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Deb Neuman Deb Neuman
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Clear Predictable Reliable

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I recently attended a session at a Lean Systems summit about how a city in New England is working to make licensing and permitting process easier for businesses that want to do business in the city. I was a bit puzzled when the presenter tossed a ball of yarn to a group of us sitting around a table at the session. She asked each of us to hold a piece of yarn and toss the ball to someone at the table who would hold a piece of the yarn and toss the ball again. Time and time again some of us 'dropped the ball' didn't know to whom to pass the ball and in the end we ended up with a tangled mess.

This game of 'yarn toss' was intended to illustrate how frustrating the process was for businesses in this community before they created a system that was 'clear predictable reliable' and has shortened the time it takes for a business to get their licenses in place from three months to a few weeks.

Think about your business practices. Are you operating in a clear predictable reliable way for your customers and your employees? Do you give clear instructions to your employees? Do you clearly state what you offer to your customers? Are you clear about your return policies?

Are you predictable? Do your employees and customers know what they can expect from you or are you constantly changing the rules and creating confusion? Are your prices, hours, products and services consistent?

Are you reliable? Can your employees count on you to be there when they need help? Can customers count on you to deliver as promised?

Clear. Predictable. Reliable. This is the way to be if you want to create an environment where people will want to work for and do business with you. But it takes work and practice. This won't be accomplished overnight but it is well worth the effort. Why not pull your team together and toss them a ball of yarn. As they hold a piece and toss it to someone else ask them to think about one process within your organization and see how many times that ball is tossed and dropped. With a little focus, effort and communication your team can work together to become more efficient and toss (and drop) the ball a little less often. This will create happy employees and customers.

Clear predictable reliable. It's good for business!

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