The third month of summer has begun and in the mini-series I have written about for successful improvement, we are now in the fifth and final phase. It’s time to put what you’ve designed and then built into operation. Out in the real world and now it’s time to reap the rewards.
Never come here
I mentioned in the previous weekly newsletter that many will never go beyond wishing for improvements. They never get any further than the workshop. Perhaps because they haven’t understood the importance of actually redesigning their business to get where they want to go.
It’s not enough to say “let’s do this, shall we?” and then hope it works out the way you want it to. You have to move from words to action to succeed.
You have now worked through the four phases:
- Planning and organising
- Mapping and understanding
- Vision and design
- Develop and implement
This means that, based on your well-founded plan, you now have a series of priority processes that you have started to work on. One at a time or in parallel, it depends mostly on resource availability. The process that you have then mapped out so that you understand how it works, you have also designed where you have decided how you would like it to work if it worked in the best way.
You have then demonstrated the benefits of this through your benefit analysis and you have detailed how you will develop the process to take the first steps towards the desired process. You’ve done that too, you’ve built the first version of your new process and you’ve trained all the relevant stakeholders so they understand how the process will now work.
Someone is responsible
So then you just have to turn the ignition key. But who is leading the new process? Well, it’s the process manager, which is a new role in most organisations. Each process has two parallel flows; one is the flow that creates the value, the other is the management of the process itself.
Creating the flow, that’s what you’ve been working on mapping, designing and developing in the previous phases. Leading the process is in itself a standardised flow that all processes use. The person acting in the role of process leader is the one actively working in this flow.
The process leader is of course already appointed at this stage. This has happened most recently when the process started to be designed. So that person has been involved in designing and developing the process, and is in a way well versed in the process.
The Deming Circle
Leading a process follows the so-called Deming circle to a large extent. It consists of four steps and is also called “the mother of all processes”: the Plan-Do-Check-Act.
In the Shaper of Business Excellence method, we have added a fifth step and specified the others. This means that in managing our process we follow the five steps:
- Ensure conditions
- Leading, communicating and following up
The five steps go in a circle and from step five you jump to step one again. It never ends, as long as the process is running.
It is important as a process leader and as a process group to get the above flow into their work in the process. The steps above are represented all the time, over and over again.
Some processes spin this wheel, or circle, once a day, while others once a week and still others once a month or quarter. The frequency varies according to the nature of the process and the lead time of the process, as well as the number of cases the process handles.
An important tool you need to work on in this is to have structured meetings in steps 4 and 5. We call them Kaizen meetings, where “kaizen” is the Japanese word for “good way”.
It is through these meetings that you will get a handle on how the process is going and what you as a group want to do to improve it. This is often lacking in our existing operations.
“Stand up meetings” have spread as a technique, which is good. The problem only arises when you try to monitor the department and not the processes. The focus is not right and it is not possible to identify what really needs to be changed.
How to succeed in your improvement work – 5 steps to make your work easier, more fun and more efficient
I would like to give another shout out to the training How to succeed in your improvement work – 5 steps to make your work easier, more fun and more effective.
It is a two-day training that takes place in mixed form; both with recorded material and also live.
Here we look at what is possible when you succeed in your improvement work. You will learn some important basic skills to succeed, but you will also learn about what it looks like in other organisations, both in Sweden and abroad.
We will go through a variety of good examples. In addition, we will also take a closer look at what digitalisation is and can do to help us succeed.
Click here to sign up for the entry list. Of course, it is completely unconditional and you have not committed yourself to anything, but only said that you want more information.
Certified Improvement Leader
This autumn also sees the start of the next round of the Certified Improvement Leader training, which is now upgraded with the latest version of the Shaper of Business Excellence improvement methodology.
The phases are:
- To plan and organise your improvement work.
- To map and understand the current state of the business for each priority process.
- Creating a vision and designing the future improved situation.
- To make all dreams come true and to develop and implement the greatly improved process.
- And, as I mentioned in this weekly newsletter, leading with continuous improvement, which is a new, more focused leadership than many are used to.
During training, we go through all the phases and all the steps involved, so that you can easily follow the recipe. During the course, you will be able to apply what you learn to your own business in parallel and all the time.
Are you interested in learning more about how you too can succeed in your improvement work and how you could lead and drive this work? Then I think you should sign up for the entry list for one of the courses. This means that you will receive more information before it is released to “everyone else”. I will also be able to answer your specific questions about your improvement work.
For How to succeed in your improvement efforts, click HERE.
For Certified Improvement Leader click HERE.
I wish you a happy August and I’ll talk to you next week.