I am always thinking how to improve my business and let my people grow. As any entrepreneur knows that is not easy, not easy at all…
One of the things we implemented is called Quick Wins. I got the idea after reading two books. The first book I read was ‘The greatest business decisions of all times” by Verne Harnish. In chapter 15 he describes the Saturday Meetings that Walmart started in 1962. Basically all office people came to work on their free day and they reported what competitors did better than Walmart. After every meeting they implemented at least two things that a competitor did better in the Walmart stores. It helped Walmart to become the biggest retail chain in the world.
Chet Holmes wrote the “The Ultimate Sales Machine” which is a great book to read for anybody who wants to sell more. We use it a lot in Openprovider. In chapter one he describes how implementing a “pigheaded discipline” is necessary for every company to be able to succeed and move forward. We use his ideas on timemanagement as well but that story is for another time.
From these two chapters we created the idea of Quick Wins. As you may know Openprovider currently has three offices in Netherlands, Spain and Russia. We decided that every office has to deliver one quick win per week.
A quick win we defined as: A Quick Win is an activity that is not taking longer than 1 hour to execute, that either has business value, improves customer experience, productivity or working environment of the team. Quick Win is something that you would NOT normally do, something that normally does NOT have a high priority, but requires an effort to complete.
We started a Google doc to keep track of all Quick Wins people can come up with. We also decided that every office could spend 250 euro per month on Quick wins. In our case 750 euro a month with currently 33 people should be enough. For your company different budgets could apply depending on your goals and size.
The most important requirement was to report the Quick Wins every monday. Since the Quick Wins could be very trivial and don’t have a high priority and are created and done by employees themselves it is very important to celebrate and share the results.
With all new initiatives and especially this one the hard part was to get people enthusiastic and disciplined to create the ideas and to actually implement the ideas. Both are not easy to maintain. Our Management Team had a hard job to manage the Quick Win process in the beginning. Even for them it was not easy to maintain the pace and motivate their people to really do it.
After a few months of hard work we see the results of our pigheaded discipline. Everybody really starts to enjoy the quick wins. The Russian team created the logo you see on top of this article and really are our Quick Win champions. Instead of doing one Quick Win per week they report 2-5 Quick Wins per week and now all teams really enjoy doing and reporting Quick Wins. It took us 6 months to get there but now people love and cherish the Quick Wins.
Without any real effort we now improve over 150 things per year what hopefully will bring us a similar success as Walmart in the past. A simple initiative combined with disciplined execution that totally fits in our core values “Enjoy what you do and do what you enjoy” and “Quality leads to quantity” is all it took…
Buy table football table for Dutch office
Fix toilet door in Russian office
Send pizza to customer after fuck-up on our end.
Buy screwdriver set for office to fix small things
Numerous quick wins around small textual changes and translations in the customer control panel
Throw away boxes that were stored for long time
Pick up stuff that lies around the office and store it or throw it away
Buying plants for Dutch office when returning from a customer meeting
“Happy to inform you I’ve knocked in the nail into my desk to make possible to hang my backpack on it. I’ve made this world better therefore.”
Currently our Quick win list has 205 items that will be done in the coming year and every week new items are added without management involvement. How cool is that?
“In the red room in our office on the windowsill our guys kept the most important tools such as the drill, the hammer, the hand simulator and other important things … that are not used every day. And we have a free closet in another room… 30 minutes and sill free! In the future , we can put there flowers :-)”
“The ladies wanted a bit more ‘green’ in the office, so we cut a forest (at Ikea).”
“I used to have all pens and pencils around the table, as well as the business cards. As I am very big fan of the Yatekomo noodles for a quick lunch in the office sometimes (although Javier is against this rubbish food :), I took the empty cup and cleaned after eat it all, to be used for tiding all this pens and pencils. So we didn’t have to buy anything new Saving money in Openprovider is not flat fees 🙂 About the business cards cup was took from an empty cup of sugar packets.”