domingo, 1 de abril de 2018

Lean Supermarket?

I enjoy going to the Supermarket for our weekly supplies. I find it relaxing and I see it as a time where I can reflect and hear some podcasts that interest me. The Supermarket where I usually go is near where I live and I go there because is convenient and to avoid traveling long distances. I guess I try to diminish the waste of transportation. However, there are times where I drive to the nearest Wallmart because it has a wider variety of supplies and because of cashiers seem to be faster than other Supermarkets near my neighborhood.

5S Visual Aid at the cashier.
Today I decided to go to the one near home and followed my routine. To my surprise at the moment where I was paying for my groceries, I noticed a small Visual aid that contained the 5S. 

In the sheet, there were described the 5S, within a diagram and each of the 5, briefly explained. What caught my attention was the last one, Sustain. It read: Follow up to the 5S program as part of the work culture of Soriana. Which is the name of the Supermarket I went today. 
Looks like they are trying to practice 5S and change the culture, shape it to be better.

I really hope they have success practicing Lean and I hope this is not just another program or more work to do for employees. Soriana is a Mexican Supermarket and probably, one of the very few Mexican companies practicing Lean or at least some of the tools or CI initiative.

While paying I noticed some small labels that indicated a few of the items that needed to be arranged. There were small labels signaling a few items, such as the Printer, monitor, a drawer, and space where customers could sign the receipt.

All this made me reflect that even though they have just started their Lean Journey, and still fot plenty to improve, there are a few things that stand out to me right away. For example; Why do they have to label the printer? Are there any employees that do not know how a printer looks like? How about the monitor? Why do they have to label the monitor? I don´t think the monitor moves away from the position where it was. So,  in this regard, 5S is not just clean and label everything in a workplace. 5S got to make sense, in order to improve efficiency, productivity of employees by placing tools closer or better for employees so he/she can do the work easier, safer, faster & better.
5S can also help to prevent or improve ergonomic issues that might be present on workstations when tools or machines are placed in awkward positions. Otherwise, if this 5S program is only focused on cleaning, labeling all tools and stuff for no reason, 2 things could happen:

1. Employees won´t see the point or real value of labeling stuff in the name of 5S.

2. Employees might believe that 5S is just more work to do for the same wage.

In either case, the result could be the same: Employees losing interest in the 5S program, making it hard for management to engage in any other continuous improvement program. I would caution Soriana to watch very carefully how 5S is viewed, introduced to employees and ultimately practiced. Mark Graban created a Lean video that explains far better my point. Clic here to watch the video.

Equipment labeled in 5S style.
I´m intrigued to know if cashiers are faster now that have started practicing 5S at their workplaces, compared to the time where weren´t practicing 5S. What do employees think about the 5S program? Does management supports and discusses issues and roadblocks with employees? What other practices are they adopting to improve store´s operations?

Will keep an eye to see how this company evolves in their Lean Journey. 

Are there any other companies or Supermarkets practicing Lean that you know? Others than Wallmart?

I would love to read your thoughts and your point of view regarding 5S. Please share!

domingo, 17 de diciembre de 2017

Bugs, a fundamental part in coding a program?

Today I found an article that discussed the problems Apple has had over the past few weeks with the new updates for IOS11, High Sierra and more. I have to confess that my iPhone seems to have more errors than before. Is slower than ever and in that sense, I agree with this article that states Apple has lost the customers confidence. The problems have been noticeable since I updated to IOS11. Of course, we all know how this issues always seem to get extra attention, especially because Apple is one of the most admired and hated companies on the planet. 

