To avoid the costs caused by the absence of cleanliness and order, you can introduce a work methodology that was born in Toyota, known as the 5’s, because it’s a five point guideline to keep the workplace in perfect conditions and because each section is represented by a word in Japanese, all of which begin with an S. Let’s see the 5’s applied to golf.
1. Seiri: separate unnecessary elements
“Seiri” means “separate unnecessary elements” in Japanese. The first thing you must do is to identify those things that you need at your workplace, in order to separate those unnecessary and throw away those that are not essential.
In golf, you only need one club for each shot, taking away everything around the ball but the strictly essential. Why shouldn’t we do the same at our workplace? Let’s put everything where it should be to leave room for the best swing possible.
2. Seiton: Place necessary elements
Seiton is a word that means “keep your work tools tidy”, decide where each one should be kept and find a place to store it, label the place assigned and keep that place only for that tool. The more visual the system, the easier to follow.
In golf, you usually carry each object in one specific place of the golf bag. Most golf bags have dividers to keep the clubs arranged by groups or even individually. There is also a pocket for balls, another one for the water, one for personal objects and even one for the scorecard. If you keep everything in place you won’t spend time looking for what you need and also avoid damaging the grip of the clubs.
3. Seiso: Remove dirtiness
Seiso is a word referred to keeping the workplace clean and tidy. Doing so improves the work environment and helps reduce accidents, mistakes and the time needed to execute each task. You can summarize it in one phrase: “The best way to avoid cleaning is not dirtying up”.
In golf, it’s inevitable to stain a club or the ball in every shot, as there’s grass and soil in the course, but you have to keep the mud away from your clubs for a better performance. You must also keep your shoes clean in order to avoid slipping in the middle of a swing.
4. Seiketsu: Signal anomalies
Seiketsu promotes to avoid clutter and dirtiness through standardization, staff training, visual check and improvement of the cleaning procedures. Signaling anomalies or those things that are not working properly is the way to keep with seiketsu.
Signaling in the golf course is vital for a good performance during the golf round. For example, obstacles are marked with posts of different colors, so the players can identify them easily. Distances to green are also indicated to help figure up the shot to the flag. When there is something unexpected, an anomaly, you can signal it with blue posts or paint, or indicating “ground under repair”.
5. Shitsuke: Keep improving
“Shitsuke” is all about keep improving procedures, and is typical in Toyota’s work methods. In order to do so, you must apply the method described above over and over again. You can always improve, because there are always new needs to meet and problems to solve.
Golf is a sport where you must always be willing to improve. If you don’t, it’s difficult to keep up, as it’s a very challenging game. Besides, that desire to improve is what more satisfactions gives you, and judging by my own experience during more than 30 years of practice, it’s worth it.