W. Edwards Deming the father of modern day business improvement techniques is very clear that people are not the dominant cause of errors.
When things aren’t going so well many leaders default to assuming the fault lies in their people. Does that surprise you, or would it be your natural instinct as well? Have you done that recently?
I hope not but I do get it. When so much time has been spent developing a process, no matter how simple or complex, and its been tested (that’s a whole other big subject) but then things go wrong. Surely the fault has to lie with the people. They don’t understand the system, haven’t been properly trained or they are lazy. All typical statements that are so often plain wrong!
So, if the problem isn’t the people then where does the issue lie. That can be the £1m question and sometimes not an easy one to answer.
Knowing what is going on in your business is absolutely key to finding out where issues may lie. Indeed, by knowing your system, the people, and processes inside out you can predict and stop many issues from arising; or have a plan to manage when it does happen. Not knowing, on the other hand…….need I say more?
A great example of process investigation comes from a large confectionery manufacturer. They had a serious problem on the production line of one of their key ingredients in one of their many factories. The reject rate was so high they had to buy in the ingredient from other factories and their overall production output plummeted causing national shortages in shops. This was a major issue attracting global corporate attention.
The engineers and the improvement teams did everything they knew. They studied the charts, moved the dials, the heat settings – everything but nothing changed; other than getting worse. Then one individual who really understood the entire process from beginning to end suggested that maybe the issue was outside the factory – with the cows supplying the milk. That turned out to be the answer, the difference between winter and spring and their feed which affected protein levels.
A huge learning for that company and for us all. Know the entire process, ask the right questions, don’t just jump to conclusions (our pet theories). Get the right people involved, they will surprise you with what they know and how much they can help with improvement.
Tricordant work with many businesses and organisations of all shapes and sizes and this is an all too common issue. We know from experience and research that poorly organised work wastes money and damages people. This improvement idea is designed to equip you to save money and allow your people to flourish in meaningful work.
Our Tricordant Guide e- book ‘5 Winning Ideas to Improve your Business Results’ contains more information on this to help you on this part of your improvement and growth strategy. For each of the winning ideas I have also produced a short video and some further written material delivered by email to help guide you to achieve results and continued success.
In the e-book one of the winning ideas relates to refining your processes and contains some tips on what you can do. One of the earlier ideas though is that of embracing your eco-system. I place that right at the heart of any improvement initiative. Knowing what is going on in your business is absolutely key to finding out where issues may lie. Indeed, by knowing your system, the people and processes inside out you can predict and stop many issues from arising; or have a plan to manage when it does happen.
Let me leave you with a top tip;
Don’t blame people for errors, but they are great at fixing them.
Its time to grow, to improve your business and your leadership in the process.
Getting started on your improvement journey has 3 simple action steps:
- Read the e-book and watch the videos
- Decide which improvement idea you want to start with
- Be a successful leader focused on growth and improvement
So, read the e-book and watch the videos.
Within an hour you can be on your way to feeling like you are growing; knowing results will follow and you are learning to work with your team in a whole new developmental way.