Reactions to Standardized Work
Food for thought: When working with the concept (or practice) of Standardized Work in my lean experience, it’s always been in context of a workplace that was already up and running and had, to some extent, “gotten along fine” without formal Standardized Work.
I’ve seen five standard types of responses from front-line employees when the topic comes up. This is even true in environments where front-line employees were writing the SW documents. These are the typical first reactions when you show a draft to someone hadn’t yet participated in (you’re asking them to review it and give input):
- Questioning -“Why do I have to do it this way?
- Cooperation -“OK, show me the new way.” (and follows it)
- Resistance -“I don’t want to do it this way.”
- Disdain -“You idiots, this new way is stupid.”
- Passive Aggressiveness -“Ok I’ll do it.” (proceeds to not do it and badmouths it to the others)
Each of the types of reactions has its downside. Some downsides are obvious, but the “Cooperator,” one who just accepts the SW and proceeds to do it as written, isn’t thinking and isn’t contributing their ideas. That’s a type of waste.
That’s why I’d rather have a “Questioning” response from each employee, a constructive response that properly challenges things and comes up with new ideas or better ways of doing things.
I think the worst response is “Passive Aggressiveness.” At least the “Disdainer” tells you where you stand in their eyes and you can work through it accordingly. I’d argue that the “Passive Aggressive” is the worst response of them all.
Thoughts? What do you see from your experience with Standardized Work?