Not to mention the cult its products generate on customers around the world.  However, that is not what stroked me the most about this article. The Author mentioned the following:
“ Bugs are a fundamental part in coding a program”. 
He mentioned, this statement is shocking since.
“Not even the greatest engineers are able to develop software bug free”.
Of course, nobody is perfect. And is true, the Engineers must work within systems that allow them to create defect-free software. This is no easy task. Neither in software development nor in other industries, such as manufacturing. People will make mistakes. But if those same engineers are able to identify those defects and take actions that avoid those same defects or similar ones, are repeated when developing the next program, then eventually, the software can really be Bug-free. But it is also shocking to find that even though, Software development is a very competitive industry, it is believed that Bugs are and will always be present no matter what. 
The Autor also writes the following:
“In big corporations there are exhaustive audits, tests of different kinds to detect, retain and solve errors even before the final version reaches consumers. All this effort to prevent lack of trust from the precious customers. “. 
Audits, inspections as we know, may be necessary under some conditions or situations. Of course, if we cannot get rid of bugs right away, we better have in place a detection system to avoid errors reach the customer. That´s correct. We must protect the customer. 
But living with inspections, audits, and tests all the time is not the way to manage any business. As it has been known for a while, inspections are waste. Waste that adds cost to any product or service. And in the end, affects any company from being more efficient, reach better quality and delight its customers. In the end, isn’t that what's all about?
This reminds me of Dr. Deming when he stated:
We cannot rely on mass inspection to improve Quality, though there are times where 100% inspection is necessary. As Harold S. Dodge said many years ago. You cannot inspect Quality into a product. The Quality is there or it isn't by the time its inspected.
Luckily, Scrum and Agile are built on Lean principles and eventually, I’m sure will help to create better systems and conditions for software developers to achieve the goal of a Bug-free software. 
In the end, its true, Bugs might be an essential part of Software development if these Bugs are used to analyze, improve and make better conditions under which Bugs are impossible to live. Otherwise, Bugs are just mistakes that make products more expensive and less reliable. 
Finally, this article is interesting since it points to one fact that we must remember. Engineers coding software are very smart. Especially for a company such as Google or Apple. And they still make mistakes! Please remember this the next time a mistake is detected. In the end, is all about processes and systems that fail or not, and persons willing to learn and make better processes.
Thanks for reading. Please share your thoughts and comment below.

miércoles, 16 de agosto de 2017

Good people + Bad Systems = poor results

Sometimes I tend to think that it ain´t fair to say that Mexico is far away from developed countries regarding productivity, service, and quality. Especially service, since Mexican people is often recognized worldwide for its warmth and kindness to foreigns.

Of course, having good people in companies is not the same as having superb service. Lately, I have to retract myself from thinking that Mexico is not so far from the US, for example regarding customer service.

Poor Customer service at dealerships.

There are different recent examples, that my Wife and I have experienced to state that Customer Service is almost non-existent in our country. The story goes back to a couple of weeks ago when my car caught fire and it was declared a piece of junk. No repair is possible, so thanks to my family who lend me money I started the process to look for a new car. As look for several options, I decided to go for a previously owned, since we are already paying for my wife´s new car, we didn´t want to spend more, so I thought that going to a dealership for a certified previously owned was the best option.  
Renault Logo     Source:
Checked different websites and found three different dealerships with interesting options within my budget. So I filled 3 forms at their websites and received confirmation e mails that a sales representative would communicate with me soon.  I even went to a dealership on Sunday, but unluckily used cars section didn´t open on Sundays. So I left my information: name, phone number, etc.

So, I patiently waited for those representatives to call me. Monday morning received one call very early, it was a rep from the first dealership I saw on the internet, a Suzuki dealership. Very polite, she scheduled my visit to check on the car I was interested in. But a couple of hours later in the day, received another call from the same lady, saying that the car I was going to look for, had been sold. Apparently, cars are sold quicker than updating a web page. So, luckily for me, she texted me the cars they had in inventory and I thought, I´ll give it a try. After all, I intended to go there anyway and probably could find a similar or a better option being there. I have to say that this girl, made her best to make sure I wouldn´t walk away from them, and actually ended up checking and signing for another one. 
Suzuki: A very different approach from the lady who took my request.

I also received a call from that dealership that didn´t open the used cars section on Sunday. It was a Renault dealership. The representative asked me what cars were interesting to me and I indicated two models that were available. Also asked for financing options and he told me that would send me the info to my e mail, and guess what. I´m still waiting! Two similar situations, totally different approaches.
The rest of the dealerships didn´t even call me, and there is no wonder why I decided to go for a Suzuki model. Comparing this 2 reps, I find similarities, in the way that the systems they were working with, were not perfect. Far from it! In the Renault dealership, they didn´t open on Sunday, in Suzuki, the web site can´t keep up with the pace of used cars being sold. Yet, the responses were totally different. Better training at one dealership? Better hiring process? Standards clearly defined at one? Maybe.  One thing is a fact. If processes and systems are not existent, it is managers responsibility to engage workers and let them create the standards, provide the support, and make sure these processes are clear enough for the workers to be understood and be executed.

