Six Reasons Improvement Efforts Fail
by Tom McBride, Partners for Creative Solutions, Inc.
In this rapidly changing global environment it is
increasingly important that businesses constantly improve the processes they use
to serve customers. A vast number of
organizations have achieved dramatic improvements using philosophies like Lean
Thinking and Six Sigma, while others have failed. Here
are six mistakes to avoid when undertaking any improvement program.
to motivate the organization - Leaders
at every level must clearly communicate why change is needed, how the
process will work, and how it will impact employees.
Leaders must also demonstrate their commitment to the improvement
process and establish expectations for everyone in the organization.
Motivating workers to provide their best ideas and efforts will set
the stage for success.
of visible leadership – Nothing will stall a project faster than the
feeling that it is not worthy of management’s attention.
Effective leadership requires more than just voicing support or
managing from afar. It means
frequently displaying an interest in how things are progressing and giving
feedback. It could include
frequent visits to the improvement site or taking a more active role, such
as leading an improvement team. Showing
genuine interest will motivate and encourage those carrying out the process.
training – Employees at all levels need training to help promote a new
awareness, develop new skills, and encourage new habits.
Without adequate training, employees will not be equipped to provide
their best contributions. I
generally recommend overview training for all employees in early stages,
followed by more thorough training as it is needed.
having improvement experts – Improvement experts help teams and
individuals produce superior results. Either
outside consultants or internal “gurus” can be effective; however,
outsiders will not be distracted by other duties and will provide a fresh,
focus – Resist the temptation to introduce change too fast.
Too many improvement activities at once will strain resources and
stall progress on everything. It
is much better to first focus on two or three projects that are critical to
success of the business and begin others once the critical few are complete.
making improvement part of job expectations – Everyone needs to
accept improvement as an integral part of their job and not as an “add
on” activity to be done as time allows.
Avoiding the above mistakes will boost the yield from your