Game Changing Improvements Hard to Discuss

Kaizen events are multi-day improvement activities aimed at creating change to a process.  During the event, the improvement team understands the current state, defines an ideal state and then develops a plan to create change headed in the direction of the ideal state.

Sounds simple enough, right?

Most teams don’t have any trouble discussing the ideal state.  The team can state the ideal state of a process but don’t necessarily believe they will get there anytime soon.

The hard part comes when discussing how the improvements they can make happen will change the process. Too many times I have seen groups scale back the improvement ideas.  They try to just change a few things within the current process.  The team has a hard time making bigger changes, even if it is just a recommendation.  In organizations where lean is not prevalent and traditional management behaviors have created silos and squashed improvement ideas from the employees, the employees do not believe the bigger changes they want will be put into action.

There can be time during the event spent convincing the team it is the right thing to recommend the bigger changes even if they think the leadership will not accept the changes.  It is about painting a picture.  The team has to walk the leadership through the current state and have them understand where they are.  Then paint a vivid picture of the ideal state.  More times than not I have seen the intermediate future state accepted by leadership when a vivid picture is painted and current and future state maps are made to make the process come alive.

Improvement teams cannot be afraid to recommend what they believe is truly the best option.  If the team feels strongly the leadership will not like it, then there is nothing wrong with having a Plan B.  But, never start with Plan B until you have tried everything to get Plan A bough into.

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Posted on May 10, 2012, in Communication, Engagment, Improvement, Tools and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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