The Walmart online process

The second example is related to a poor online purchasing experience. Turn´s out my daughter wanted a  big girl´s back pack. She is 9, and is going away from cartoons and stuff like that, she wanted a girls back pack, not a child´s. So my Wife and daughter saw a nice back pack at Walmart´s site and decided to buy that. They waited for the delivery and when the back pack finally arrived, It was the wrong model. So, my Wife had to go through the claims process where she had to physically go to a Walmart store, fill a format, provide information, and to her surprise, nobody in the store knew how to process a claim from a purchase done online. She had to wait, because the person responsible for processing online claims, was new and was getting his badge that day.  In the end, an employee attended my Wife, very polite and processed the claim. 
          Back Pack at Walmarts Site.               Source:       

What was Delivered the first 2 times.

A few days later, Walmart delivered the back pack, and guess what... It was the wrong one, again! Fortunately, my Wife checked the product right there and was able to return the back pack right there. In the third delivery, finally, Walmart was able to deliver the right product. In part because one worker, follow up on this issue and managed to get the right product this time. What happened? So many flaws from one big company who has been a symbol for logistics efficiency, and needed three deliveries to get the right product delivered. Where is the issue? Wrong identification on products? products located in the wrong locations? No standards? Insufficient standards? Standards not clear enough or difficult to execute? Those are the questions managers need to ask. 

The good part of the stories is that in both cases, workers saved the day. But, cannot be this way all the time. There will come the moment where they may not be as sharp, as polite or as concentrated as they were in these cases. They are humans after all! That is why systems and processes are so important. 
Good People in Bad Processes can deliver mediocre results. Good processes can make Good People deliver outstanding results.

What is your take on Customer service? Have you experienced situations where poor processes produce mediocre results? Please share your thoughts.

miércoles, 28 de junio de 2017

The system isn´t perfect, is that the real issue?

I`m back writing again, after a very long period of inactivity. But it has been for good, as I have been learning and fine tuning my Lean skills. Today I want to write about the Confederations Cup and the new system that it´s being used to help referees make tough decisions; the so called VAR. 
In Soccer, there are 4 referees, that basically rely on their own eyes, experience and interpretation of the rules to take the calls. Soccer is one of those sports that seem to have been away from technology for a long time. It´s no surprise that, as referees rely on their abilities to have a fair performance every game. However Soccer is the one sport that has many periods of controversy, precisely because the decisions referees often make, are completely wrong.
There are famous examples as Maradona´s "Hand of god" in 1986 World Cup, or the "Phantom Goal" that gave England its only World Cup title in 1966. Most recently Thierry Henry´s hand during the World Cup qualification in 2009, in a match between France and Ireland. Henry controled the ball with the hand (something totally forbidden in Soccer) and gave an assistance to a team mate, who scored a Goal, and because of that Goal, Ireland was out of the World Cup.
So,  as you can see, Soccer´s needed desperately for years a better technology, rules, a better system to make the game fair for both teams. NFL has Video Assistance and challenges, where teams can request referees to look again at the critical plays and this, often allows referees to take accurate decisions. NBA has a similar system and very clear rules. Soccer has integrated a similar system to try to help referees to make better decisions. This new system/technology is called VAR (Video Assistant Referee) which is basically something very similar to what the NFL has. This summer, the tournament called Confederations Cup is being played in Rusia. One year before the World Cup that will be played at that same country. In this tournament, the VAR has made its debut.  And as expected, there are complains from analysts and public in general. Why? Because in order for the referee to take a look at the VAR, the game needs to be stopped. Fans, players, coaches and tv analysts aren´t used to the this. Soccer is a sport where the only time it is stopped is when there is an injured player, somebody scores a goal or there is an external situation. So it is logical that there are many complains about this system. Perhaps, the fact that the game has been stopped for over 2 minutes, is a main contributor for the complains. The main complain is that it interrupts the game. Some said, that the promise was that it wouldn´t take more than 30 secs to review a controversial play. 
VAR system provides feedback to referees when critical plays  arise.

