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PART III. 

 

5. Spread ownership throughout the company. We've picked all of the low-hanging fruit.

The obvious opportunities with mergers, cutbacks, acquisitions, etc., have been orchestrated by senior management. Today we have millions of twenty-dollar problems that need to be solved. And we have the people to do it. It requires pushing the ownership for change and delegating the responsibility for making decisions down to the hundreds of men and women in our company.

6. Increase the knowledge base.

We can't expect people to invent cycle counting, methods for reducing changeover time, sales and operations planning steps, work cells, and a host of other tools that enable us to turn the vision into reality. Put a bunch of farmers in an underdeveloped third-world country that currently farm by turning the soil with a stick and planting the seeds one at a time into a room and ask them to brainstorm, and they will simply recommend sharper sticks. We must expose the masses in our companies to the modern tools for reengineering our business processes.

7. Build confidence with accomplishments. The transition from the current comfort zone to a new one is inevitably disruptive. People are skeptical, and rightfully so. There is a lot of apprehension. As Joel Barker puts it, "When a major paradigm shift occurs, everyone goes back to zero." We're asking people to take the skills that probably allowed them to get a promotion, increase their income, and raised their self-esteem and abandon them. A purchasing agent that has been effective using hardball negotiations, an expediter in the plant and the leader of the informal system all of a sudden see themselves as obsolete. And they are! We do have a place for them, but it's a different place.

Many people see these new ideas or new paradigms as high-risk.

A small minority will be enthusiastic. A small minority will be firmly entrenched and immovable. Most of the people will be curious and skeptical. It's the curious and skeptical that we must win over.

How?

Prove to them that new ideas can work by doing it!

While it is tempting to identify only a handful of opportunities that will achieve the maximum results, these opportunities will also be the highest risk, take the longest to do, and will be the most difficult. The initial focus must be to build momentum, not build immediate impact on the income statement and balance sheet. Let's initially focus our efforts on opportunities that contain the following characteristics:

1. Small, not global.

2. Can be solved by small groups, not large teams.

3. Require little, if any, executive approval before proceeding.

4. Are low-risk.

5. Make progress in areas that are important to executive management, particularly the General Manager or CEO.

6. Measurable results can be achieved in 90 days or less. Everyone wants to be on a winning team. We have to prove this is a winning effort. The volunteers will flock on board immediately, people will have time to participate, and the momentum will build with enthusiasm as the masses see a few people reaching the new comfort zone!

On one hand, this is a frightening decade. On the other hand, it's an exciting decade! Competitive pressures make it mandatory that we raise performance in your company ... or else!

Doing more of the same will only yield the same results. Therefore, change is inevitable.

Here's the good news. We've made changes before and not only survived, but are better off. We don't use the same equipment in our office or in the factory that we used twenty years ago. Yet when we brought in the numerical control machine tool, the word processor, or introduced a radical new product line, everyone resisted the change from the old. Just try to get them to return to the old ways today!

Focus on these critical elements to help structure an effective change process, and I guarantee you will see a Jumpstart in your quest for World Class Performance immediately!


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