Home > Articles

  • Print
  • + Share This
This chapter is from the book

No Standard Change Approach

Disparate improvement groups typically use different approaches to making performance improvement. There is a difference between groups, but there is also a difference within the groups and often even an individual will use different approaches at different times. The driver for this is that there is almost always a clear understanding of the need for standards set around operations, but that same level of understanding doesn’t extend to the need for setting accountability to follow a standard approach or roadmap in making change.

The problems this causes are multifold. It leads to inconsistent and therefore unpredictable timelines. Projects often start slowly with reasonable discipline but then have to accelerate when organizational patience runs out. Acceleration is synonymous with cutting corners and making decisions based on gut feel. Change agents have to “give their best shot,” and decisions are assumptions at best. Also, due to the unpredictability in timelines, it is very difficult to predict future resource requirements, which leads inevitably to all kinds of project resource clashes later. It also makes it very difficult to understand the current status of projects, and without a good yardstick for progress, activity tends to just drag on. The statement “A conclusion is where people [the organization] got tired of thinking” is highly appropriate here.

The differences in approach can also cause frustration in individuals and between groups. Change Agent A is held to performing with a higher level of rigor and chided for not making progress quickly enough, whereas Agent B isn’t fettered with the same approach and brings change (not necessarily the right change, but change nonetheless) more quickly and is aptly rewarded. This quickly drives an “us versus them” mentality between groups. The problem is exacerbated when trying to resource projects. The more disciplined group may find it difficult to get project teams together since their approach perhaps isn’t as exciting or just takes too long. People in general seem to prefer the adrenaline rush of “shooting from the hip” to the grind of working through the details. Subsequently there is erosion over time of the disciplined approach and its credibility, which likely will have a larger and insidious negative impact on the organization than just failed individual changes.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account