I want to apologize in advance for some of what I have to say in this segment of the TLS Continuum Blog series may make you uncomfortable. If we look at society as a whole, we find that our lives seem to be surrounded by the need for instant gratification. Earn an MBA and expect that it entitles you to a management slot in your new organization or even the old employer. Management leans toward issuing edicts that says they want something done to resolve a problem yesterday. We have a problem just fix it. Read Jonah Berger’s new book, The Invisible Influence, and we find that there is a tendency for the community to follow what everybody else thinks. The problem is that this tendency in many cases is not grounded in creditable, verifiable data. The problem is that this approach does not accept the reality of change management.
As I have expressed in earlier segments of the TLS Continuum series, the TLS Continuum presents to your organization is a clear path to resolve problems stemming from the failure to meet the voice of the customer. The problem here is that the fixes to the voice of the customer are not quick fixes. They do not bring instant gratification to you or your organization. The TLS Continuum is a well-defined, well-disciplined methodology designed to create solutions that are based in creditable, verifiable data. Like the scientific method application used in the high school science classes, it presents a roadmap to resolve an issue. It DOES NOT deliver the solution.
Beginning with the use of the critical thinking tools of the Theory of Constraints, our purpose is to identify those issues that are causing the customer to take issue with our service or products. What is that single issue that is holding up the flow of work through the organization? We can’t and should not grasp a solution out of thin air and expect it to resolve the issue. It is only through careful measurement and analysis that we can derive the potential solution(s) to the needs of the customer.
Once we have completed the identification of potential solutions and determined the best one for our situations we use the lean tools to remove the obstacle that caused the customer to be unhappy. Finally we take the new normal process and develop the standard of work using the six sigma tools to ensure that the problem does not return.
At its best the Rapid Workout and the GE workout are based on a 90-day turn around from the identification of the problem to the solution being delivered. 90 days is not a quick fix. 90 days is not instant gratification. It is time that management and the organization as whole understand that we call it continuous process improvement for good reason. It does not happen with the turn of the hands on the clock. It happens with specific actions, taken at a specific time with a specific process not the solution. The “quick fix” only happens after we have established the basis for the change in the process and to the satisfaction of the customer. Want to improve your operations and eliminate the customer generated problems? Forget the need for instant gratification and quick fixes.