All this made me think about the "resistance to change" when a transformation or a new process or perhaps, a new technology is being introduced at any process. There is always people who will resist the change. Why? There are a lot of reasons. Not fully understanding why the change is needed, is one common. Because often, technology isn´t reliable and brings more troubles than solutions. Because the change is imposed and people often insn´t taken into consideration when introducing change. Because leadership isn´t commited to change and there is poor follow up on initiatives, etc. There are a lot of reasons why people seem to resist to change. In the case of Soccer, this new technology isn´t as efficient, as I believe could be. But at least, is based in a system that has proven to be efficient. The NFL, I think is an example that Soccer should persuit. And the fact that now, 2 minutes or more are needed to review a critical play, isn´t necesarily bad. My expectaton is that this system will continue to evolve to achieve that 30 seconds promise to review a play and make a decision. Or even less time. We should not forget, that everything can in fact, be improved.  And the fact that right now, this process is a bit longer, doesn´t mean it cannot go faster and be more accurate and better in the future.

I really think that a system that isn´t perfect is not a abad thing, as long as the owner recognize the flaws and would be willing to fix it. A really bad thing is when a process is launched, has many flaws and the owner doesn´t seem to be interested on improving.
Resistance to change will always exist. Or perhaps we better call it, Not understanding the change. In life as in processes will always be people who prefer the old way. I guess we can keep trying, use our minds to explain the better possible way why it is important to follow change. And what benefits can arise from the change. Usually when people gets it, they get it. Listening to the suggestions of people is always a key element to overcome fear or lack of understanding. In the end Lean is about making things better, WITH people. So, VAR creators have a great opportunity to listen, observe and improve the system for the sport´s, fans and media benefit. Only time will tale if these creators have a continuous improvement mind set or not.

The main issue is not that the VAR isn´t perfect. The issue is wether VAR creators would be able to recognize the flaws and improve the system.

Thanks for reading, would love to read your thoughts regarding Soccer, change or else.

sábado, 31 de diciembre de 2016

Listen to the Voice of the customer! Please!

I have been luckily exposed over the past years, to concepts such as voice of the customer, critical to quality, customer first and so on. 
All strive to the need and importance of capture what the customer wants, in order to be able to deliver it to retain the customer and build loyalty over time. 
Listening to the voice of the customer is not an easy task. Sometimes we need to traduce the voice of the customer into requirements/characteristics a product or a service must comply. Some other times, we may need to translate those characteristics into specifications for the product or service, that will dictate how the process should perform. And sometimes, finally we also need to define the settings of our process, to ensure the process always performs within specifications, that eventually will meet the characteristics and/or requirements that the customer wants. Being the settings all rules, procedures, instructions, tools that will prevent the process from shifting away from the expected performance. 

This is more less the idea:

The hard part is to translate and capture the voice of the customer to succesfully bring it to your organization and deliver consistently what the customer expects.

There are different methods to capture this, such as surveys, face to face interviews, trends analysis and so on.  This post is not about those techniques, but to outline the importance of correctly capture what the customer wants. 

This came to me as a post, from Christmas. My 2 years old son, wanted a car for Christmas. So, as the tradition in Mexico requires, he and her sister wrote the letters to Santa and left them waiting at our Christmas tree (yes, Waste of Wating is present even in Christmas). So as we were getting close to December 24th, ran to get all the gifts and presents for the holidays, and got a small car, of about 1 feet long, pretty cool. So Imagine that my son would be very, very happy with it. 

To my surprise, my wife took him to visit some friends, and for some reason they ended up going to a Walmart, where my son saw a big massive electrical and expensive car. Those where the kid can actually get in the car and "drive".  Of course he said, "Thats the one I want, the one I asked Santa to bring me for Christmas".  

Of course my wife told me his terrified, since she knew that we already got all the presents. Luckly there was couple of days left and was able to find the right one. 

In the end everything ended up being just right. But this small - huuuge mistake could have brought the holiday down. 

Imagine that instead of my son, that would have been a customer! The expectations and requirements definitely wouldn't´t have been accomplished.  

Has something similar ever happened to you? If so, please share with me, I´d love to read your Christmas or business story. 

And of course, Happy New Year!

domingo, 25 de diciembre de 2016

True Crime meets Lean.

