Finding a fresh and smart perspective for your company

By Mike Novakoski – February 19, 2018

Are there any other business owners out there with a New Year’s resolution in place for their company? I know I have not always been as successful as I would have liked with my personal resolutions in the past, mostly because I did not tell anyone and only had myself to hold me accountable!

In our business, on the other hand, I find if we publicly proclaim a commitment at the beginning of the year, we have a very high probability of achieving it.

Each year in January we have an annual “Stakeholders’ Meeting” where anyone who counts on our company for their livelihood (each has a stake in our success) is invited. We do a quick review of the past year’s accomplishments, acknowledging the exemplary performance of individuals, teams, departments and divisions, and then share the vision for the coming year.

The three-hour format includes movement, team challenges and individual participation with the goal of people leaving feeling engaged and energized. At this event, we also roll out one new, unique initiative.

For this year, leadership groups within the company developed a program labeled “Smart365.”

What is Smart365? It is one part “acronym” and three parts “call to action.”

Smart365 is an organically developed improvement initiative that teaches us to view the world around us through a different lens. Its goal is to challenge the status quo and create positive change. More specifically, we are asking everyone to be on the lookout for Simple, Meaningful ways, through the use of their creative, ARTful minds, to make life easier 365 days a year. We have asked them to document their ideas (preferably through self-captured videos) and submit them to inspire others. For those Toyota Manufacturing/Lean geeks out there, Smart365 is an individual, manageable, grass roots, work and personal life, Kaizen event … with a fun spin!

I’m really excited by the fire that has been lit and is now being fueled by over 50 documented videos already submitted by team members from all corners of the company. Employees are asking themselves: “Does this make sense? Is there a better way? Could this be improved?”

They are capturing wasted efforts, challenging administrative practices and building better mousetraps. The initiative also extends into their personal lives, as people have filmed and shared artful ways to organize for a trip, meal plan or even paying tolls.

We hope to capture 1,000 videos of implemented ideas by year-end and in doing so believe our team members will intuitively see room for improvement in everything they do at work or at play. Work harder or work SMART365-er? What would you rather do?

See GRBJ Article