I recently came across this video and, as many of you did, laughed when I saw the boy retrieve the stick.  I love how the man looks at the boy in disbelief.  My favorite part, however, is how the boy, in innocent oblivion, goes right back to the shoreline ready for another attempt to rescue the flip flop.

After a good laugh I got to thinking, “How often do we see this in business?” We have a business process and we train our team to follow the process: USE A STICK TO RESCUE FLIP FLOPS FROM THE WATER.

Without defining the objective of what we’re doing, our team may innocently believe that the purpose of the process is to use the stick and that rescuing the flip flop is a byproduct of the process. Then when we see our team dutifully using sticks we may have the knee-jerk reaction of “Don’t they have any common sense?” or “It should be obvious!” We often ascribe blame to our team when the fault is actually in us.

As leaders we have a very different view of our processes. It is our job to communicate the WHY of processes, not just the HOW. At Utah Lean Six Sigma Training Center we train you so that you can effectively communicate the how and why of even the most intricate of processes using a variety of tools.  One of those tools is standard work.


Standard work is a tool that identifies the sequence in which a job should be performed.  It may include visual tools such as illustrations of what is good and what is bad.  Standard work may also illustrate how each step relates to other steps.  This gives process operators critical information on how their roles affect or can be affected by others.  You can learn about standard work and many other Lean Six Sigma topics by attending one of our Green Belt courses.  In that class we learn how to use standard work using the classic exercise of drawing a pig!  It’s one of our favorite learning exercises because it’s fun, engaging, and illustrates the importance of standard work.

At Utah Lean Six Sigma Training Center we love to teach these and many other concepts.  Register for one of our upcoming classes today to improve you, your organization, or your team.