Continuous improvement has difficult beginnings, overcoming resistance to change is a key challenge for organizations that embark on improving their processes. The leadership has to assume that the process of implementation and execution of these programs of change are not the first obstacle that restricts the natural impulse of our work teams towards this change.
Identify ways to help achieve real change during a long-term process, be open to the recommendations of experts on how to create a culture of success in improving our processes and learn from behaviors that may block the natural path of innovation, continuously renewing the commitment to change initiatives, will lead us to understand the real impact of the transformation in our business to achieve continuous improvement of processes at the same time as business performance.
The secret to unleashing a culture of unstoppable improvement
In a recent Webinar the CEO and founder of Promapp, Ivan Seselj, analyzed why companies fail in their efforts to improve their processes. Read on to learn a summary translated into Spanish of the seminar, and learn the basics to create a culture of success in improving processes.
Continuous improvement and cultural change
Why are some organizations successful, do more with less by continually increasing their effectiveness, improving their productivity and outperforming their competitors, while similar organizations in the same industry struggle do not? In general, human beings want to improve and do things better. The answer lies in the correct approach to continuous improvement. So, you can ensure that your organization has the right approach, and … do you get the desired advantages or improvements?
It all comes down to culture. The dominant culture of an organization has a great impact on the success rate of any change initiative. In general, human beings want to improve and do things better. The key is to normalize this behavior, that is, to make your company continuously improve naturally.
If the work teams are happy, with autonomy and motivated by a real desire to improve, then the sky is the limit. But if they are not committed, if they feel powerless and lack the motivation to drive change, it is what we call a weak process culture.
The signs of a weak process culture
While each business is different, the signs of a weak process culture are the same. There will be little or no collaboration and commitment among employees, overall morale will be low, and the initiatives will see high rates of failure during a change process.
This can become a rooted problem. In companies with a weak process culture, work teams go backwards in the change, no progress is made. Resistance to change is clear, you will hear statements like “Trust me, I’ve been doing this work for twenty years, I do not need to document it.” With that null attitude no one will be looking or talking about how to improve the process, and the general attitude toward This improvement will be one of the biggest drawbacks.
The causes of a weak process culture
The invisible leadership
The entrepreneur or executive and the leadership team believe that there are benefits derived from the investment in continuous improvement, but their support for this change is not visible (or worse, it seems that they are supporting it but fundamentally disregard this change of culture in the processes, and consider that it is merely a requirement that must be met).
The initiatives that reduce the power of the teams
When external experts are consulted to change things, the true owners of the processes, the people in the field, are valued. Otherwise, trust can decrease to collaborate and hinder the path of innovation.
The loss of momentum
Projects start with a big bang, but things quickly revert to the old way of doing things and often opportunities for improvement and therefore profits are lost.
Not Useful Process documentation
Pages and pages of process documents and tables filled with data that are complicated and indecipherable. If the staff needs help and can not find it immediately, it can stop or even completely cancel participation by weakening the progress (objectives) of the production process.
Improvements in silent mode
Basically there is no recognition of the improvement (if the achievements are not measured or quantified, the efforts that have been necessary are explained, without KPIs (metrics to quantify the advances), it is not visible, there is no celebration of success, without objective Without inspiration to succeed, there are no congratulations for success, the teams stop being motivated, to take care of their process.
If we revisit a business website that is not useful, that is not easy to navigate and contains pages and pages with huge amounts of data with a chaotic structure, we simply will not return to it. If the work teams can not easily use this information, then they will not use it at all.
How to make a viral change in positive
You may recognize some of the above causes in your organization, but the good news is that a weak culture in the processes may change.
Here are 5 key factors to unleash an unstoppable culture of improvement:
Demonstrate active leadership
Obtain the commitment of its leaders from the beginning, being clear that there is a problem that must be faced. Do what is necessary to find a point of attachment that makes the executive team sit down and take notes.
Talk to them in their language, not just numbers, with proof. Earn your respect. Show them messages written by clients, show them with results of customer satisfaction surveys or share with them comments from work teams.
Next, celebrate your successes and show them your support, highlight the best among them all. The entire organization must be visibly engaged to achieve the desired results. If they are not all on the same team, take the defeat accordingly.
Designate a Process Director (CPO) and Champions (Champions) for the different objectives of the processes. These are the management functions responsible for transferring or communicating the vision of the organization. The champions will assign the metrics of the objectives to be met and ensure that expectations are met and that the opportunities for improvement are really taken advantage of.
Ownership of processes can be divided into two levels, owners and experts.
Those responsible for the process are the people who are ultimately responsible for making the process work effectively. Process experts are the people who work at the lowest level of the processes. If they are able to work together, the processes will be kept up-to-date and any suggestions for improvement will become reality will add real value to your business.
Updating a process should be easy. Name their owners and experts, then provide them with the tools to manage their process in a simple way. Establish the expectation that the change and improvement must be continuous until the projects are finished.
Keep the momentum
Prioritize to guarantee that the improvement of the process is maintained day by day, establish a structure and a calendar to implement these improvements. Promote opinion forums of the processes and find the appropriate slogans to reach all the staff of your organization and facilitate their participation in these forums. Regularly carry out small improvement opportunities workshops in which your CPO participates.
Instead of making team employees feel like in an auditing session or a review of the process, focus on problems, opportunities for improvement and customer satisfaction. Sharing ideas and getting synergies between teams helps move forward more quickly.
Often, in the company, you may tend to the idea that process owners can not change their processes because this instills fear and worries about losing control simply because they ignore the fact that the owners of the processes are already doing the things to avoid it while developing and implementing the processes. By giving the owners of the processes more control, we formalize what is already happening and in fact give more transparency and control. If everyone has the opportunity to participate in the discussion, everyone will participate in the incremental change effort, especially the owners of the processes and experts.
Introduce useful process guide
If the documentation of the process is not easy to use, it must be changed. Teams must be helped to do things well, by learning new processes and giving documentary coherence throughout the organization, thereby strengthening it. Try to provide information that explains the process so well, that it is understandable (at a high level at least) in ten seconds.
If it is easy to understand and easy to use, the teams will return to it again and again. To make the information easily accessible by incorporating visual aids in the places and tools that the teams already use every day, so that the information of the march is available where and when they need it.
Good communication is what is needed for people to get involved in the changes and open up to them. So, how can I do this well? First, the most important thing is to choose the right people to be their champions of the processes and lead the change. They can not be high positions because they must be accessible, they must know people and processes from the inside out.
Keep in mind that if your champion leaves or is not suited, your culture process may be at risk. Below we can see other ways to make communication compatible with a culture of improvement:
- Celebrate successes because people love to be praised and are often more productive when their successes are recognized.
- Share information by sending automated notifications of process changes to all interested parties. You have to find a way to share what is happening, what is coming and what is out of date (out of target).
- Be interesting and interested. Healthy encourage the spirit of competence of the staff and have fun celebrating the achievements of the improvement exercises of the teams.
- Use discussion threads and make it easy for users to give feedback.
Building the culture of continuous improvement.
How to overcome the fear of change
For years, the focus of efforts to improve processes have been tools and methodologies at the expense of taking advantage of the true engine of change (the committed work teams, which are directed to improve and be successful).
Build and strengthen a strong culture of improvement in its place is the goal, their teams will feel more empowered to collaborate in improvement efforts and participate with the right attitude, converting their efforts in added value for their clients and for their business benefit .