“In the day, for the day”

Observation #25

carpedia-observation-25There’s quite a lot of internal debate about where the catchy expression, “in the day, for the day,” originated. Some claim it was a past client; others say it was one of our own project directors: still others claim it is a common expression that’s been around for a while. Whatever its origin, it’s becoming a very popular way to describe how front line managers should think and act.

It is a useful analytical device that we use to help find opportunity to improve. “In the day, for the day” refers to information about what is happening on the current day — not yesterday or last week. The closer to real time that you give managers feedback and information on what’s happening, the quicker they can help influence the performance of their staff. This seems fairly obvious, but it’s not common in many industries. Managers often get performance feedback sometime after an event has occurred, which naturally limits its usefulness. Information that arrives “in the day, for the day” is therefore helpful: managers can address issues while they are relevant and impacting work flow. There are many benefits, e.g., identifying quality issues before too many products or services have been delivered. The other subtle benefit of tools that provide information “in the day, for the day” is that for them to be effective, managers must engage with their employees on a regular basis to help correct off-schedule conditions. This has long-term benefits for both managers and employees and, of course, the productivity of the company.

To make an assessment in most functional areas, you simply compile all the reports that a front line manager reviews and determine how many actually provide information “in the day, for the day.” It’s often surprising how rare these reports are. If you don’t have them, you probably need them. If you’re like us, you will start overusing the expression “in the day, for the day” to the point that it shifts from being catchy to irritating — but it’s still useful.