Daily Management: The Hidden Ingredient for Op Ex Transformation

Daily Management: The Hidden Ingredient for Op Ex Transformation

Do you face challenges instilling an aggressive continuous process improvement culture?  Are the improvements you make impactful and sustainable?  As we all know, implementing change is not easy, especially when a change involves altering people’s paradigms, actions and behaviors.

People-related issues are often the most challenging issues we encounter when implementing Lean and Operational Excellence.  This is particularly true and most pronounced in organizations that are in the earlier stages of their transformation.  Unfortunately, as business leaders and practitioners, we often devote more focus on technical solutions than on human and cultural solutions, which I refer to as ‘soft engineering’ solutions.  However, it’s the soft engineering solutions that are needed to implement change effectively, truly sustain the gains, and cement the foundation of a continuous improvement culture.

What we need is a socio-technical solution that marries several systems together to include: human behavior development, performance management, change management, fact-based problem solving and leadership coaching and accountability.  When these systems are integrated together as one complete soft engineering solution and then married with the myriad of technical improvement methods of Operational Excellence, it results in a framework called Daily Management.  Implementing the Daily Management framework creates the right culture and mindset, and drives the desired behavior and performance of everyone involved to support the organization’s continuous improvement objectives.

The following questions evaluate your organization’s ability to successfully execute on a select number of soft engineering solutions that are essential to Daily Management.  Many of these are related to management’s effectiveness in designing and executing soft engineering solutions.

  1. Do the leaders and managers in your organization consistently demonstrate your operational excellence guiding principles that define the behaviors and rules you want people to follow?
  2. Do leaders and managers effectively apply a system to instill the guiding principles, coach people in their application, and hold everyone accountable to apply them?
  3. Do managers and their team members work together to clearly define and mutually agree upon each team member’s performance expectations and ways of working?
  4. Do managers proactively work with their team members to close their knowledge, skill, and performance gaps?
  5. Do performance measurement and reward systems drive the desired behavior and business performance results?
  6. Do leaders and managers effectively hold themselves and their team members accountable for performance results, taking action, and continuous improvement?
  7. Do change agents apply an effective change management process to address and resolve impediments to change?
  8. Do Lean Champions dedicate the required time each day to ensure that leaders and managers adopt and effectively execute to the performance expectations listed in the seven questions above?

These and a number of other soft engineering and technically related questions must be answered to have a clear picture of the socio-technical performance gaps that may exist in your overall Lean/Operational Excellence transformation and continuous improvement systems.  However, answering these soft engineering questions critically and taking the appropriate steps to resolve any deficiencies will not only improve the culture, attitude and alignment of your organization, but also improve the foundation and performance of your transformation and continuous improvement efforts.

About the Author: David Dubinsky is the President and Founder of Op-Excellence, a management consulting and coaching firm dedicated to helping clients transform their businesses via Lean and Operational Excellence solutions.

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