Productivity – Don’t sweat the Easy Stuff

When we are looking at  Productivity, we have a tendency to approach the easy stuff first.  There is nothing wrong with getting  “Quick Wins” in any  Operational Excellence Programme, especially if you are trying to get traction in a new programme, by demonstrating the power of the system. However, there is a danger that we get ourselves into “Tick Box” mode, and we end up working through check lists. This means  that we delay tackling the big issues, as we think we are making progress. This is not surprising as humans have what are known as cognitive biases. These are psychological states that can affect our rational thought processes and our ability to look at data objectively. There are many documented biases ranging  from 15 to 20 in number. In this particular case we are talking about “Task Completion Bias”, which gives us the sense of  achievement when we view a 70% or similar complete  list. A recent two year study of 90,000 patients in the hospital emergency rooms, showed doctors not necessarily choosing the patients on the basis of the severity of their condition, which should be the primary focus. They were falling into this bias trap (HBR Paper – Task Selection & Workload)

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