Its holiday, and I really hope you had a great time this Christmas. I hope Santa brought all your gifts and really hope that companies, as well the economy in general will get better for everybody in the world. 
Tonight I want to talk about podcasts. I´m kind of addicted to podcasts. I have been subscribed to Gemba Academy and Mark Graban´s podcasts for a while now. They are really great, so if you haven´t listen to them, I urge you to do it. You will get insights related to Lean and different other topics, such as Customer Service, leadership, continuous improvement and one of the most important, that I have been able to know other authors, speakers and leaders who work everyday to spread the knowledge and principles around Lean, and also to correct the misconceptions around it.  
Podcast: a program (such as a music or news program) that is like
radio  or television show but that is downloaded over the Internet.

Thanks to that and that I read the New Yorker, I came across with Serial. The famous podcast that during its first season, told the story of Adnan Syed, who was charged on the murder of his ex-girlfriend and locked for the last 17 years. The people who know me on a personal level, knows that I am true crime fan. And also a fan of series. So if you haven´t heard it, and you like the topic, listen to it. It is very good and the quality on the production is something that deserves a try. This is relevant because I found, recently a new podcast; Accused.  This podcast, in the tradition of Serial, tells the story of Elizabeth Andes, who´s case remains unsolved. Well at least that is what the journalist Amber Hunt says about this case. Elevator speech is; Elizabeth Andes was murdered, the police charged the boyfriend as the killer, but two different juries found him not guilty and he walked.
Accused: Podcast about the Elizabeth Andes case. A jumping to
conclusions case that has remained unsolved for 37 years.
So, what do this horrible story has to do with Lean? A lot in my opinion. Police was convinced the boyfriend was guilty, they even got a confession, but still, the boyfriend walked away. In the podcast, the Cincinatti Enquirer digs deep to try to know the truth. And what is noticeable is that despite the amount of evidence, the many suspects that weren´t investigated, the Police is still convinced that they charged the right guy, but they say that:

The justice system, just didn't work. 

This is the main reason why the police hasn't investigated further, and why this case is still unsolved and open, even though the police says they had the right guy. Through the episodes, is clear that police didn't like the fact that someone suggests that they may have Accused the wrong guy. Over and over we hear that they got the right guy, they don´t believe anybody else did it. And made me reflect why it is so hard for humans to accept the possibility of making an error. 

Basically  this story, is about jumping to conclusions before making a proper analysis: the result is that the case has remained unsolved for 37 years. Does that sound familiar? Jumping right away to conclusions? Pointing fingers to someone who was later determined to be innocent? This is very similar to business. I realize that we don´t like to be told that we committed a mistake. I believe it is because we have been taught that being wrong is bad. That we should avoid being wrong and that too often being wrong may bring undesired consequences. We are, basically taught to fear making mistakes. Being wrong is in fact, one of the best ways to learn and develop skills such as resilience, discipline and careful observation. PDSA is  based on trying different solutions, and observe the effect those solutions have on a given problem. Learning from each experiment and re-think the approach to the problem, until the issue is either solve or the solution is improved. Toyota kata are a series of routines that allow controlled experiments to be conducted in order to solver a situation or specific problem and, learn from them. So basically, encouraging, in a controlled way, failure and learning about our the plan, what´s preventing from achieving the results, and what to do next. Which I find powerful, because in the end, we are learning more from the situation we try to modify. 
Toyota Kata Process.

I think that´s why  babies do a lot of disasters. They throw things, paint walls, and basically create a big mess every time they can. Through this experiments, they learn, and absorb knowledge about the world and the situations around them. If this is a natural manner to learn? Why isn´t failure encouraged? Why taught kids that failing is wrong? Of course, nobody wants to fail. However, if we fail in a controlled way, is actually something really good. Just ask Toyota. 

I guess changing our beliefs, and the things we have been taught since kids, isn´t easy. But we must start at some point. And recognizing that we may have made a mistake, is a very good start. And of course, take actions to either confirm our mistake and take a new route, or be sure that we did it right the first time. In both cases great learning can be found. What have we done correctly to achieve the desired result? and of course, What have we done incorrectly and what needs to be done now in order to achieve the desired results? 

Of course, to do this, we require methods and systems that allow experimentation on a continuous basis. But also, experiment without harming our customers. Here is when Lean can help to create those systems. And at the same time, change the way failure and mistakes are perceived.  It may not be easy, but sure can be done. Probably in the case described in Accused, may not be right away, but  I´m confident that new techniques, technologies and methods will help to bring light to the situation soon. In the mean time, Lean thinkers should take lessons learned, reflect, and at the same time hear our podcasts this holidays. 

