Webinar Report: Covid-19 and your Daily Management System by Eilish Henry

Putting the current COVID-19 crisis into context Eilish Henry from SISU Consulting showed a picture from the 1918 spanish flu pandemic with headlines warning ‘Wear a Mask or Go To Jail”.  

Now over 100 years later nations and workers are again facing a wide range of worrying disruptions. 

During the latest Lunchtime Bytes Webinar ‘Covid-19 and your Daily Management System – Why it’s worth persevering with SDM in challenging times’ from the ICBE Productivity Skillnet, Eilish shared thoughts and experiences on the benefits to individual employees, teams and organisations from maintaining the disciplines of the DMS routines, whilst making sensible adjustments to reflect necessary changes to our new ways of working.  

Eilish began her presentation noting some of the challenges currently facing us all including:

  • Huge changes to how we connect to family and friends
  • Lockdown – constraints on travel and mobility
  • Social distancing
  • Shielding
  • Home schooling
  • Losses
  • Personal/Individual
  • Financial
  • Freedom
  • Significant changes also to working practices
  • Furloughing
  • Remote working
  • Shift patterns
  • Social distancing
  • Enhanced levels of Hygiene/5S
  • New/increased levels of PPE
  • Temperature screening?
  • Huge contribution/sacrifices by Healthcare, Social Care and other Key Workers

Countering these Eilish was also eager to point out that, as with any crisis, there are silver lining and opportunities for us as individual including

  • More kindness?
  • Appreciation of the contribution of our “key workers”
  • Appreciation also of the “little things”
  • Rapid adjustment to change and in particular
  • Vastly increased use of various online platforms e.g. Microsoft teams and Zoom
  • Success of remote working
  • People are more focused and productive
  • Positive long-term impact?

As the dust settles on the crisis Eilish reminded the attendees about the importance of ‘Standard Daily Management’, which can be defined as how we most effectively and efficiently manage our daily work to best meet customer demand.  This process of balancing people and process typically includes a number of Key Systems including

  • Visual Management
    • Daily Huddles/Tiered Meetings
    • Leader Standard Work; Gemba Walks; Coaching
    • Continuous Improvement (Daily Kaizen)  
    • Team–based Problem Solving

Eilish counselled that it to be effective and authentic it needs to be connected to achieving the overall Vision/Mission/Strategy and should also be based on fundamental Principles e.g. Respect; Humility; Creating Value for The Customer.

Eilish noted that some recalibration may be necessary to ensure focus on people more than process adding that “Change within organisations can sometimes take years to implement but with this burning platform of the current crisis change has taken place rapidly and we need to be cognisant of  principles helping us answer the Why question and understand the purpose of the system.”

Driving these points home Eilish quoted Stephen Covey “There are three constants in life – change, choice and principles.”  

In answering the question of why Persevere with Standard Daily Management  Eilish reminded the group of some of the key actions and the responsibilities of leaders to:

  • Be visible and supportive
    • Offer reassurance
    • Maintain Trust
    • Be realistic and optimistic
    • Remind people of the long-term Vision whilst dealing with the short-term crisis
    • Adjust our SDM to reflect the “new normal”
    • Shift the focus of SDM from primarily Process to People
    • Connect to our people simply as human beings
    • Reinforce the power of Teams

Quoting a gallop poll Eilish shared that where remote working is supported by leadership that productivity is higher but only if supported.

Reiterating the importance of vision Eilish quoted Alvin Toffler “You’ve got to think about big things while you’re doing small things, so that all the small things go in the right direction.” 

Eilish finished her presentation with solid advice from Edgar H Schein “Being physically near each one another does not make a group a team, nor does reporting to the same boss.  What makes a team is task or emotional interdependence.”

As we enter a period of ‘the new norm’ the principals of SDM can help stabilise an uncertain world and help organisations adapt.