As businesses become more competitive, how does your organisation get an edge over its competitors?

If you are making the same mistakes as everyone, then the chances of performing at outstanding levels would be very low.

Very often, leaders and managers do things that are so ingrained in the organisational culture that they do not even realise that they may be affecting productivity — and the bottom line.

Here are five common mindsets to avoid:

“Managers and experts solve problems. Workers just work.”

This is a very common practice among companies. By virtue of the pay scale, it is naturally expected that the role of the managers and experts are to solve problems and anyone else should just remain in their cramped desks or forklifts and “just do their job”.

Is it really true that problem-solving should only be confined to the higher-paid professionals?

How often have you seen a solution proposed and accepted by management, only to be grudgingly performed by the workers who do not agree with it?

By denying problem-solving opportunities from workers, an organisation has deprived itself of utilising its biggest asset: humans.

By harnessing the brainpower of everybody in a structured manner, problems can be solved faster, and cheaper.

As the saying goes, “two heads are better than one”.

Of course, one of the common grouses of employers is that workers feel that solving problems is “not within their job scope”.

It may be that the problems are big and require so much effort that the workers just don’t think it’s worth their time for the pay they are getting.

Every fish will bite; it just depends on the size of the bait.

Incentives need not come in the form of cash. Getting employees to solve small, manageable problems that make their own work easier to execute is a good way to begin the mindset change.

“Change must be big and impact many areas with one attempt.”

When employees are instructed to improve or change something at their workplace, a common error is to choose something that will have a big impact to reflect their efforts.

Well, here is the truth: The bigger the change, the larger the risk.

Such projects usually encompass a series of transformations that take place simultaneously.

No doubt change will happen, but by making several adjustments at the same time, it is difficult to assess which made the biggest impact, and what exactly each change created.

By focusing on one change at a time, it is easier to gauge its effect on the status quo. The result will also determine what the next move should be.

Working in this manner will make change easier to handle, and corrective actions can be taken before an unintended result derails the focus of the project.


Article by Nathaniel Ong, a Lean Practitioner at Right Impact Training. For details, visit or e-mail