What Are the Core Values of Process Improvement? Part I

Delivering value efficiently to the customer, enabling people to lead and contribute to their fullest potential, discovering better ways of working, and connecting strategy, goals, and meaningful purpose are all critical components in creating a process improvement mindset. All members of an organization must work together to combat waste and redundancy, while also working to prevent the growing number of errors and missteps plaguing true organizational excellence, such as

  • Leaders not willing to develop themselves or change their mindsets, behavior, or style to overtly model the changes they are asking of the organization.

  • Not adequately or proactively attending to the emotional side of change, such as not designing actions to minimize negative emotional reactions or not attending to them in constructive ways once they occur.

  • Buying leading edge rather than best fit. The latest and greatest technology on the market might be impressive, but it may not be what your business needs.

  • Selling process improvement as a way to lower costs. This is a short-sighted approach that curtails human involvement and forces initiatives onto employees instead of creating an ongoing mindset of improvement.

  • Misdiagnosing the scope of the organizational change either in magnitude or by initiating only technological- or organizational-based initiatives. This frequently leads to solving only part of a larger systemic problem.

  • Not securing management buy-in for process improvement initiatives or failure to link project goals with strategic imperatives. This can lead to wasted cycles or effort focusing on nonissues or priorities.

  • Not considering processes in the development of technology or product or system implementation, leading to superficial change and extrapolations of conclusions and wrong decisions based on inductive information.

  • Optimizing part of an organization or process at the sub-optimization of the whole.

  • Running organizational transformation through multiple separate or competing projects instead of aligning all initiatives into one unified effort and ensuring the integration of plans, resources, and timelines.

  • Not creating adequate capacity for the organizational change--setting unrealistic, crisis-producing timelines and then laying the change on top of people's already excessive workloads.

  • Not adequately addressing the organization's culture as a major force directly influencing the success of organizational change.

  • Not adequately engaging and communicating with stakeholders, particularly in the early stages of the organizational change process; relying too heavily on one-way or top-down communication and engaging stakeholders only after an improvement is completed.

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