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By Dr. Harry Tennant

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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

What's wrong with what you do?

Take an example of your work product. It may be teaching how to multiply two digit numbers. It might be feedback that you've given to a teacher about how the number of her discipline referrals is unusually high. It might be a software program you've just written. Just select an example of the result of what you do that can be examined closely. If there is no tangible work product, such as teaching multiplication, set up a video camera or two and record the class.

Now, take that work product and examine it in detail. What imperfections can you find? Look again, more closely and find some more imperfections. Don't fail to list any because they weren't your fault or because they were excusable under the circumstances. Find as many as you can possibly find.

Next, go through the list of imperfections and attempt to determine why it is there. What is the root cause of each imperfection?

Finally, what improvements could you make in the way you work to eliminate each of the imperfections? It is essential to keep the reality of the situation in mind as you do this. What you're looking for is ways to change the work so that it is easier to give the lesson or the staff feedback or write the software so that it doesn't have the imperfections. Don't make the mistake of simply expecting greater perfection from yourself through greater effort or more intense concentration. Perhaps some additional training is needed or just a simple aide like a checklist. What you're looking for is perfect results from an imperfect system (which includes you). The goal is to make it easier to do the right thing.

Imperfections are opportunities to learn. Seek them out! Then figure out how to make perfection the easy thing to do.


Posted at 12:00 AM Keywords: continuous improvement 2 Comments

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