Change just for change's sake can be very dangerous. The Learning
Organization is driven with a vision that is shared and understood
at all levels. This understanding is more than written words or
verbal communication. It has to be very specific yet allow the
individual to personally see himself or herself belonging to the
achievement process of the total. This then becomes their personal
vision of the whole. These visions bind us together in a common
bond, a breaking down of the layers and filters that keep us apart.
(See Figure 4.)
Building the Learning Organization
The conduct by which we run our manufacturing firms in the U. S. is
not innate. It was acquired through years and years of not having
any real outside competitive pressures. After World War II the U.S.
could do no wrong. Whatever we produced we sold to a market that we
dominated. This domination was not a result of superior talents, but
in fact existed because we were the only ones to buy from. As our
success moved forward we patted ourselves on the back and evolved
into our present state.
The state that we find ourselves in is not a painted picture. It is
a living process that has evolved over the years, composed of
countless social interactions. It's like a river whose form and
velocity are determined by the balance of forces that tend to make
the water flow faster and the forces of friction that tend to make
the water flow more slowly—these forces establish a balance of
counteracting forces to give an 'Equilibrium In Movement'.
The speed of production, as with other aspects of manufacturing
must be understood as an equilibrium. Once a flow is established,
certain self-regulatory processes come intoplay to maintain a
relative constant flow. Special occasions may bring about momentary
changes for a small amount of time in the social atmosphere between
management and workers, which in turn, effects a short lived rise in
production or quality. When the "shot in the arm" fades out, the
basic forces will re-establish the old forms of every-day living.
These are the forces that must be torn down in order to establish a
new learning pattern and bring permanent change.
The Learning Organization requires change. Change of leadership
forms in every aspect of the manufacturing process. Change must be
powerful, enduring, and interwoven into everyday business activity.
Change must encompass the way we run, measure, and communicate
within our business environment. This change should include
increased emphasis on human values, "Kill The Grapevine, Promote The
Facts." Change must occur in a group atmosphere to build a strong
Change implies that the leadership must be re-educated to build up a
strong foliowership. The process requires training of leaders and
leaders of leaders to build a pyramid that reaches into the entire
organization. Max Depree, Chairman & CEO of Herman Miller Inc. says,
"Leadership is an art about giving employees space so that we can
both give and receive such beautiful things as ideas, openness, joy,
dignity, healing, and inclusion. Leaders owe their workers a
rational environment that values trust and human dignity and
provides the opportunity for personal development and
Techniques of Change
1) Change has to be in a group atmosphere.
Change has to be a change of group atmosphere rather than of single
items. Technically this means that change cannot be accomplished by
learning tricks. As individuals we are connected or interwoven into
all aspects which effect the life of our company. This is correct
psychologically as well as historically. This can be shown if we
look at ideologies within different countries. Let's take a look at
the United States—a real melting pot of different nationalities,
races, and religions. It took many years for the U.S. to actually
enter World War II and only after it touched upon a common thread
that binds us together as Americans. The bombing of Pearl Harbor was
a shock to reality. This created the strong "we feeling" that bound
us together as a nation and forced us to that action. Prior to Pearl
Harbor there were many factions within the U. S. that were strongly
supportive of the United States helping our allies. But it wasn't
until we were jolted into reality that we actually declared war.
It's these common values that are at the foundation of the Learning
Organization. When the industrial age began, people worked 6 days a
week to earn enough for food and shelter. Today, most of us have
these accomplished by Tuesday afternoon. Our traditional
hierarchical organizations are not designed to provide for people's
higher order of needs, self-respect and self-actulazation. American
manufacturing companies will continue to flounder until they begin
to address these needs, for all employees.
Group work begins to build these common values and creates a strong
"we" feeling. Group work also provides each employee the opportunity
of sharing the problems as well as the decisions that effect his or
her life. Group work is the mechanism that unleashes our greatest
resource and at the same time increases morale and overall
commitment. These are accomplished by setting up a cross
functional structured process involving employees in problem
solving teams to augment change and achieve improvement in
quality/cost/productivity at the same time. The result is a dynamic
increase in our overall organizational effectiveness.
To be Continued
For balance of this article, click on the below link:
Lean Manufacturing Articles and go to Series 02
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