander doesn’t like how the CNC is stacking their parts, they talk about it right there to try to correct it.
Have you tried the “What If” game yet?
If you’ve ever played the “What If” game in your business, I’d love to hear the “What if’s” that you use. Leave me a comment if you try my “What If’s” and let me know what you discover.