Recently I wrote a blog about keeping myself on track.  I wrote about my structure and processes for creating my goals and planning my quarters, months, weeks and days.  

The next week, something came across my desk talking about being flexible, resilient and quick to shift and adapt.   Especially in these unsure times.   It talked about how often we create environments that make it hard to be nimble. 

It got me wondering if my structure, my process were flexible and nimble.

The short answer, yes.  

I really believe in the PDCA cycle.  Plan, do, check, act.  I put this process in everywhere.

  • Plan:  recognize that something needs to change, see the opportunity, and plan the change
  • Do:  implement it, test it. 
  • Check: review the process and check on the results.  Identify what is working what is not.  
  • Act: take action based on what you learned.
  • Repeat.  

This PDCA cycle happens weekly, monthly and quarterly in my process.  Each week we do a check in and will make changes to processes as necessary.  We do it again each month.  Quarterly, we review our goals, check our parking lot and see if there is something that becomes a bigger priority than what we originally planned.  

This PDCA cycle has allowed me to re-structure my weeks when things were not flowing right.  It allowed me to pivot at the end of March 2020 when our lives changed dramatically.  I halted some planned projects and implemented ones that were better suited for the pandemic. 

I love structure and processes, but I don’t think structure and processes should lock you in.  Instead, they should allow us to create space when everything is status quo but yet through a review process allow us flexibility when times demand we change.  The best part is the PDCA then gives us a process again, to check in with the changes we have made to accommodate life’s challenges.   Nothing is ever static.  Business is fluid, so should our processes and structures.  

I have worked in organizations that worked nimbly and then in organizations that did not.  I prefer to work in organizations that are nimble.  I prefer to work in a way that will address change, challenges and opportunities quickly.  When I worked in the organization that was nimble, I enjoyed my role.  I felt like, the right people got to the table quickly to solve problems and then worked together to make things happened.  We then got together to see if our solutions were working and adjusted as necessary.  

When I worked in an organization that was not so nimble, I stopped enjoying my role.  Meetings became more about finding fault then solutions.  Everyone was protecting their jobs, vs. doing what was right for the organization. 

I think trying to find fault is a waste of time.  We do the best we can with the information and skills we have at the time.  Things change.  We change.  Knowledge changes.  I find it much more productive to say “this is what we know now and because of that ….”. 

We know more about the virus that is effecting our everyday lives today than we did in March 2020.  However, I find people are reluctant to change the opinions, ideas or views they had way back in March.  Why?  Is because they don’t want to admit they were wrong?  What is wrong with changing your views based on information you now have? 

Maybe we would be kinder, more flexible to change, more willing to change, if we implemented a PDCA cycle in more than just our businesses?  

Hmm.  Something to consider.  

Do you use a PDCA cycle anywhere in your business?

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives or the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”

Charles Darwin