Friday, July 14, 2017

Lean Quote: The Waste of Talent, Skill, and Knowledge

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.

"The buried talent is the sunken rock on which most lives strike and founder." — Frederick William Faber

The waste of Talent, creativity or your people is an addition to the seven wastes of lean manufacturing (Muda), it is the failure to make good use of your employees; all of them. Your employees are your most valuable resources when it comes to ensuring that the business runs smoothly and continuously improves.

When companies fail to recognize or utilize people’s talents, skills or special knowledge, not only are they missing the benefit of these resources, the underutilized are likely to become dissatisfied and may begin to perform poorly, or leave. This waste of talent happens when management is not responsive, does not assign tasks appropriately or does not train properly.

Without the involvement and loyalty of all of your employees your company will fail to compete as effectively as it could do with their help. In today’s global marketplace we need every advantage that we can get to maintain and improve our businesses.

Examples of wastes of Talent
  • Problem solving conducted only by experts, ignoring the input from other employees.
  • Improvement ideas that are forced upon different sections of the company rather than invented within them.
  • A workforce that feels that there is no point in making suggestions for improvement.

The main cost of the waste of talent within your organization is in time wasted to make improvements and meet changing customer requirements. You will be far slower at making improvements and solving problems if you rely only on your “experts” to come up with the ideas, whilst your engineers, supervisors and managers may be highly skilled they are small in number compared to your other employees.

This failure to make improvements at a good pace will eventually mean that your competitors will move ahead of you and will lead the way within your industry whilst you lag far behind. They will win the business from you as they are able to offer enhanced service and lower costs.



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