Over the past two years, our organization has welcomed approximately 85 new members, with 60% of them joining in entry-level positions. As part of our three-month induction program, each new member has a 20-minute meeting with me after completing their first month on the job. During this discussion, my aim is to familiarise them with the organization's purpose (as explained in my earlier blogs) and provide guidance to set them on the right path for their personal success and the organization's growth.
In these conversations, I often ask the new members about their aspirations for the next two years. The most common responses I receive revolve around becoming proficient in their assigned tasks or progressing to leadership roles, such as team leads, department heads, or senior managers. However, when I inquire about their plan to achieve these goals, many find themselves unsure and lacking a clear direction.
This is where I encourage them to adopt a consultant mindset, which entails shifting from a task-oriented approach to a solution-oriented mindset. This transition occurs in two steps:
- First, I prompt them to imagine themselves as consultants hired to optimize the task they are assigned. This involves creating flowcharts and/or writing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for their tasks, developing checklists to minimize errors, and dedicating the next two months to simultaneously performing the task and refining the SOP/checklist. The ultimate goal is to ensure that, at the end of three months, the task and its associated documents align perfectly. Every activity they perform should be documented, and every aspect of the document should be implemented in carrying out the task. This process enhances their understanding and internalization of their assigned task (the document and the task should be a mirror image of each other).
- In the second step, they delve deeper into data analysis and contribute through suggestion, development, implementation, and monitoring using a framework similar to DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control).For instance, one of our Sales & Operations Planning (S&OP) team members, who handles tooling availability based on advanced sales projections, initially focused on just checking and reporting tool availability to the tool manufacturing department during their first three months.
Now, they have taken it a step further by analyzing the reasons for tool unavailability using a Pareto chart, creating fishbone diagrams for the top three reasons, conducting root-cause analysis, and formulating and implementing preventive actions.
By fostering this consultant mindset and empowering our members to explore and contribute beyond their immediate tasks, we aim to nurture their professional growth and drive continuous improvement within our organization.
So the next time you find yourselves in a review meeting, take a moment to think like a consultant and see your productivity and place in the organisation shoot to the top!