Overwhelming issues seem to have some similar roots. A disaster or two can send any organization or business into a spin. Resource management is challenged. How often does the inattention to right details at right moments create the spin? How often is the spin self initiated?
Operations can be smooth. They must be effective. DIRFT needs managed.
DIRFT? Do It Right The First Time. This simple acronym should entertain the attention of every executive and manager. Engage it. Paint it on your forehead. Demand it. Coach it. Live it.
Control what is knowable: U.S. Grant was an amazing manger of DIRFT. It turned the war his direction many times. On one occasion General Sherman wrote this about him. “The campaign of Vicksburg, in its conception and execution, belonged exclusively to General Grant, not only in the great whole, but in the thousands of its details…. No commanding general of any army ever gave more of his personal attention to details.”
Grant did not leave anything to chance. Faced with a myriad of unknown items, he mastered doing each item under his control as a known. By ensuring all that was under his control was handled correctly the first time, he reserved the strength of his troops for the unknown. The mental acuity necessary to adjust is freed when the known details are handled right the first time.
Plan for the unknowable: Our state and city has a group named VOAID, Volunteer Organizations Assisting in Disaster. During recent repetitive storms, this concert of concern was a first phone call. Coordination made response quick and right. Before federal resources had a chance to open the mail, these teams had already solved a myriad of needs. Having worked together in other disaster situations, these folks made a difference. Others have risen and joined ranks with them and the next disaster will be handled even more smoothly. Do it right the first time.
Quiet Time Development: Building solutions that work the first time takes quiet time. Avoid this and DIRFT turns into DRIFT. The operation will drift to the loudest complaint and worst problems. The business will loss vitality and focused expression. Niche will become nice. Nice operations could easily become eliminated operation as they miss the mark on needed activities and only tend to pleasing people on the surface not the deep points of need.
Sharp managers and executives use quiet times to sort the nice from the needed and the issues from the answers. Make sure your plans fulfill the objectives of the operation established with reflective thought and right information to enable right decisions.
DIRFT! Do it right the first time. Inspect what you expect. Expect what you inspect. When a plan of operation is launched, it needs measurement points established to steer actions. Quality control is fine if you are looking to lose. Make plans that steer quality at each decision point instead of waiting until a job is complete to discover it is bad. Rework is painful. Plan DIRFT purposefully. Teach it. Coach it. Motivate to excellence to prevent constant rework. Learn some simple LEAN principles and implement them to take out wasted time and efforts so operations focus on getting it done right not finding out when it is done wrong.
Summary: There is always enough time to do it right the first time. There is never enough time to keep doing it over and over and over. But, you need an operational plan to do it right. Just giving it to people and expecting them to figure it out is a sure route to failure and frustration. Engage them in the solution at the right moments and plan for smooth successful operation.
Have a great day doing what you do. Operations should live in excellence.