|Why Improvement Efforts Fail|
Why Do Improvement Efforts Fail? Or Just Not Sustain?
There are many reasons, but those most often stated, are “lack of commitment” and not “following the process”.
But why is there “lack of commitment”, and why aren’t “processes followed”?
Here are a few of the reasons that I’ve seen:
• Too Much Focus On Tools Vs. People.
Analytical Tools and Improvement Process Steps are important, but people are more important. And it’s not about "selling" them, or using “change management” tools to have them accept whatever the “really smart” people have come up with. It’s about involving them (all of them) and having them own the process.
• Communication Not Emphasized, Structured.
Without communication, disruptive, damaging paranoia develops between workgroups, between shifts, between departments, between individuals, etc, that destroys involvement and ownership.
Casual, now and again, conversations, and major presentations are only a small part of what it takes. Communication has to be structured and orchestrated, everyday routine, and flowing both ways.
• Not Knowing And Respecting What Is Already In Place.
Every organization does some things well, and the people there have pride in their particular organization (even despite what they might tell you).
To ignore this is insulting and arrogant. Too many times the “Everything here is wrong" attitude is evident (and even sometimes outright stated) by program “experts”. Setting up “negative waves” like this never helps. Use what’s in place as a start.
• Developing the Elite vs the Majority.
Improvement is an “everyone” thing. It's too easy to just work with the bright, energetic people and count on them to carry it all.
But most people are hesitant or unwilling to accept what they haven’t had some involvement in developing, or improving. And besides this is ignoring a huge pool of capability
Everybody brings something to the party, but may be unwilling to share for many reasons. Their past ideas have been criticized and not welcomed. There are peer pressure isssues, There are trust issues. Etc, etc. But sincere, routine involvement efforts can overcome these.
• Improvement Events Vs Routine Improvement.
Big events are good at generating interest and knocking out a lot of work in a short time.
But the heart and soul of sustaining improvement is getting a solid everyday routine process to have everyone continually dealing with the many, many, many small opportunities.
• Focusing On Solving Specific Issues Vs Developing People.
It’s just too easy to get absorbed in solving specific issues and using specific problem solving techniques vs. using the issue solving process as a way to develop people.
But there will always be plenty of issues and opportunities to deal with, the scarcer commodity is the capability to deal with them, and even scarcer, the ready motivation to do it.