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Process improvement is occurring at many organizations throughout the world. Yet people constantly ask about how to get started. How do you get your organization moving in a direction of continuous improvement?
First off, you have to have Management Commitment. The obvious question, then, is how does top management show commitment to change and improvement? The answer is about inspirational leadership, it is about communication. To be an inspirational leader, one needs to be a great communicator. Management commitment takes both leadership and communication.
Second, it takes SMART Objectives. Planning by management must result in clearly defined objectives that the organization can work towards.
Third, in order to achieve the SMART objectives, the organization will require operational Action Plans with accountability and responsibility for each action. This means the Who-What-When is spelled out for proper execution.
Fourth, you will need a User Focus. Defined customer requirements, an understanding of the voice-of-the-customer — your customer, and a method of constantly integrating your customer’s requirements into your processes.
Fifth, there has to be Profound Knowledge, which results in your ability to anticipate results. Really understanding your customer, your markets, and your processes lead you to anticipating what your customer needs next. How do you reach this state?
Sixth, you will need to learn and implement Management By Fact, which will lead you to profound knowledge. Collect the facts from data, use the data to derive information, and obtain knowledge about your customers, markets and processes.
Seventh, in order to manage by fact, you will need the facts in the form of Real-Time Data. Your processes will require increased visibility and transparency. Real time data is needed to build a strong competitive advantage. The longer the delay in getting data, the slower your reaction time is and the less competitive you become.
Eighth, with so much going on you will need a good Change Management System that can document and control all of these changes. This will build on your system of management by fact and lead you to greater profound knowledge.
Ninth, Execution Audits, internal audits or process audits. Either way you will require a system of monitoring to ensure that the system is working, that your change management system is effective, and that you are in fact achieving progress towards your SMART objectives.
Tenth, still unsure of where to start? Then Continuous Learning is needed to build your knowledge management. No improvement will take place unless knowledge is identified, acquired, shared, and used. Training, learning and practice are crucial to build competence.
What are these Performance Improvement Drivers?
- Management Commitment (Leadership & Communication)
- SMART Objectives (Goals)
- Action Plans (Accountability, Who-What-When)
- User Focus (Customer, Employee, Supplier)
- Profound Knowledge (Anticipates Results)
- Management By Fact (Data, Information Knowledge))
- Real-Time Data (Visibility)
- Change Management System (Documentation & Control)
- Execution Audits (Monitoring)
- Continuous Learning (Improvement)