1. Build on local practices
We start from existing local practices and learn from simple improvements which are commonly used in our workplaces instead of looking for outsiders’ examples. This is because participants are motivated to make voluntary improvements by looking at these local examples. “Build on local practices” is therefore a practical and realistic approach. This approach is flexible and helps everyone use their capability for concrete actions instead of studying textbook models. By this approach, we can make a step-by-step progress through voluntary actions.
2. Focus on achievements
Local good examples from the local workplace and community are emphasized. We praise existing good practices and learn from existing achievements and do not criticize mistakes or small deficits. In this way, we can learn locally feasible solutions. And communication between managers and workers is promoted. The real examples achieved in local conditions are more convincing to local people than many well-arranged theories of outside specialists. These local examples show the benefits and clearly tell how to make similar improvements.
3. Link working conditions with other management goals
Attention is drawn to the close link between improved working conditions and higher productivity. Solutions to everyday production-related problems are also improvements in working conditions. Improving safety and health is the quickest way to reach business goals. This also means that we can make improvements in multiple technical areas at the same time. By knowing the positive impact of multifaceted improvements, collaboration within each workplace can grow and lead to useful outcomes.
4. Use learning by doing
By repeating up discussions about proposing low-cost improvements, participants learn how to plan new improvements. This is different from many training courses that tend to start with knowledge transfer and then proceed to attitude and practice. To fill the gap between gained knowledge and its application, PAOT adopts a shorter way.
By discussing existing “three good points” and “three improving actions”, participants learn how to look at good examples and how to propose locally feasible improvements. In this way, good training effects can be secured. When we visit the community, they may ask for technical help or for training activities. Some training courses are actually necessary, however it is also true that there are some courses for which it is not worth spending money and time. Instead of concentrating on upgrading knowledge in the community by conducting training courses, encourage them to undertake some small trials suited to their needs. This simple idea will create many more solutions. PAOT helps participants become familiar with the learning-by-doing approach through activities such as applying an action checklist, organizing group work to share experiences and identifying feasible action plans.
In this way, we can learn locally feasible solutions. And communication between managers and workers is promoted. The real examples achieved in local conditions are more convincing to local people than many well-arranged theories of outside specialists. These local examples show the benefits and clearly tell how to make similar improvements.
5. Encourage exchange of experiences
Exchanging successful experiences is useful for multiplying improvement actions.Exchanging experiences can stimulate the self-reliance and helps reinforce actions in each local situation. Encouraging the exchange of experiences will develop friendship and collaboration among PAOT colleagues and build amicable teams, at the same time providing incentives for future work. It is known that the success of some people will motivate and stimulate the actions of others who are in similar situations.Organizing various achievement workshops to share success stories is a practical way to continue improvement actions and move toward better solutions through stepwise progress.
6. Promote people’s involvement
PAOT programs are more successful by involving local people in the whole training sessions. Participants also learn how to involve local people in planning and implementing similar simple improvements at their own workplaces. Repeating group discussions and presenting the results can surely involve participants in an active manner. Conducting games, brief physical exercises and questions-and-answers can help. It is particularly important to involve all the participants in planning future actions and presenting the plans be themselves.