Imagine a scenario where everything moves along smoothly with no problems. Imagine you have the power to wave a magic wand and every problem solves itself. For many members of management this the way they face reality. They forget the process is called Continuous Process Improvement. We do not have processes that just move it on. We do not have a problem with which we can wave a magic wand in the air and call the problem resolved. So when we become complacent and base our actions on the belief that once we resolve an issue that is the end of the story each an every day.
In the real world the scenarios suggested above don’t exist. We use the critical thinking tools to identify the obstacles to the processes. But that only clears up one obstacle. When we remove the obstacle inevitably there is another obstacle behind that one, and another behind that one and so forth for as long as the organization exists. When I am talking to members of management I emphasize that most likely they will repeat this problem solving method once every three to five months. The TLS Continuum methodology resolves one problem and as you implement the solutions generated it brings up new problems that you had not seen before. In order to remove these next levels of problems we re-implement the Continuum process on the organization. This is why we call it continuous process improvement.
Dangers of Complacency
Danger #1 – it makes you forget to look for the other subsequent problems. It makes you comfortable in the status quo rather than seeking out ways to make the organization better.
Danger #2 -Complacency forces you to believe that you can wave the wand and problems disappear.
Danger #3 – It means that your organization has forgotten how to take ownership in the process.
Danger #4 – It means that management can be planted in the misbelief that everything is fine. You do not make critical decisions when you believe that there is nothing wrong.
Danger #5 – Complacency makes your subject matter experts believe that there is no longer a need for their skills and knowledge because everything is fine. As humans we deplore change and would do anything to avoid it. The staff begins to think that when a change is announced it is nothing more than the usual change of the month. Combine these two views and you have an organization that is seeking the shortcut to process improvement. Hand it to them on a silver platter so that they don’t have to do anything.
Understanding the implications of the dangers of complacency can boost your organizations chances of implementing ongoing successful continuous process improvement. The failure to understand these implications can lead to consequences beyond the immediate place and time. The failure to comprehend the dangers can lead to organization making decisions without the firm organizational improvement pieces in place. It is your choice as to whether you are ready for continuous process improvement or just process improvement. One is the path to successful change the other is a path to failure of the organization to meet the needs of your customers.