Martyrs and Hidden Problems

There are people in your organization who live with drastic waste everyday but they do not communicate it to anybody as a problem.  I call them martyrs.

They take on work that is not value added for your customer.  They perform duties that are a waste of their skills and pay level.  Most of these activities have no thoughtful processes and are highly subject to variability.  Martyrs usually do this work without productive complaint because “someone has to get it done and nobody else will do it.” (I say productive complaint because they most likely share their frustration with coworkers and families).

Leadership must actively identify and help martyrs. 

  • Only by observing people doing the work will leaders see the problems martyrs face – because they will not tell you.  Some do not even recognize it as a problem. 
  • Help these martyrs recognize problems and do everything you can to help them solve it. 
  • Assist them with understanding processes so they can remove waste from their work.

My 2009 Hansei: Scarcity inspires creativity and innovation.  How can I help harness that inspiration?

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2 Comments

Filed under Business, Change Management, Gemba, Improve With Lean, Improvements, Kaizen, Learn Leadership, Problem Solving, Productivity, Respect For People, Standard Work

2 responses to “Martyrs and Hidden Problems

  1. Well said. Also, we encourage people to be martyrs by telling people not to “be negative.” http://management.curiouscatblog.net/2007/10/01/bring-me-solutions-not-problems/

  2. Pingback: A C.O.W. Tale | Improve With Me

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