6. Breakpoints – 5 steps to heaven (continued)

Best Practice Tip:
As you name your breakpoints try using the syntax
do something, to something to get something.
An example might be
open the email to action the request

Make sure you follow the instructions we’ve provided in identifying the Break Points in the target area. Getting this right will play a very big part in determining the degree of benefit achieved.

Also, make sure you write them in a descriptive enough way that you can come back a day, a week or a month later and know what each Break Point is…

Enter this information into your template.

Step 3 – Describe your Actions

You are now ready to describe Actions that can be taken to eliminate Break Points. You have the Break Points documented, now what would it take to eliminate some of them from your target area?

For each Action you identify you need to know what the Action is (describe it) and what Break Points it eliminates. Most often Actions will eliminate multiple Break Points.

The number of Actions you identify and describe will depend on many factors. Try and get as many good Actions as you can, doing so will help you create the most beneficial cost reduction plan.

Enter this information into your template.

Step 4 – Do the Cost and Benefit Assessment

What else do we need to know? We need to place our Actions into perspective, which we do by answering three questions:

How Much? How Long? How Beneficial?

“How Much” is the cost (time, expense) of taking the Action? It’s best to judge cost by using the three categories of High, Medium and Low*.

“How Long” should be expressed in days, weeks or possibly months – but never years. Because eliminating causes of work is actually much easier (and less complicated) than fixing effects, most Actions will take 90 days or less*

(*many Actions will take less than 30 days to complete).

“How Beneficial” is the number of Break Points that would be eliminated combined with our judgment of the overall benefit of the Action. It’s also best to judge benefit as High, Medium or Low.

* The use of the High, Medium and Low scale plays an important psychological role in this technique. We really don’t need more detail than this to know which Actions we should take. By choosing to do a more detailed cost/benefit analysis we will create more work and distract ourselves from the goal – which is eliminating costs!

Enter this information into your template.

Step 5 – Build your Cost Reduction Plan

Choosing which Actions are to be taken should be pretty obvious at this point. From the information already gathered we can see which Actions have the most “bang for the buck.” But for the order of the Actions it’s important to create a mix that makes it easy for us to be successful on a regular basis.

Try starting with a “quick win” to get people enthused about the plan. Mix other “quick wins” into the plan to create “breathers.”

Also consider prioritizing an Action that addresses glaring issues – those we all know are “not right.” Doing this communicates your understanding of the people in your organization and your empathy with their concerns.

Number your Actions in the order in which you want them to be taken. Use the same number for Actions that should be taken simultaneously.