Think about your organization carefully and what do you see? Whether you are a manufacturing operation or a service organization you each have the same basis for the success or failure of your organization operation. That basis is a collection of processes that are unique to your individual corporate culture, visions and missions. The problem is how do you view those processes.
I am involved in the research for a new book devoted to making our educational institutions more places of quality efforts much like many of your organizations. One of the themes I hear is that many members of your organizations think we can identify the problem(s) and find a quick solution making everyone happy. The problem is that this not the way things work in the continuous process improvement arena.
I facilitate a 2-day seminar on the delivery of the TLS Continuum to the HR function in which we begin with the statement “welcome to “How to Become the Critical HR Leader You are Meant to be: Achieving HR Excellence through Six Sigma.” Over the next 14 hours we will take you on a journey. It is like no journey you have ever started, as it has a clear beginning but no definable ending. This is due the fact that process improvement if done correctly is a continuous process. “
The continuous process improvement effort, if done correctly, never ends. Using the critical thinking tools of the Theory of Constraints we identify those things in the process that are holding up the process. We use the Lean tools to remove the obstacle and then the six sigma tool box to ensure we deliver a standard of work. However if you are like most organizations this is not the end of the process. When we resolve one issue it creates potentially another one further down the chain. The only solution is to start over again from the beginning and resolve this issue in the same way.
The person who expects that the TLS Curriculum is the perfect answer to our problems misses the basic point here. The TLS Continuum is not a solution. It is not the perfect answer to our problems. In science, we use the scientific method to conduct inquiries into a ecosystem problem. The TLS Continuum is the business version of the scientific method. In order for it to resolve your critical problems there are several required conditions that must be in place.
Results must be evidence based
Like the scientific method, our improvement efforts must be originated in actual data. The data you use in trying to identify real solutions are based on some type of information that shows why the customer is not having their needs met in their relationship with your organization.
Results must be creditable
There is good data and there is bad data. The data must be able to withstand the scrutiny of the organization and the stakeholders. If the data we use is based on a bias towards one way or another then the wrong data becomes useless.
Results must be verifiable
Like the scientific method the results have to have a high change of being the same if another individual in your organization were to create the same results if they did the same thing you did. Would the results be the same?
Results must be repeatable
Finally the process must be able to be completed the exact same way the next time you try to resolve the same issue. The TLS Continuum in its final stage seeks to remove all variation from the process being improved.
In the beginning of this blog, I discussed the tendency of some people in your organization thinking we are seeking the definitive answer to the organizational problems. This happens when we do not clearly explain the problem solving process and what it means to the organization. Note that I did not state that we did not clearly explain the problem solution. The TLS Continuum is all about how we go about solving the problems it is not about solutions. The TLS Continuum is the way to understand that as we resolve the problems via the problem solving efforts we are only clearing the organization for the inevitable new obstacle appearing within the organization. You find that you have a new failure to meet the needs of the customer. The solution is to repeat the TLS Continuum steps to resolve this new issue. However you must also understand that once the new issue is resolved in about a six month period another issue will arise.
The next time your organizational assets are looking for the quick solution remind them that the solution process is a cross-functional effort that involves the view of the entire organization from management down to the rank and file FTE’s. The road to the end solution to your problem is not a clean effort. It will have obstacles to the obstacle. It will involve naysayers who claim that they have proof that it will not work. It will include naysayers who define the organization in terms of the old culture claiming that the new suggestions do not fit into the way we do things. In order to bring about a successful resolution to the issues with stakeholders we need to implement the powerful tool to bring about process improvement on an ongoing effort.