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What Are the Core Values of Process Improvement? Part II

If you haven't read Part I, please see link to Part I.

In order to assist professionals in combating the common pitfalls associated with making this leap, process improvement manifesto had been created, a listing of core values, originally published in Process Improvement Handbook: A Blueprint for Managing Change and Increasing Organizational Performance (McGraw-Hill Professional, 2014), that serve as a guiding approach that can help transform the entire organization, from the front line to the executive suite, allowing it to renew itself continuously for lasting value. The 10 tenants of the manifesto are as follows:

  1. Agility: Process improvement values agile and iterative improvement. Because change is inevitable, organizations that wish to continuously improve must be able to nimbly adjust to and take advantage of emerging opportunities. This involves focusing on flexible work and planning practices tailored toward incremental improvement.

  2. Quality: Process improvement values quality in all aspects of process improvement, from process creation to retirement, including process, people, and technology changes. Organizations that understand and focus their attention on all facers of quality, from the beginning of transformation initiatives to the end, experience superior results.

  3. Leadership: Process improvement values leadership that is proactive and open to ideas for improving all aspects of an organization. Leaders who communicate and inspire a clear and compelling vision for the future have teams that are more engaged and open to improvement opportunities.

  4. Communications: Process improvement values open communication and participative decision making throughout improvement efforts. An organization that recognizes that everyone has a point of view and should have the opportunity to voice opinions, ideas, and experiences is generally more innovative in its improvement designs.

  5. Respect: Process improvement values collegial working relationships throughout process improvement activities. An organization's success depends increasingly on an engaged workforce that has a safe, trusting, and cooperative work environment. Successful organizations capitalize on the diverse backgrounds, knowledge, skills, creativity, and motivation of their workforce and partners.

  6. Discipline: Process improvement values organizational discipline and maturity. Companies with high organizational discipline and that perform business processes in a standard, repetitive fashion are more competitive and usually leaders in their markets. Ensuring a disciplined approach to all process improvement activities helps ensure thorough and robust solutions are implemented.

  7. Enterprise perspective: Process improvement values the consideration of what is best for the organization as a whole rather than specific departments, focus areas, geographies, or individuals when making decisions and conducting day-to-day work. Ensuring process improvements meet not only the needs of those involved with the activities in question, but also the larger enterprise ensures time and money are not wasted deploying and redeploying solutions.

  8. Service orientation: Process improvement values the notion that process improvement activities provide a service to companies, departments, sponsors, individuals, the community, the consumer, and the profession. This involves doing what is right for the customer in question and endlessly providing expertise for their benefit.

  9. Continuous learning: Process improvement values training and educating those involved in process improvement efforts. The primary objective of training is to provide all personnel, suppliers, and customers with the skills to effectively perform quality process activities, and to build this concept directly into an organization's operations. This practice enables continuous learning within the organization and promotes improvement and process-oriented thinking.

  10. Human-centered design: Process improvement values the consideration of what is best for customers of a process (operators and end consumers) when designing and implementing process solutions and improvements. Ensuring processes are user-friendly for those executing their activities helps maintain positive morale.

Process improvement organizations that embrace these core values are capable of

  • Quickly adapting to changing requirements or market factors.

  • Significantly reducing the risk associated with continuous improvements.

  • Accelerating the delivery of business value to customers.

  • Ensuring that value is continually being maximized throughout the continuous improvement process.

  • Meeting customer requirements faster and more efficiently.

  • Building innovation and best practices that help reach new maturity levels.

  • Discovering hidden knowledge and expertise within their workforce.

  • Improving performance and motivation across all areas of the business.

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