This is the second in a series of guest posts by Petrina North, Sycol Black Belt and education leadership expert.  Before joining Sycol, Petrina was Executive Principal  at the Parsons Down Federation.



The hardest part about running is putting your trainers on; that discipline of tightening the laces and actually getting out of the door.  In organisations, the first step to saving time is the discipline of setting some aside to think about where to save it.


I have likened getting lean to losing weight and I am going to continue the analogy. Doing this on your own is difficult, you need someone to do it with you – the aim needs to be shared and agreed so that you can encourage each other and work together. So, find a partner.


1.  Get off the sofa: Consider what is wasteful; a continuation or habit? Where is time not being used effectively? Eliminate it. Stop it! Is the same job being done over and over because the integration isn’t there? Change the mindset from ‘That’s just the way we do it’ to ‘This is the way we do it here!’


2.  Resist temptation: Time is wasted as we get distracted searching for messages, data, documents amongst clutter and content.  Time is wasted wading through stuff that is surplus to requirement. Get rid!


3.  All the gear and no idea: Time is lost when we over analyse because the subject is interesting and we get distracted from answering the original question.  We can also over produce on detail making something too complicated with too many features, beyond what is expected or required.


4.  Get on with it: Time can be wasted when we wait for feedback, approval or decisions from elsewhere.  We need to consider where we can reduce wastage through our approval processes.


5.  Eat healthily: We need to change our focus on quality to the input. By improving quality, we meet expectation. Too often our focus is on the quality of the output. Consequently, time can be wasted fixing issues and defects which should have been done properly, well, the first time, if the process had been followed.


6.  Portion size: make sure the size of the team for any job is just right. If necessary, reduce the number of people involved.  This can improve accountability, reduce errors and ensure nothing is missed.


7.  Stay focused: It takes time to improve an organisation and so having a long-term view of where you want to be is key. Vision-centric it is often called. Every decision aligned to achieving that goal and all the while building the right environment.


In the next instalment we shall consider how to eliminate energy waste.


Read Petrina’s previous blog Steps to ‘Lean’ Educational Leadership