One feature of Bandalier’s kaizen culture is that our team members are constantly looking for little tweaks that can make them more efficient.
Each week, every Bandalier team member – including folks on our outsourced inside sales teams and our operations teams – is asked to come up with one test or ‘kaizen’ that will help them generate more results from a fixed number of hours. At the end of the week, we review as a team and discuss some of the learnings from the different tests that were run.
One recent kaizen initiative that has proved especially effective is the use of the ‘pomodoro technique’ to structure our outreach. Developed by a university student in the late 1980’s, the technique calls for users to structure activities (for instance, making calls or completing a presentation) in uninterrupted 25 minute blocks. When the 25 minutes are up, a five minute break can be taken before another 25 minute ‘pomodoro’ starts. After four pomodoro cycles like this, a longer break (15 – 30 minutes) is taken before the set restarts.
Our teams have found this approach to be hugely effective in eliminating distractions and improving activities levels. By turning off e-mail, Slack, texts, and other peripherals and focusing exclusively on one activity, our teams are able to devote their entire attention to the task at hand – whether that’s making outbound calls or preparing for a client meeting. “It seems to be working very well,” reports one Associate Sales Manager in Bandalier’s end of week review forms. Like several others at Bandalier, his team has been experimenting with pomodoro as part of their kaizen initiative over the last few weeks. “I think it could be a huge benefit to a lot of employees here.”