Posts Tagged ‘journey’

Quality #14: Process Improvement and 3E’s

by Tanmay Vora on January 25, 2010

The next installment in the QUALITYtweet series is: Process Improvement and 3E’s

Here are the first thirteen posts, in case you would like to go back and take a look:

  1. Quality #1: Quality is a long term differentiator
  2. Quality #2: Cure Precedes Prevention
  3. Quality #3: Great People + Good Processes = Great Quality
  4. Quality #4: Simplifying Processes
  5. Quality #5: Customers are your “Quality Partners”
  6. Quality #6: Knowing what needs improvement
  7. Quality #7: Productivity and Quality
  8. Quality #8: Best Practices are Contextual
  9. Quality #9: Quality of Relationship and Communication
  10. Quality #10: Inspection can be a waste if…
  11. Quality #11: Driving Change Through Leadership
  12. Quality #12: Middle Management and Quality Culture
  13. Quality #13: Reviews can be fun (if done right)

#QUALITYtweet Lack of 3E’s can be your biggest road blocks

in improvement journey. Empowerment, Education,

and Empathy

There are many reasons why a lot of improvement initiatives fail. However, top three reasons for most of the failures are:

1)      Lack of Empowerment

2)      Lack of Education and Training

3)      Lack of Empathy

Lets carefully look at each one of these culprits, and what you can do about it:

Empowerment

All improvement starts from the top. Most of the top leaders would claim that they want their processes to improve and efficiencies to increase. However, their best intentions to improve processes do not translate into actual commitment to improve. They assign responsibility of process improvement to a group but tend to bypass the processes themselves for short-term benefits. Worst yet, they assign responsibility of process improvement to a team and then reallocate the same team when faced with an immediate need of those resources. Leaders set a wrong precedence when they do this, and often create a culture where bypassing processes is considered normal. Lack of empowerment also means that people are not allowed to make mistakes. As a consequence, people responsible for or interested in process improvement initiative soon lose interest and move on and organization looses substantial time and effort already spent so far.

What can you do about it?

  • Map your intentions with your actions on process improvement.
  • Assign ownership and divert all communication related to improvement at one point.
  • Set expectations clear on goals and purpose of process improvement initiative.
  • Welcome innovation and let your improvement team make mistakes.
  • Announce your process improvement goals and track the progress.
  • Announce the results as well.
  • Periodically review improvement efforts and results.

Education

Either most people are not aware of the best practices or they don’t know how to apply those practices in given situations. Technology folks are deep into technology, but they don’t necessarily go deep into processes and practices. This is where continuous education is required. People need to be trained on processes and best way to implement them. When people don’t know the process, no wonder they will not use it optimally.

What can you do about it?

  • Set up a process training calendar throughout the year.
  • Ensure that all new processes, practices are propagated across the organization.
  • Set up a process advisory function for current/new projects.
  • Create best practices group and empower them to explore/share their expertise.
  • Have right knowledge management tools that help you in spreading process awareness.

Empathy

Process improvement can only be effective when process has an “empathy” element into it. If applied rigidly, processes can become your biggest barrier in solving your customer’s immediate problems. Empathy means accepting that processes may still not be able to solve all your/your customer’s problems. Empathy also means accepting that processes cannot be rigidly applied to all situations.

What can you do about it?

  • Understand the situation in which processes are applied.
  • Understand the larger context.
  • Assess if processes can be applied in an “as-is” state or would it need some tweaking.
  • Learn from unique situations and improve processes to include those scenarios.

As a first step to your process improvement journey, even if you focus on these Three E’s, your journey will become much easier and fun

Start Early, Drive Slowly And Reach Safely

by Naveen Lakkur on September 7, 2009

If you are thinking that I am referring to a journey, then you are right! I am referring to the journey of an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurial journey has 3 parts to it:

  • The Start;
  • The Drive and
  • The Finish.

All the stated 3 parts are important to be a winner.

Early/good start provides great possibility to win a car race event (any event, for that matter).

ent-startWhile there’s no age bar for entrepreneurship, early start in one’s life has its own advantages. The risk taking appetite is higher, flexibility curve is better and they are in the listening & doing mode. While experience brings some advantages, it also equally brings in constraints/mind sets. If you study a wide spectrum of very successful entrepreneurs, majority of them had started their journey of entrepreneurship early in their life.

While speed determines the fate of a race event, the preparation phase is time consuming or slow as the process could be elaborate…. as activities such as the car selection, tuning of the car performance, fitness training of the driver, etc., is all time consuming/slow and elaborate.

ent-journeyWhile the business needs to happen at the speed of thought, it’s important or it’s a prerequisite to provide a lot of care in building an organization. Things take time to build and manage the right team, to fulfill the Vision/Mission of the organization; inculcate and live right values set forth for the organization and to build great brand value for an organization. There should be no hurry or compromise on these aspects.

The finish determines the result. The enjoyable moments on the podium receiving the winning medal is determined by the finish you have.

ent-finishWhile you have built a good organization, it can be great only if it translates into an enterprise (it’s true if an organization is either built to last or it’s built to sell). Great entrepreneurs give equal care to handing the business over to safe hands as much as they do to starting and operating an organization.

“Start Early, Drive Slowly and Reach Safely” – that’s the winning formula for entrepreneurship.