In a past post we shared some perspective about assessing workforce capability as well as leadership when planning a change or improvement initiative. Among other things, it was noted that without engaged, effective leadership it is difficult to implement the changes that are necessary for achieving a culture of continuous improvement.
Effective leadership is about driving change. The ability to anticipate, lead and manage change is a critical indicator of organizational success.
But, of course, change does not “just happen.” It takes place when leaders at all levels see opportunities and get others to share their passion about what can be accomplished.
Strong leaders provide the initial and ongoing energy for change. Without strong leadership, most change efforts will fail. As noted in our previous post, implementation is the key step. Simply making speeches, declaring a new mission or vision and handing out short-term rewards alone will not cut it; management must advocate, lead and support change, and do so not only at the “launch” but throughout the implementation phase and beyond.
It’s also important to remember that people will only follow leaders if they trust them, if they see the need for change, and if they are involved in creating the change. Change is brought about by a combination of strong leadership, human relations systems, beliefs, values and cultural practices. They are the true catalysts to sustained change and improvement.
Continuing our theme of “value-added” work, which in our previous post we defined as “the work our external customer would be willing to pay for if they knew what we were doing,” today’s post focuses on the first steps an organization might take to increase the percentage of total work that qualifies as being value-added.
It’s important to recognize at the outset that while customers may be willing to pay the price we ask, all of the waste is still on our dime!
And… every bit of waste that we eliminate can be taken right to our bottom line!
Many people and functions play a vital role in helping the internal customer provide value for the external customer. These are the folks on the edge of the value stream; some of them might provide key enablers such as technology, safety, or information to those creating the value for external customers, and some might remove the ‘debris’ (through inspection and rework) or impediments (through process improvements) to the swift flow of value to the external customer.
If we can eliminate the root causes of the “debris and impediments,” then the time we save can be redeployed to creating more value and making more money.
The core value-add of a manager is to study and improve the system of work. By using the insights and information of people doing the work and knowledge about improvement tools and methods, a manager improves the system of work so that everyone’s performance improves, more value is created, and the organization becomes stronger and more profitable.