IF your organization had put it lots of improvement effort but see little results … THEN it might be time for leaders to re-look at whether the organization is putting the Right Effort into the Right Place.

All organizations (profit or non-profit) have limited resources. This is especially the case where your employees will need to squeeze time for improvement work outside or within their normal day-to-day job role. Also, it would be frustrating and demoralizing for employees to see little results from their efforts…which will deter their willingness for improvement work in future.

The IMPACT vs. EFFORT Matrix below should be an important thinking framework in any organizations to really make improvement effort worthwhile.


In most of my improvement events/workshops (a.k.a Kaizen Event in LEAN) which I had facilitated over the last 12 years, I love to print this out in poster-size and let it be a visible platform for leaders and staff to prioritize their improvement ideas. There will be debates around the WHY (is this a low/high impact) and WHY (is this a low/high effort). Don’t worry about these debates as they generate a great deal of insights from all angles to make sure we do the right things. Instead the facilitator should be worried if there are little debates….which sometimes could be due to some senior guys “overpowering” the session. In such cases I will “kick the senior guys out of the room”…Nah just kidding…The facilitator should have a side conversation with them. In order to avoid such situations, the facilitator should really brief and prepare them prior to the session.

Some Points on IMPACT :

For IMPACT, organizations should NOT just consider the CURRENT impact but also the FUTURE impact as well. Some Example below:

– A small but increasing trend of customer complaints might not be catching our radar right now, but it could potentially grow to be a major problem if not address quickly.

– Limited capacity might not be a real problem now, but it could a “stopper” for growing our sales.


About Me : I am a Lean Master /Six Sigma Master Black-Belt business improvement consultant based in Singapore. I am also very active in Data Analytics and Programming. Individuals or Companies interested to learn more or exchange ideas about Lean, Six Sigma and Analytics can drop me a note by Linkedin messaging or to my personal email : siowkiat@gmail.com