No, this isn't about Al Gore and his infamous Social Security “lock box.”
This is about suggestion boxes that we sometimes see hanging on the wall in workplaces. With my current lean project, we co-opted the existing department suggestion box as a “lean box” and we're making sure to check it every day.
When I was in a different department today, something struck me, something that never bothered me before… the shiny brass lock on the suggestion box. Our box also has a lock and we have to remember the key every morning. It's kind of a pain to get that danged key.
Why is the suggestion box locked anyway? I started to question that. Is the country facing a rash of suggestion box thefts? Are suggestions to be kept away from employees to be read only by managers? What do you think?
I'm going to suggest that we take the lock off the danged box. Suggestion boxes are really a poor substitute for face-to-face discussion and on-the-spot problem solving. But, we have to take baby steps. Folks are afraid to make suggestions sometimes… sort of like giving them “permission to change,” we have to give them permission to bring ideas forward without fear of being criticized or being dismissed.
This is a topic Norman Bodek talks about in our Podcasts.
Here is an earlier post of mine thinking back to the horrible suggestion system back at GM.
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