Over the years I’ve lost count of the number of conversations I’ve had with clients (and potential clients) about what they can reasonably expect to have to do in order to embed Continuous Improvement (CI). Whether it’s Lean, Six Sigma, BPM, or whatever, training is not enough. A recent conversation focused around implementing Lean and I suggested that there were five areas that needed to be addressed in an implementation strategy…
Training and Communication are merely enabling factors; necessary, but not sufficient. There need to be activities to drive out waste, using Root Cause Problem Solving and other relevant tools. There also need to be activities focused on creating Flow and the improvement of end-to-end processes (or Value Streams).
Finally, without active, visible Leadership and (usually) changes in behaviour starting at the top, any improvements are likely to be unsustainable. Leadership issues that need to be addressed include the choice and use of Measurement Systems which can all too easily drive and reinforce the wrong behaviours. The right measurements help track Continuous Improvement and provide useful inputs for Communication.
So, however much Training people get (and often it’s “just in case”, rather than “just in time”), for any implementation strategy to stand a chance of succeeding, all five areas need to be addressed.
You’ll find more articles on managing successful Change and Continuous Improvement on my Knowledge Sharing pages.