We all want to improve, we want to get better, we want to grow, but there are times we get stuck because we don’t know how to do it. Other times no matter what we do or how we do it, things just won’t improve, so we get stuck again.
There are several models that guarantee results if we follow it properly. Deming created such a cycle for quality improvement. Also there is one from the military. It works in factories, construction industries and everywhere except where we want it. They are not suitable for applying in hospitality industry.
After spending long hours and making improvements in my department, I found one that worked. It’s easy and there are only four steps:
- Identify the ‘Present Step’
- Come up with ‘better steps’
- ‘Test’ those better steps.
- ‘implement’ the new steps.
Here’s how it works:
I’m typing this on the phone. If I want to improve the phone, first I need to check the ‘Present step’ of the phone. The present steps are, my phone is slow, many scratches, latest apps doesn’t run, been using it for almost two years, battery drains quickly, and the camera quality is low.
Above list of present steps are sufficient for now. Next I need to move to find what are the better better steps. Meaning, I need to look for a better solution for each of the above present step. To solve the scratch problems I can change the cover or replace the glass. To solve the slow speed, I could delete some apps to free up memory. Been using it for two years so it might be outdated. If the overall quality of the phone is below the other phones available in the market, then I could buy a new phone. So that can be a solution. To solve the battery problem I can use less data, reducing brightness, using headphones for long calls, and stop watching videos on phone. That’s all the better states I can think of.
To determine which step to choose, I could test some of the above solutions (Eg. If I delete some apps is it getting faster?) If I need to buy a new phone, I can do research (Eg. Compare different phones available in the market) and see if it works. After trying and research stage I should take the step. Meaning, I have to implement the solution.
In the implementation stage I could change the battery, replace the screen, remove apps, stop watching videos etc.
Once I take the step, we are not done yet. Innovation and improvement has no finish line. So once this stage is over, one should start again from the beginning.
Here are the steps I took above:
Present step. Look for issues, situation, problems. Examine features, size, properties, duration of usage, functions.
Better steps. Look for adjustments, improvements, solutions.
Choose a step. designing, testing, experimenting, research, find what works and what doesn’t work.
Take the step: upgrade, modify or change the present step you are in.
In the present step, one should observe the present. One should think towards the future when he move to the better steps. After that check and try different solutions in the choosing stage. After choosing the step, one should take the step, meaning, one should pick the best solution and implement it.
The closest thing to these steps I found was the Katas from Toyota. It goes like this… Grasp the current condition, Set the next target condition, conduct experiments to get there. Also their A3 report is similar to this.
Large part of hospitality is based on service. That makes it more challenging. I’m hoping that this method will make it easier for making innovation, do process designs, and make things efficient in the hospitality workplace.
Mintzberg H. That’s not “turbulence,” Chicken Little, it’s really opportunity. Planning Review. 1994.
Parker SK, Bindl UK, Strauss K. Making things happen: A model of proactive motivation. Journal of management. 2010
Ohno, Taiichi. Toyota production system: beyond large-scale production. crc Press, 1988.
Jones P, Dent M. Improving service: Managing response time in hospitality operations. International Journal of Operations & Production Management. 1994
Rodger JA, Pendharkar PC. A BPR case study at Honeywell. Business Process Management Journal. 2001
Tse C, Ho S. Service quality in the hotel industry: when cultural contexts matter. Cornell Hospitality Quarterly. 2009
Sokovic M, Pavletic D, Pipan KK. Quality improvement methodologies–PDCA cycle, RADAR matrix, DMAIC and DFSS. Journal of achievements in materials and manufacturing engineering. 2010
Basadur, Min. “Managing creativity: A Japanese model.” Academy of Management Perspectives 6, no. 2 (1992)