An Intense WorkOut Generates Excitement and Commitment
First, Schaffer helped the CEO select a knowledgeable, capable WorkOut Champion to spearhead the effort. Doug (not his real name) had held a diverse set of roles in the company, so he knew how things worked and had initial ideas of what changes might be needed to get out of the old warehouse.
Second, Schaffer helped the CEO and Doug select a WorkOut Design Team. This cross-functional group of leaders took the high level, six month challenge and created a measurable, ambitious three-month goal: “Completely and permanently exit the two biggest rooms of the three-room warehouse by May 31.” The short-term nature would drive urgency and keep the effort top of mind. And the tough goal would force the company to pioneer innovative shifts in manufacturing, customer relationships, warehouse logistics, etc. The WorkOut goal became the rallying cry: “If we are out of these two rooms by May 31, we’ll be in a great position to completely exit the whole warehouse by July 31.”
The Design Team also created sharp targets for the four focus areas everyone knew would need dramatic improvement. The Warehouse Logistics team, for instance, was tasked with freeing up 30% more space in the existing warehouses through better space utilization. And the Operations team needed to develop the ability to produce 4,000 cartons per day of the seasonally sensitive product. Each focus area got a team leader and a cross-functional group of team members and identified they data needed to be able to generate radical ideas to meet the goals. Lastly, the Design Team organized the two-day WorkOut event where all teams came together to brainstorm ideas, prioritize and select the best ones, develop formal recommendations (the idea, the payoff, known obstacles to plan to overcome, how success will be measured, etc.), and get on-the-spot yes/no decisions on each recommendation from the CEO.
By the end of the event, they had ten recommendations approved for implementation by the CEO, plus over 20 “just go do” ideas that everyone felt would move the needle and were straightforward enough to not require formal approval. Nearly every participant was feeling confident that by carrying out these focused efforts the “impossible” challenge could be achieved.
“I’d seen my colleagues step up and achieve amazing results before – but not on the scale of this experience. ... We’re excited to take what we’ve learned and apply it to other company initiatives. Everyone is really energized, it’s a great feeling.”