Most organizational/team improvement initiatives we undertake involve change – from current state of affairs to desired state. Change is hard and painful and necessary for growth/survival. Process improvement is all about managing change – and in my view, change (and its respective benefits) does not happen when you:
- Keep thinking big without starting small: It is easy to get overwhelmed by the large goals you have set for improvement. But remember – the best way to eat an elephant is one piece at a time. Focus on big, but start small. Think about a few key things you can do now, that will take you one step nearer to your goal. You don’t make things better by thinking about it, but by doing something about it.
- You focus solely on “enforce” rather than “enable” and “educate”: Changing habits and hence culture is a long term thing. Unless there is enough buy-in for a change, it does not happen. Best way to implement change is to educate people, enable them and hence empower them. Enforcement only results in dispassionate compliance.
- Think too much about things you cannot change: There are things you just can’t do anything about. Worrying too much about them means loosing focus on what is in your control. I remember a prayer which says, “God, grant me the serenity to accept things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.” Be wise!
- You think change is all about processes: Its not. Change is all about people and their habits. Processes are merely tools that guides them through the change process. Process acts as a compass, but people follow it. Lot of process consultants overly focus on compliance, standards and processes. Focus on people instead, and processes will not only be adhered to, but also improved upon by the same set of people.
- Are a “sole warrior” in improvement/change initiative: If you are the only one who wants change in an organization, it doesn’t happen. All improvement initiative needs sponsorship from the top. People observe people at the top and emulate behaviors. Setting right examples and taking improvement initiative seriously goes a long way in building a constantly improving culture.
But why do we change, you may ask! This quote (I read it somewhere on Twitter) answers your question: “We change when the pain to change is less than the pain to remain as we are.“
Have a Wonderful Wednesday!