In part 66 of the TLS Continuum Series I discussed that the missing ingredient in process improvement was the buy in to the process by management. There is another critical element that we did not discussed in the earlier segment.

In reviewing the evaluations from a recent seminar presentation one individual stated that the least valuable part of the program was the final project in which they were asked to create an improvement project around an organizational problem due to the fact that the management of his employer would never let him do it.

Those of you who have children more than likely read the book shown above to your children or had it read to you as a child. If you remember there is a section of the book where the engine said I think I can, I think I can.  Napoleon Hill in his seminal work wrote, “what ever the mind can conceive and believe it will achieve.” It shows that if you enter into an improvement effort with the feeling that you are doomed from the start you have no change of success.

The initiation of the TLS Continuum begins with a subject member expert on the front line understanding that as an organization you are not meeting the demands of the client. The voice of the customer is telling the organization that you are facing a critical problem. By responding that management will not allow you to resolve the customer’s issues, you are telling the marketplace two strong messages. The first states that your customers do not count. We tell the customer that the solution that they require is not the way we do things here. We appreciate your payments but if you wan to do business with us it will be on our terms and conditions.

The second view is that as an organization we are satisfied with presenting to the marketplace that we are content with producing products and/or services that are less than what the customers need and are willing to pay for. One organization stated that quality was job one but produced products that were defective. Our job is to produce products but not to listen necessarily to the customer demands.

The TLS Continuum, when applied correctly, lays out the obstacles to the demands of the customer and what we need to do to resolve the issues. It requires the belief that we have the tools and abilities to undo the defects before they become an issue. This means that you need to be willing to take the risk to present to management the potential solutions along with the pros and cons of the solution options even if you might fail. It means that you need to be willing to challenge the status quo of the organization and show why moving into a new direction is a requirement to make your organization great again.

Like the little engine we need to have the feeling that we could resolve the pressing issues. Like the little engine we need to be willing to try and make the case why the proposed solution will be correct path for the organization. We read the Little Engine that Could to our children to instill the belief in our children that if they try they can achieve what ever they want to. The downside is when they become adults society gives them the message that we should not rock the boat. The dual messages defeat the potential to resolve our pressing problems.

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