I don’t know about you, but, I tend to steer way from New Year’s Resolutions.  I haven’t been all that great about keeping them and so, instead of motivating me, they tend to discourage me. But, from a business perspective, the new year brings opportunities to find ways to be more efficient.  This can be a more efficient use of my time, employee’s time or the overall process.  One way to achieve that objective is to trust your employees to take ownership in fixing issues that are impacting their efficiency.

I remember when I was working in a bottling plant, we had a spot on the conveyor that collected the fallen bottles.  But, the collection system wasn’t working and as result, kept backing up and knocking more bottles over.  I spent some time (OK, a lot of time) and came up with this over-engineered solution to the problem.  I showed my mechanic the problem and gave him my drawing on how he needed to fix the problem.  Fortunately, I was working with an empowered mechanic who quietly studied the problem and presented a solution that was far superior to mine.

That experience taught me that we don’t always have to tell someone how to fix a problem, we just need to talk about the problem and allow input on how best to fix it.  Chances are, their solution is much better than we could have imagined.

Having confidence in your employees is critical.  And, if that isn’t something you are ready to do, than perhaps that would be a good New Year’s Resolution.