GE Work-Out Process

Best Practice Overview

This process will build a new culture of speed and urgency. It combines coaching, problem-solving tools, and learning to help the company move more efficiently, especially in making and executing decisions. The GE Work-Out process will create competitive advantage and help improve business performance:

  • A learning process driven by those who do the work
  • A way to eliminate bureaucracy/non-value-added work and address resource limitations
  • A chance for leaders to be quick and decisive
  • A proven way to achieve superior business results
  • An opportunity to have more control over work
  • A way to increase job satisfaction and quality of work life

Best Practice Implementation Considerations

The purpose of this process is to remove bureaucratic controls that keep individuals from being fully engaged and block initiatives from moving quickly:

Step1: Identify the issue and who will champion the cause (1-2 hour meeting)

Hold a framing session to properly scope and focus on a critical issue or theme that will make a difference to the company and benefit from cross-functional and/or cross-hierarchical contributions. Examples may include accelerating product development, reducing customer complaints, speeding up the hiring process, or other business issues. In this meeting you will develop a measurable goal for the workshop and develop a process map of how the process (issue) works today.

Step 2: Select workshop participants (Done internally)

Identify 20 to 30 people throughout the organization who can work on the issue without regard to level or function. Try to get a mix of perspectives when identifying Workshop Participants. People should be selected for a Workshop based on their functional affiliation, association with a common company initiative, geographic area, or specific business unit.

STEP 3: Conduct Pre-Workshop Meetings (Time varies depending on the issue and number of participants, estimate one hour per meeting)

This step requires a series of “pre-meetings” with participants, facilitators, and decision makers to make sure everyone understand the issues, goals of the workshop, and commitment to resolving the issue. In this step, the facilitator will gather information about the issue, share expectations, and prepare participants for the upcoming workshop.

STEP 4: Conduct Workshop (Expect an 8-10 hour day)

In a typical workshop, the champion kicks off the session stressing the importance of fixing the problem. The champion will give a short overview of the issue and set the tone for the day. The facilitator will remind participants of the goals and timing of the workshop. After setting the expectations and reviewing the measurable goal for the workshop, teams can expect the day to run in this format.

A typical workshop would include:

  • Introductions (30 minutes)
  • Workshop leader or champion would energize the large group (30 minutes)
  • Focused Brainstorming (1 hour)
  • Break out groups (3 Hours)
  • Team on team review (1-2 hours)
  • Presentations by teams and decisions (2 hours)

STEP 5: Capture decisions and lessons learned (time will vary)

In this step either the facilitator or an internal champion will document decisions from the workshop and communicate the status to everyone involved. This step is ongoing with status updates until the recommendations have been implemented.
The facilitator (or designated person) also develops a “lessons learned” communication to everyone involved in the process of the workshop

Best Practice Summary

The steps above are a proven method to eliminate bureaucracy and waste in an organization. The goal is to make this process part of the fabric within the organization. Eventually employees can use the workshop tools to run their own workshops.  Adding the expectation that executives should run 1-2 workshops a month with a goal of measured improvement will drive the thinking and behavior within the organization.