Change Does Not Happen by Accident!
Many managers think that sitting in a conference room with multiple functional directors is the key to organizational success. At the end of a two-day fiasco, you will certainly have deliverables such as the following:
- Exhaustive list of key performance metrics, indicators or goals
- A cleverly crafted paragraph that will look absolutely fabulous printed underneath a company logo and hung on a 3' x 5' banner
- Possibly even:
- Specific strategic initiatives for functional departments
- Capital planning
- Intellectual property usage planning
- New product development focus
Something happens between the end of the aforementioned meeting and the next scheduled meeting. The goals, KPIs or strategic initiatives never manifest. What prevents the well-intentioned plans from coming to fruition. The problem is related to chemistry: There was no catalyst.
Cultural Katalyst(c): Some whole-heartedly attempt to execute the strategic direction of their senior managers. The problem is that the manager fights years and years of cultural programming and it is difficult, at best, to beat the programming of dozens or hundreds of associates who are locked into their current state of affairs.
There are multiple Cultural Katalysts(c) that can be capitalized on to start the cultural improvement process. Some of these are organic and some have to be induced. Once the katalyst is in-place, driving the cultural change becomes less dependent on random success and more about executing a plan. Consider the Cultural Katalyst(c) as primer a wall before applying the paint.
Cultural Kaizen(c) Cycle: The usual approach to continuous improvement is haphazard at best. One of two strategies taken by organizations is:
- Option 1: Get a consultant to solve our problems of Continuous Improvement
While this might seem as a detractor from one of my chosen professions, it is the absolute truth. You cannot put all of your eggs in an external basket or you will be reliant on that basket for ever. A good consultant helps their clients put systems in place so that they can sustain their gains and cut the expense of the consultant
- Option 2: Throw some mud against the wall and see what sticks.
This is also the flavor-of-the-week improvement process. You have heard this occur in familiar fashion such as: "Let's roll out 5S" or "GE uses six sigma; we should too." Its obvious that unfocused attacks cannot possibly build a culture OR improve the process.
The Cultural Kaizen(c) Cycle takes process improvement to the next level by developing an overview of your organizations process and culture. The process improvements will be strategically mapped and the cultural impacts of each process will be considered and leveraged to create the maximum possible benefit.
Sustainment Cycle(c): Although continuous improvement is a lifelong journey, the step-change that occurs from before the Katalyst(c) to after the initial push of the CulturalKaizen cycle must be perpetuated. There are an additional set of tools that must be utilized once the bar has been raised. This is the single biggest opportunity to fall backwards.
The above is an overview. We will discuss each in detail in the next 3 posts: