I got into a discussion in the past days over the use of acronyms. The comment was passed that nobody understands acronyms so why use them. So for you who are reading this blog let me give to the basics of the TLS Continuum.
The letters TLS stand for the three components of the continuum. The letter T stands for the Theory of Constraints. Created by Dr. Eliyahu Goldratt in his book “The Goal”, it is a critically thinking based system for determining where the obstacles lie with in your organization. Through the use of various stools it asks you to determine where the obstacles are in the process. The purpose of the TOC involvement in the continuum is to determine what needs to be changed, how to change it and how do we accomplish the change. TOC or Theory of Constraints operates at the level of the chain looking for the weakest link. It is in essence the hypothesis of the problem solving method overall.
The letter L stands for Lean. Most organizations are familiar with the concept of lean. It is centered around removing waste from the organizational processes so that the customer receives their orders faster. Understand that faster may not mean cheaper or better quality, it means only that we expedite the process.
The final letter is S and it represents the concepts of Six Sigma. The primary goal here is remove variation from the processes.
If we combine the three letters of the acronym what we find that the TLS continuum is organized around a process in itself. We use the Theory of Constraints to locate and identify the obstacles within the system. What is holding up the process? Where is the weakest link in the process? Bob Sproull has provided the perfect view of this action in his piping diagram as shown to the below
From the diagram you can clearly see that the weakest link is the point where the flow is narrowed at Point E. With the introduction of TOC, the system asks you to elevate the obstacles and determine how to remove them.
We use lean to do what it is meant to do and that is to remove the obstacles. We have identified the obstacle and determined through the critical thinking tools how to remove that obstacle and then use the Lean tools to actually remove the waste.
Finally the system utilizes the Six Sigma tools to create the standard of work and remove any variation from the process. When we do this we have completed the improvement process by creating a progressive system for resolving the problems that occur within many organizations. It is an evidence-based effort to identify, remove and improve the system so the problem does not reoccur.
How does this apply to HR? The TLS Continuum provides with a roadmap to guide you through the improvement process. The graphic for that roadmap appears at the top of each segment of the series of posts related to the topic at hand. It helps you explain why one organization discovered that the job requisition was reviewed and approved three times in the course of a hire, by the same person. It helps explain how one organization was able to reduce the time to hire by 61% in six months. When we recognize that the improvement process is tackling a world system as proposed by Dr. Lawrence Miller, then we understand that the TLS Continuum is a vital tool in resolving those world system problems and system obstacles. It is a dynamic system designed to provide you with new insight into how your organization operates and processes flow. The base is not concerned with whether you are talking about a process that produces something or a process that produces in the need run a widget such as a candidate for an open position or the introduction of a new mindset to the organization.
Take the time and learn more about this combination of continuous process improvement tools. It will be the best thing you can do for your organization and more important for the improvement of your professional life and career.