Thursday, 16 October 2014

Set foot on the promised land - a continuous improvement lesson from the bible

My most favorite part in my almost 28-year-career is learning about quality and getting better at it.  My first job exposed me how to do quality hamburgers, giving excellent customer service and being measured at it in different ways- first by our own superiors, second by the regional managers and lastly, by a mystery shopper.  At a young age, I learned about key performance metrics  (KPM or KPI) and how it drives you to perform more than the expected.  Getting a 100% rating from a mystery shopper is my ultimate goal then.  Receiving such rating means you were consistent in following the steps in delivering quality service.  All jobs no matter how small or big it is, whether it is a blue-collar or white starts with learning and following steps or instructions in order to achieve a product or service.  After doing the tasks, the outcome of the service or product is being measured by the stakeholders or customers. There is a set target that needs to be met in order for that product to be considered high quality.  Sometimes, making some changes in the process are needed so that your numbers improve or go up.  After you have consistently reached your target, you will move on to the next level - a higher target and so on and so forth. This is the idea of continuous improvement. You always move up and not down.  The reality is, reaching the target is not that easy, there are issues or something that prevents you from delivering quality service.  Believe it or not, there is always someone who will speak negatively about your goal, much more in achieving it. Embrace change as this means you are accepting the challenge to be in the next level, in moving up. No turning back, the numbers should be up and not down.

If you remember Moses and the thousands of Israelites who were delivered from slavery in Egypt. On their journey to the promised land (Target) the people were complaining because of hunger and thirst  (Obstacles). There was always murmuring going on instead of them trusting and following God.  When they were being chased by the Egyptians, and they were at the edge of the sea. People complained and regretted leaving their comfortable life to join Moses. Bad as things were in Egypt, the known seemed better than the unknown to those who lacked faith (Resistant to Change).  During their forty years of desert wandering, the children of Israel alternately blessed and cursed the name of God. Because of this, every Israelite over twenty years of age when they left Egypt under Moses’ leadership was now dead.  

How do you feel when you are working towards reaching a long-awaited goal? Are you happy? Are you excited? And looking forward to a new journey? Are you anxious about what the change could bring? Are you following the instructions and faithful to the end? Will you set foot on the promised land? 

As I was meditating on this, I looked back and remember my KPIs, the obstacles and trials, the changes in or absence of comfort.  I realized that God's words are really alive, never changes, it is still the same before and until now.  It is a good analogy on how to handle change in my career in continuous improvement.  We want to set foot on the promised land! 

The Lord said to Moses, “Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them” (Numbers 20:12).

Read more: 
Exodus, Numbers and Joshua

Friday, 3 October 2014

How to make ourselves valuable - Adding Value Part 2

Here is a sequel to my earlier blog post entitled - "Adding value to others by adding value to self".  This time I am quoting Mr. John C. Maxwell because I read this in his book - The 21 Most Powerful Minutes in a Leader's day. Revitalize your Spirit and Empower your  Leadership.

How to make ourselves valuable according to God's words:

1. Constantly IMPROVE ourselves.

So how do we do that? Make an assessment, try one skill like cooking or baking. If you think you are good in cooking "Kare-Kare", try another one like "Kaldereta" or "Mechado" or tweak the recipes and replace the ingredients like beef to oxtail in Kare2 or beef to "kambing" in Kaldereta, or use pure tomatoes in Mechado and not canned tomato sauce.  For baking, if you've baked cookies, try brownies or cakes, then move on to the challenging ones like sponge cakes, tiramisu or Braso de Mercedes. The samples provided refer to VARIATION, or doing a different way to achieve a different result.  Here's another one, if you can run 5 kilometres in 25 minutes, beat it by trying to finish in 12 minutes....or if you can type 45 wpm, practice more to be able to do 60 wpm. Set a target and meet or exceed it.  We call it KPI or KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS - set of values use to measure the performance and meet the goals. Try to increase or decrease your numbers. Simple improvement strategies can not be measured rather the RESULTS indicate improvement.  If you used to always miss the bus, and you did something and now you are earlier than the bus, that means you've improved in managing your time or maybe the bus schedule changed. You alone can say which is which. :) the important thing is you've learned to accept the need to improve and you're doing something about it. Do not be COMPLACENT! Once you've accomplished something, no matter how dramatic the change or result was, continue to improve.  You'll be amazed at that potential God embedded in you. You just have to start at something.

2.  STRENGTHEN your hands and knees.  "Hebrews 12:12"

Remember the motto of the body builders, no pain, no gain. Exert some effort. It will not just happen. You need to initiate something.

3. RENEW your minds. "Roman 12:2 - Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be TRANSFORMED by the renewing of your minds."

The brain is located on the top most part of our body. That indicates that everything starts from the top, from our brain.  I remember it in science, the brain sends signals to the body parts before it starts to function.  I call it MINDSET...whatever the mind conceives, the body achieves.  Try it, tell your brain to always think about accomplishing something and you will be able to finish it, the same goes if you always think about negative things - complaining, fear, "can't do it", worry, it-will-not-work attitude, what do you think is accomplished? Nothing!

4. Desire and USE GOD-GIVEN Gifts.

1 Corinthians 12:27-31 27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. 28 And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But earnestly desire the higher gifts.

We have INHERENT Values from GOD, like a chip embedded in us when He created us. Ephesians 2:10 For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Romans 12:6-8 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

God loves us and values us. He wants us to be valuable so we can give and add value to others.