I had mentioned last week how I had seven minutes to present to top management how well our falls clinic had been doing over the past year, what challenges we faced, and how we planned to address them over the next year. This is part of the Toyota/Virginia Mason school of thought on management.
We did well actually! Not only did I present, but also the lead nurse and staff physio from the clinic. We prepared a display showing charts and graphs of departmental sick time, vacation time used, training completed, studies underway and quotes from patients about the work we've done with them. We went first, had no idea really what to expect and finished 20 seconds early. The response was positive and we were able to field two questions.
Then we had to sit through six other presentations. Each of the different presenters had charts and graphs and such, each had to speak quickly to get their point across, and a few ran over time and were stopped before they could finish. One poor guy was sweating profusely and shaking when he was given the one-minute warning sign.
By the fourth presentation, my eyes had started to glaze over and I stopped hearing what people were saying. I wonder how effective this technique is in terms of enlightening management and coworkers about what is going on in one's department? I wonder if my organization is actually employing the technique correctly? By the sixth presentation, I could see that most people had stopped processing and were more concerned about leaving... it was nearly 5 p.m.
Many of the practices of the Five S's I understand well from my sailing background. One always puts things back in the same place in the same way on a sailboat. If an emergency arises you want to be able to find the horn, knife, fire extinguisher or life jacket without thinking about it. Crash carts are set up this way as well for the same reasons.
But really, what does the visibility wall do for us? It seems like too much information from too many sources with insufficient time to digest it all. It did save a whole lot of meetings or e-mails that wouldn't be read, but what did it accomplish?
Maybe I'll find out later on.