Reports From The Front Lines # 9


Recently a prospect asked me to provide more definitive information on our employee focused ‘Reverse-Flow’ process.

The eighty/twenty rule as been a standard accepted measure of anticipated success.

Out of one hundred issues that a company identifies as possible focus for positive change twenty will give you measurable results.

But, when I looked at a sample of nine of our past and present clients I found that they had exceeded the 80/20 rule by over 300%

Our ‘Reverse-Flow’ system uses 3X5 cards with one issue listed on each card to identify those ideas which the participants believe could ‘make things better’.

The cards are prioritized and then some are ‘owned’ by individuals who act as the ‘Captain’ of the team of people who will make specific recommendations (a strategic plan) for change to improve the company.

The ‘owned issues’ are placed on 4X6 cards and are reviewed each month at a ‘Reverse-Flow’ meeting.

Each time an idea has successfully moved closer to implementation it receives a ‘red check’. When it is implemented and is deemed to be ‘part of culture’ it receives a final ‘red check’

Here are some of the interesting results from our nine company analysis.

Nine companies identified 1,749 issues. Of those cards 1,401 or 80% of the total were owed. Many associates volunteered to work on them.

Of the total cards 1,081 or 62% received a final red check.

The cards were submitted by employees of the companies and they determined if the final result was worthy of a red check.

The 80/20 rule would have predicted 350 final checks. Business Navigator clients achieved over three times that amount.

I believe two factors are responsible for the results.

1.    The identified issues came from the employees and management teams and not from a  consultant.

2.    The ‘Reverse-Flow’ process has a prioritization component which streamlines the identification of high value issues.

People will work harder on ideas they generate than from those offered by a consultant.

My idea is a 100% great idea and they will work on it with maybe 35% effort = 35 points.

Their idea is a 50% great idea and they will work on it with over 150% effort = 75 points.

Business Navigators processes take longer than a one day seminar. However, here is the comparison.

There is this growing bush in the ground and I have a five gallon bucket of water. I want the water around the roots.

If I pour the bucket of water over the bush it will take less time but, most of the water will run off.

If I first use a tea spoon to gently apply the water it will slowly soak into the hard ground. Then I can use sprinkling can and wait bit by bit for the water to soak around the roots.

When we finish emptying the bucket most of the five gallons will be around the roots providing the means for life giving growth.

It is my belief that Business Navigators “employee focused processes” are a major contribution to our client’s success.

For specific examples of the issues our clients address go to our website:

Any observations and or questions are appreciated. Contact me.

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