Hopefully this new year, won´t commit the same mistakes we did last year. I truly hope that this 2017 would be a better year for all!

Merry Christmas and thanks for reading. I would love to read your thoughts about this topic. Please leave a comment and read you next time. 

sábado, 17 de diciembre de 2016

Engagement and the extrinsic motivation in daily job.

Good day. I haven´t been very active lately, due to many things I have been doing this past weeks. But I promised to myself that I will be more active, so I can share experiences and some Lean & Six Sigma templates for free. So if you are interested on using them, you could actually save some time while surfing the net and go straight to that section and download the template. I know that is hard to find the right tool and template to use it for an specific situation. So, If you are interested on this, stay tunned and soon will start uploading interesting tools and templates for you to experiment, have fun and learn.

Now, this week I wanna talk to you about an important topic that seem to be simple. But that actually is not. Many organizations do not know how to maintain engaged, motivated, happy to people in their headcount. Very often, organizations believe that conducting annual surveys on engagement will actually help to understand, and identify the gaps that need to be filled to increase engagement. And too often, that is far from being the solution. Although, an annual survey is a good start, I truly believe engagement happens on a daily basis. Every small activities we do every day, have a massive impact on motivation and engagement.

This comes to the table due to the fact that I heard some days ago, someone talking about attrition or (Labor turnover as it is also known) in the US. Remember that I´m located in Mexico City, but very often, have contact with colleagues in the US. This person, was referring to the low attrition we have in Mexico City and saying that basically in Indianapolis, where he is located, is very hard to maintain a very low Labor Turnover rate. The explanation he was giving is because his facility was located next to other facilites that actually were inside different industries. But mainly because if you looked for a job, you could find it, eventhough the salary would be almost the same. Sometimes workers left because they were offered 50 cents or even 1 more dollar. So basically he was complaining because, according to him, employment was good in the region and If a job didn´t like you, basically could find another without much trouble.

A few stats.

So, first I decided to look a little bit to see if that was right. If the unemployment rates where low in Indiana. Googling found that the department of labor in the US have a very cool table with statistics about divided by states. And you can actually see the actual rate, and the historical high and low. To grasp an idea of the variation on the process.  It is in fact true that there is low un employment in that zone.
Fig 1. Unemployment Rate by state.  Source: Department of Labor US

Fig. 2 Unemployment Rate by state. Actual, max & min.
However, if we look at the histogram we can see clearly that Indiana is no better than the rest of the country, is about the mean. Also the Histogram on employment rate, shows that Indiana performance is around the mean.
Fig. 3 Unemployment rate by State - Histogram
Source: Department of Labor US

Fig. 4 Hire rates US Oct 2016.
Source: Department of Labor US.

The run charts show however that Indiana is getting better compared to previous years. But even though things are getting better in recent years, looks like Indiana is no different to other states.

Fig. 4 Employment - Unemployment Yearly Evolution
Source: Department of Labor US.

Fig. 5 Unemployment Rate Yearly Evolution
Source: Department of Labor Us.
But it is true that as employment rates is getting better and unemployment is getting also lower, that combination might suggest that  this guy has a point. Probably isn´t a problem specific to Indiana, but to the whole country. Remember that I live in Mexico and tried to use data to validate and get a conclusion on this subject. So if this in fact is getting worse or better,  What can this facility do to solve this problem?

A lean approach to this problem.

Engagement is a people´s problem. There is no surprise to find that some people will eventually loose stamina on the long road if they find no motivation, but to get a pay check every month. I have heard that having a job, and getting a paycheck every month should be enough. I have heard that should be enough motivation to get up every morning and go to work. How ever, we know is not that easy. Even though we should be thankful for having a job, it´s almost natural to loose interest, stamina or motivation if we only have extrinsic motivation to do things. 
In this case it is very important to distinguish extrinsic from intrinsic motivation. Extrinsic motivation is the kind of reward or recognition a worker gets in the form of gifts, bonuses, awards, etc. A raise is also a motivation of this kind.
So, what´s wrong about it? everybody wants a raise right? While might be good and even necessary and healthy to get raises, bonuses, awards or so, the problem is that the effect don´t last long. The excitement and energy that strives from this kind of awards tends to fade on the long road. The reason is that our brain and mind gets used to it. It adapts to the changes we have in our lifes and soon, will accept this new income or raise as something natural. Something normal. And eventually will go back to the old state of low motivation to perform. That´s how we are designed. It is completely normal and is good for businesses that now we know about it. 

