I get around. Once upon a time in my life that might have been an epithet, but now reflects a wide exposure to what works, doesn’t work and what is clearly a cop out. There are five requirements for a successful process improvement program or five attributes that give a program a chance of success. They are:
- The best and brightest
- Understanding of change management
- The wish to change
- A commitment to change in dollars and cents
- Recognition that implementation matters
The best change programs are staffed by people that have a solid track record of success both technically and in business terms. The right candidates will have a high follow-ability quotient. Follow-ability is combination of a number of attributes; including, optimism, successful, collaborative, vision and leadership.
Change management is a structured approach to shifting/transitioning individuals, teams, and organizations from a current state to a desired future state. It requires planning for selling and promoting ideas, then supporting the nascent changes until that have achieved critical mass. Make sure your process improvement group has someone trained in change management. Skills will include sales, promotion, branding, communication and organizational politics.
I have observed many change programs that were created to check a box. There was no real impetuous within the organization to change. The organization must want to change; to become something different or the best a change program can do is to put lipstick on a pig.
Having a commitment to change in dollars and cents is critical. I suggest funding the process improvement program by having each of the affected groups contribute the needed budget. The word contribute means that they can choose not to renew funding if they do not get what they need. The funding linkage ensures that the funding groups stay involved, and at the same time makes sure the process improvement team recognizes their customer.
Finally the recognition that implementation matters is the capstone. Process changes, unlike spaghetti, cannot be tossed against the wall to determine if it is done. How a process change is implemented will determine whether it sticks. An implementation plan that integrates with the organization change management plan is part of the price of admission for a successful change.