The Value of the PDCA Process
Posted by Orrin Woodward on September 24, 2012
Yesterday, I confirmed again the value of the PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Adjust) process explained in my RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions for LIFE book. Actually, it started two weeks ago Sunday when our family and friends have our afternoon basketball game. In that game, my team lost both games and we did so because of my poor performance. I was hitting the front of the rim with my shot and when I attempted to change strategies and drive to the hole, my knee kept hyperextending. These aren’t excuses as we certainly earned our losses, but I confronted the reality of the situation to make some adjustments for the following Sunday (yesterday).
In the scale of things, winning or losing the Sunday afternoon basketball games is not really a big issue; however, habitually using the PDCA process in one’s life is a huge part of success. Accordingly, I came in after our drubbing and made some adjustments. First, I asked Laurie to pick me up a knee brace as I cannot have knee pain while driving to the hoop. Second, since the kids are going to a private Christian school, I asked Laurie if she would practice shooting with me several times a week. (As the reader can see, I really do hate losing enough to change.) Both Laurie and I would take a shot and run to a new position for another shot. In other words, shoot and move.
After a couple of practices, I realized I had been shooting at the rim instead of arcing the ball to swish through the net. This, along with my knee brace, built my confidence for Sunday’s game. Moreover, all week long, when breaking from my studies, I invested mental energy envisioning (Ant and the Elephant) the ball falling through the rim and net. Needless to say, I couldn’t wait for yesterday’s basketball game to redeem our team’s poor performance.
On Sunday, within minutes after the game started, I could tell things had changed. My shot was dropping and I could drive to the hole without pain. True, I still am not in the best of shape; nonetheless, we won both games and looked like a different team. Afterwards, while sitting around the pool area, I realized again how important the PDCA process is to improve a person’s life. Furthermore, I realized I still need PDCA work as the other team will likely have its own adjustments for next week as well. That, in a nutshell, is the game of life – constant adjustments from all participants to improve outcomes. Never, in other words, rest with good when a few adjustments make great possible!
I share this story because I am curious why so many people continue to repeat the same mistakes in their careers, relationships, hobbies, etc. when the PDCA process is so effective for improvement? Indeed, if a person will honestly address his shortcomings, applying the PDCA thought process to it, he can and will improve. Without a doubt, every person is creative. The question is: Is he creative in adjustments to win or creative in excuses to lose. I hate excuses and refuse to associate with whiners, complainers, and excuse makers (victims). Life is too short to spend it driving through the rearview mirror. If you don’t like the results in an area then change by applying the PDCA process. The process simply works when you work it.
What area of your life needs a PDCA application? Examine the scoreboard and see where you can improve. The scoreboard never lies. For instance, two weeks ago it said that our team embarrassed itself by losing both games. This week, however, the scoreboard reported a different result because our team made adjustments. Are you winning in the game of life? If yes, then find a defeat in every victory to stay humble and growing. Are you losing in the game of life? If yes, then find a victory in every defeat to stay hopeful and growing. Life truly is a journey, and with constant course corrections, you can reach your legacy destination. The PDCA process is essential for improvement when a person is sick and tired of his current results.