Have you ever wondered why it’s so difficult to make sustainable improvements to an under-performing area of your business? Well, there are 3 key ingredients we need to have in place before we can expect any improvement at all.
WILL,SKILL and OPPORTUNITY
‘WILL’ is all about the motivation of the team to want to improve the under-performing area. How important is it?Is it just one of many things on a long list of things to improve? What’s in it for the team if they do improve it? A bonus? a promotion or just a good old-fashioned well done? If the area is of importance to the business then it should attract plenty of attention from senior management, especially if it affects profitability or has cost-saving opportunities. So, firstly we need to make sure that the responsible team are sufficiently motivated to want to solve the problem or improve performance.
Secondly, the responsible team need to have the SKILL to be able to improve. In many organisations we come across there is an assumption from management that people can improve something if they put their mind to it - a lot of these organisations however don’t invest in their staff when it comes to business improvement and consequently results are disappointing. The next time you get chance, ask your team how many different improvement tools they regular use in the workplace -you may get a lot of blank faces! If however, they come back to you with a list including 5s, Kanban, Fishbone, 5Y’s, Pareto, SIPOC, FMEA, Gemba and so on, then a big thumbs up for you -your team are clearly skilled at improvement.
Finally, the last ingredient is OPPORTUNITY. Having the WILL and SKILL is not enough if the team are so busy with the operational ‘day job’. So, what mechanisms do you have in place to give your team the OPPORTUNITY to put WILL and SKILL together? If the ‘day job’ and an improvement project go into the boxing ring there will only ever be one winner -yes you guessed it, the ‘day job’.
So the next time you are frustrated with a continually under-performing area in your business, say to yourself -"we have a missing ingredient” but is it WILL, SKILL or OPPORTUNITY?