The PROMPT: The Great Motivator for Completing Tasks
If you’ve read my book—“System Busters: How to Stop Them in Your Business”—you know I am a big proponent of checklists for every employee, with PROMPTS to complete necessary tasks or actions. NOTHING is just committed to memory or left to chance. That can be deadly in any business!
Checklists should even include the time (or approximate time) of day certain tasks should be performed (i.e., 2 p..m - Production supplies ordered from vendors.).
Daily Routine Checklists—specific to each employee—are able to bring order to a business, along with other lists of PROMPTS (i.e. Quality Control Checklists, Service Control Checklists, and detailed Procedures).
About now, you may be saying, “I’ve made checklists with prompts, but some employees won’t complete or turn them in.”
OK, where is the PROMPT for them to START and COMPLETE a checklist?
Here’s how this works...
1) Give the employee one of what I would call a “full circle” of checklists, with a list of PROMPTS to complete certain tasks or actions specific to his/her job assignments.
2) Give the employee an INCENTIVE for action by having a follow-up system that monitors task completion, to ensure the employee has actually completed each checklist. We do this by giving each manager a Daily Routine Checklist. (Yes, a manager ALSO needs to follow a checklist.)
3) The manager’s checklist needs a PROMPT to do a simple review of the checklists that employees under his/her supervision are required to complete and turn in. If an employee fails to turn in or complete a checklist, then a non-conformance reporting document is submitted by the manager to upper management. The PROMPT for submitting this document should also be on the manager’s Daily Routine Checklist.
4) The non-conformance document is received and reviewed by the owner or upper management and the root cause of the non-conformance is determined.
5) Next to be determined is the action needed to prevent this non-conformance from happening again (in this case, an employee not completing a checklist).
Philip Beyer, founder/president of Ebiz Products LLC and founder of Beyer Printing Inc. in Nashville Tenn., is a chronic entrepreneur, business systems analyst and consultant. Author of "System Busters: How to Stop Them in Your Business" and recipient of an InterTech Technology Award for the design and development of System100 business process management software. Beyer speaks to business owners across the country on how to bring lean, sustainable order to their businesses. Contact him at (615) 425-2652.