One of the sure ways to fail in any operational improvement initiative is to keep thinking about possible areas of improvements sitting in comforts of a corner cabin. Your thinking, approach and mindset may not necessarily align with those affected by such improvements. In worst case, you might not even be aware of the actual challenges faced by your teams and frontline managers.
For identifying “real” improvements, you need to talk to “real” people on the floor doing the “real” work – building solutions to customer problems, managing them, talking to them and facing operational roadblocks on a day to day basis.
Real improvements are always “practitioner-led” – people who are most affected by an operational challenge are involved in defining the solution. It helps you bring out “solutions thinking” within your team. As a bonus, it also generates better buy-in when you implement the improved process.
If your operational improvement ideas are not coming from people at all levels within the organization, you need to revisit your improvement strategy. Fresh thinking is needed on how you treat your people, align them to organization goals and empower them.
When your process improvement strategy follows a “top-down” path – people will dispassionately comply and their real problems may not even be addressed. When it is “bottom-up” – people are a part of the game. Involved. Aligned. Thinking. Ready to make a difference!
P.S: The focus of my last few posts has been improvement – and I continue to think more and more about it. If you read this post in continuation to the previous ones, it may extend a better view of how improvement should be handled. Here are the links:
Wish you a productive week ahead and a GREAT Monday!