So, what shall we do about it? Accept it and move on? Live with a high attrition rate in our businesses? NO. There is something we can do about it. Daniel Pink, Best selling author of Drive, The surprising truth about what motivates us claims that there are 3 things we can do to drive Intrinsic motivation, the kind of motivation that lasts longer. The first is autonomy. Grant autonomy to our workers. Let them decide what´s the better way to do their work. What ideas can they bring in order to improve? How can they work with management together and improve/solve problems at their jobs? Involving workers in daily problems is a good start. Is even better to involve some of them in solving bigger problems the organization is facing. Two key things must be considered here. First not all the people want´s or believes that needs autonomy Due to the fact that most organizations and managers do not allow people to think and they are just told what to do. Some people may not be used to this kind of freedom. Second, when an employee is showing engagement and is actively participating with ideas, proposals, etc. We should´t kill that initiative, by saying things such as "No, thats a bad idea" or "No we don´t have budget" or even "No, we tried that and didn´t work" and don use the famous "No, that was invented somewhere else and won´t work here". Because, if that employee is motivated, eventually will start thinking that there is no point for proposing improvements if he/she is constantly rejected. If we have budget constraints and the idea requires investment, the right thing to do is to work with the employee to figure other cheaper available options. If the idea may not be the best for customers, don´t just say no. Work with the employee so he/she can realize the idea is more likely to harm the client, and coach him to come with a better new proposal that could be a win - win type solution. 
Second, is mastery. When we do things over and over, eventually we become masters in what we do. One good strategy I followed in the past was to use those masters to teach and coach others, to achieve two things: engagement from the "master" as he is instructing other rookies. And second show appreciation and respect for the "master´s skills" so he could help me to teach less experienced ones. By that, they become some sort of authority in the organization.  Third is purpose. When we know how our work impacts the organization, how our work impacts the client, and how our work is appreciated by our bosses we start to understand and find purpose in what we do. This is a hard one. My experience has shown me that by sincerely talking to employees, getting to know them, understanding their skills and passions, we can better use their talents and assign them challenges on a continuous basis so they could feel appreciated and find purpose beyond their daily responsibilities. It is the managers job to be aware and sometimes simply ask what employees like and dislike about their job. As an example I am very skilled in powerpoint, I can do amazing presentations in PPT. How ever, even though I often have autonomy over my presentations, and I have mastery, for me the purpose of a presentation often adds no value to the organization or even a customer. However mapping processes or creating lean systems is something that I like because I can have autonomy to create and use the tool i find better for the process. I believe I have mastery on doing that and i know that by creating and implementing a lean system will help the organization to improve its efficiency, eventually its costs and will be a contributor to keep the business alive; I have purpose.
“Management’s overall aim should be to create a system in which everybody may take joy in his work.” Dr. W. Edwards Deming

One last thought 

In my mind, that gentleman complaining about labor and unemployment attrition, instead of thinking that´s the way things are, should be thinking a way to engage personnel so they don´t want/have to leave somewhere else. Showing respect for people is the best way to engage them and ensure your labor turnover/attrition is low. If you engage your employees in continuous improvement, eventually they will get addicted to it. They will start thinking better ways to do things and will achieve innovation and improvement momentum. Just be careful. I´m not saying that employees shouldn't be paid well. In fact if you try to engage people, but they aren´t perceiving their salary being enough to cover their basic needs, eventually will leave because their needs aren´t obviously covered. So take care of their needs first (short term) but think ways to engage them (long term) so, no matter if other companies want your talent, employees will find so infatuated with your company that will find it hard to leave. That isn´t easy. But once you get it, is a powerful tactic to become a more efficient, leading company in your market. Remember that having the right engaged people, is one key input for your organization to deliver and exceed what the customer needs.

What is your take on this matter? What is your proposal to diminish attrition on a very competitive environment? Please leave a message, I´d love to read your thoughts.

Thanks for reading by the way.