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What is answer to this dilemma? I believe the answer is rooted in understanding the human factors that cause all of us to avoid moving from our current comfort zone to a new one. It appears that the companies that have been successful have been able to incorporate change because they have the courage to stop talking, stop promising, stop debating and just jump in the pool. In short .... take action!

How do you get a car started on a cold morning when the battery isn't dead, but doesn't have enough juice to start the car? It takes a Jumpstart.

Here are the critical elements that provide an effective Jumpstart for an organization to begin moving from one comfort zone to the next:

1. Declare that change is not up for a vote.

We must immediately end the debate about whether significant changes in how we run the business are going to occur or not. The answer is, they are! Pritchett & Associates have identified three absolutes for change: Change is here to stay. Change will not be problem-free. You are accountable for leading yourself and others through the change process. In short, make sure everyone in the organization understands that if they are not prepared to change, they should probably consider working elsewhere. What we need to do is not debate whether changes will occur, but help people understand what they can expect to experience and how to effectively overcome the human emotions that resist change.

2. Focus your resources.

Too much to do in too little time is a common feeling in many companies. "We have too much on our plate already," is a common reaction. The thought of adding more tasks immediately causes resistance. The answer? Pick a few things and do them real well. We simply cannot allow the organization to continue trying to simultaneously focus on a multitude of tasks. Acronym camps, JIT, MRP II, Empowerment, PEI, TQM, are killing us. We've made it appear that these are separate alternative approaches. Most people are trying to do too many things at the same time. While acronyms served an effective purpose at one time, we must disband them and get back to focusing on our business problems.

3. Results-oriented efforts.

In many companies, training everyone in the new concepts appears to be the objective! Implementing software, certification and Teambuilding 101, SPC 303, etc., appear to be the objective. Many companies even measure the effectiveness of their efforts by the number of people they've trained, not in the results they've achieved. We must identify the critical performance areas that need improvement, such as inventory reductions, shorter delivery times to customers, better product reliability, shorter times to market or whatever is critical, and focus on those few first.

4. A consensus vision.

Where are we headed and why? We need everyone in the organization to share a vision of how the place is supposed to operate. For example, we're going to run this business by getting everything done on time, we're going to manufacture in quantities that match our need and are yet economical. We're going to have partnerships with suppliers and measure performance on other than just invoice price. We're going to delegate responsibility for decision making and eliminate the costly layers of supervision. We're going to have schedules we can depend on and meet them 100% of the time in the factory with suppliers, engineering, etc. These are a few of the critical elements of the vision we need to explain to the masses. In short, we want everyone to have a common understanding and vision of how this company will operate in the future. The challenge then becomes overcoming the obstacles of getting from where are are today to reaching our vision. Progress will be measured not on reaching the vision, but hitting the interim short-term goals that are consistent with the vision.

To be Continued


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