What does a Cuban Taxi have to do with operational excellence within a business?
On our Honeymoon, Jennifer and I went to Cuba and of course one of the things to do is get a Salsa Dance Class. There we were in Havana and organized our self a private dance class in a living room. How cool is that?
One day, we were just finishing, and we got one of these hefty tropical rains. Now, what to do? We asked the teacher, and he knew a guy that has a car and all of a sudden, that was declared a taxi. Well, here we went.
The rain was pouring down the wipers couldn’t cope with the rain and the windows became totally foggy.
As expected, the streets were flooded, and it took a few corners, and we took a nosedive and the hood got stuck in a deep “puddle”. We gave the driver the money and walked home, becoming totally wet.
What can we learn from this for Operational Excellence?
1. If you are in a situation where you don't have an answer, ask someone you know. They might have the solution you are looking for.
2. If that solution gets you stuck again and, to get out of that situation you must get dirty. Just do it.
3. Sometimes it comes back to the preparation of your team (driver).
4. Obviously, his car (tool) was not maintained properly.
5. As leaders (we) should have been more patient in the situation and should have allowed the issue to clear before we acted.
What are the steps you can take to apply this learning directly to your Operation Excellence journey?
1. Make sure your team understands the importance of preparation.
2. Make sure your tools are maintained properly.
3. Make sure your leaders and you understand the power of patience.
Most importantly review and improve your processes constantly for them to be adapted to the situations in front of you. When your processes are adequate, they will be able to make sure your team and you do not end up in a small or BIG puddle.
Remember: If you got stuck, get yourself unstuck and move on! It is regardless of what got you stuck in the moment. You can do the so-called “cold loop” later and analyze what went wrong.