Monday, January 05, 2009

Holiday Dead Zone

Now that the holiday festivities are over, the Christmas tree has been taken down, the stocking are stored away for next year along with any other holiday decorations, except maybe any outside lights that may stay up until warmer spring days, did you notice any signs of a dead zone?

No, not the dead zone from the Stephen King novel or the dead zones like seen in recent cell phone commercials. It’s a dead zone that even the Verizon network can’t save you.

The time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day is a fast paced holiday time filled with great cheer and joyful spirit (stress too!) with all the season’s activities swirling around us like going to holiday dinners, workplace celebrations, worship celebrations in a faith of our choosing, shopping, wrapping gifts, holiday cards, traveling to visit family and friends, decorating, cooking holiday meals, football, holiday concerts, holiday parties and the not so popular-cleaning up. With all this seasonal activity, do we push off or ignore some things until the New Year? Creating a dead zone, a period of time with no kaizen activity referred to during this time of year as the Holiday Dead Zone.

For example, did any one of us say during this holiday season, “Let’s meet right after the holidays”, or “Let’s schedule something the first of the year” or “We can work on it next year”? With all the holiday hustle and bustle along with many people being out, it only seems like this is the best we can do, right?

During the holiday dead zone, do we expect little or no results from any projects because of the holidays? Do we expect no improvements in work, no kaizen?

Now don’t confuse what I am talking about with the ideas found in the classic business book, How to Run and Manage a Extremely Profitable Business, BG (Before Ghosts) by Mr. Ebenezer Scrooge. I love Christmas time however can we have more balance during this season of hope and joy? Can we find a way to still kaizen in December?

How can we avoid the holiday dead zone? First, we have to realize we have a dead zone. Next, we should reflect on our past holiday behaviors and activities to understand the situation better. Since each of us, individually or as a company, celebrates the season differently, we may come up with different root causes of creating the dead zone and related countermeasures.

At my company, we planned our kaizen calendar better this year which resulted 9 events in the month of December instead of only 2 kaizen events the previous December. Good advance planning, spreading the workload and not accepting the easy push off to next year were the keys for us. So can being flexible which allowed us to add the ninth kaizen event that only took two weeks to prepare.

What ways can you think of to prevent this time of year from becoming a holiday dead zone?

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