It has always amused me how far we have come with our knowledge of how things work, or more appropriately how to make things work and having the technology to do this faster and better.
Yet even with the lastest computers and methodologies such as Six Sigma, Lean, Value Stream Mapping and more, we still hear individuals and companies say that they still have problems or the “tools” did not perform as they expected or their company/product profile is different and is not like any other, or they say they are performing as good as they ever could so do not need to improve or change.
It was obvious something was missing that tied it all together. The tools do work, the computers can help speed up the process – The impression I get is involvement. Sometimes the involvement of ALL stakeholders was not requested, other times it was rejected and yet others were due to fear of BEING involved.
In reading on this I found that most experts in these areas actually do state up front – involve all the stakeholders or your improvements will not work.
It is the big picture that often gets missed, so much emphasis is placed on “fixing” the immediate problem that the real problem is missed. So much can be achieved by making sure everyone has their say. I am not saying they will all agree and that is the next challenge. But with people feeling they have not been heard, there is no way that you can get anyone to stand behind any percieved improvement process, especially if they disagree with it before it even started.
The crazy thing is, when everyone is clear about an issue AND they all feel safe enough to talk, improvements happen organically and when the right tools are used, absolutely great things can happen.
My own journey is to involve people, get them engaged and to learn to use as many tools as possible to help build the future (as the saying goes – if you only have a hammer, everything looks like a nail!).
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