Fixing an unstable process will BURN. YOU. OUT.
October 23, 2017
Do you fancy burnt toast?
No one could fathom why Michael’s father loved burned toast. He still does. Every morning he sets the toaster on high, and butters his crisp toast before kicking off his day.
When Michael was younger, he would rush into the kitchen and toss two slices of bread into the toaster in a rush, only to be left to choke down crisp charcoal-tasting toast.
Complaining to his father one day, he got a reply that surprised him. “Michael, it’s a good process.”
“Good for what? Increasing carcinogens in my diet?”
“You always know what will come out. Now you’re ready to figure out how to make the kind of toast you like. What can you do differently? Be the toast.”
Michael thought about ways he could change the outcome. Adjust the heat control? Adjust the timer? Because the toaster can consistently make burnt toast he knew that any change he made would have an instant impact. He knew what settings made burnt toast and which ones made golden brown toast every single time, without fail.
Now the process could be introduced to more people: a quick visual to guests unaware of the workings of the family toaster.
The toaster process was stable: it achieved the same result every time. Reliable. Repeatable. Consistent. That made it a good process.
Before introducing any kind of change, never proceed unless you have succeeded in getting reliable and repeatable results every single time with what you already have in place. It saves you time, energy and capital from fixing what was never the problem.