With No Ideal State, Stagnation Sets In
I repeatedly get asked, “Why do we need to have an ideal state?” There are a few ways I have answered this. For example, it gives direction for improvement suggestions. Is it worth working on if we aren’t improving in the direction of the ideal state?
The best reason I give for developing an ideal state is it helps to eliminate stagnation.
How many times have you heard, “Our process is better than it ever has been,” or “Our process is better than industry standard,” or “People benchmark against our process.” These are just a few comments that throw up a red flag that the organization is satisfied with their process and not continuing to improve. When digging deeper, the organizations that have grown stagnate have done so because they have no ideal state vision they are striving towards.
It is easier to keep an eye towards improvement when an ideal state has been developed to help give direction to the organization. If stagnation becomes a problem people can point out the ideal state and question what the organization is doing to get closer to the ideal state. This should cause a feeling of uneasiness that jump starts more improvement.
Stagnation and complacency becomes the norm when there is no ideal state to help remind and motivate the organization. Someone might suggest the process is as good as is going to get if there isn’t the defined ideal state to say, “No. This is where we want to get to.” In some cases, we may never get to the ideal state, but we must keep moving in that direction.
The next time you see an area or organization that is stagnant in their continuous improvement efforts ask them what their ideal state is. I would be they don’t have one.