Unleash the Power of your People

Okay, we’re now going to move on to unleashing the power of your people for improvements. Sometimes when I go into companies, it can seem like their improvement efforts are all about methods and tools. But this is not the case improvement is about people. We’ve seen that so far in this course, your people working together using problem solving tools to improve the processes that they know and work with every day will be the most powerful form of improvement. The Four Laws of improvement that we’ve talked about a rule ultimately about unleashing the power of our people to make improvement happen. So how do we get people involved in improvement? Well, there are a number of factors that need to be put in place. For example, as managers we need to lead by example, and drive and encourage improvement. We need to inspire people to To come together to improve their processes, we need to set clear goals based on customer value and working together to improve. And we need to motivate people to get involved in the business and get involved in improvement. As managers we need to teach and mentor improvement skills. We need to be facilitators of improvement. We need to encourage and enable teamwork to take place. And we need to set a joint vision of working together for the success of the organization. How do we get them enthused and energized? while of course it’s about leadership. And I believe that the essence of good leadership is summarized by this quote by john seven people do what you count, not necessarily what counts. So people follow management’s lead, and they pay attention to the things that managers pay attention to people come to work. Do the right thing. Very few people come to work to deliberately perform badly, and managers paying attention to the issues that matter will result in action in those areas. So when that management attention is focused on improving the process for the benefit of the customer, then improvements will begin and will flourish. When that management attention is focused on making the numbers no matter what, then staff will keep their heads down and avoid getting into involved avoid getting blamed for issues. So it’s all about engagement. making change happen is about clarity and focus, clear objectives for improvement, and a focus on the values of working together for everyone’s benefit. leaders need to be very clear about what matters to the organization. And they need to establish that very clearly in the minds of everyone involved, through procedures, policies, measures and feedback. Laying out Some sort of customer first vision, and then just reverting to the old behaviors about making the numbers will not work and will convince nobody. The most difficult question in improvement and in involving people in improvement is how do we make the time for improvement. Making the time to do improvement consistently and regularly is one of the hardest issues in management. We’re all busy all businesses and organizations are busy nowadays, making regular time for improvement is a challenge. improvement team needs time to meet and to work through the stages of improvement they need time to analyze the process to do their value stream map to analyze the problems using the Ishikawa diagram for example, typically, half a day a week for a team is a good starting point. And projects can last four to six months. So we may be committing 24 hour work days for a team of say 5678 people to an improvement effort. And that’s quite a significant investment from a company. And it’s also quite difficult to make that time available. People may be required from different teams across the organization as well. They may need to be available at the same time on a regular basis so that the team can meet and do their work. There are no easy solutions to this. It requires management commitment, you have to give to gain, you have to put that commitment in place. A good way to start is to pick a process which is performing poorly for the customer, and to make the time available to start to improve that. And once the benefits of that start to be seen. It’s much easier to commit time to other activities and processes in the organization.