If this is in any way a description of your company’s continuous improvement program you need to step back and ask yourself what in the world you are doing.

How did we find ourselves in a place where we use a Japanese word for continuous improvement to mean the exact opposite? My polite answer is lazy leadership.

I have seen it time and again where companies launch a Lean initiative, a Six Sigma initiative, or even a Lean Six Sigma initiative. An executive goes to a conference, hears about great results from the XYZ Company, returns home and announces the next great thing. They then immediately finds someone to foist the initiative off on–creating a support organization in the process. Wipe hands, smile … job well done! What can they do next, they ask!

Continuous improvement must be integrated into the fabric of the organization–it is, by definition, everyone’s job, every day. And making it that way starts at the TOP of the organization, not the bottom.

So the hired continuous improvement guru comes riding in to save the day, and to build a new empire! And they CANNOT do what needs to be done: integrate improvement into the fabric of the business. So, instead, they do what they can do: orchestrate events! Kaizen Events! Sounds sufficiently exotic to pass for ‘value add’.

There are organizations that make quite the to-do about these events, drawing cross functional teams that come together and spend the first DAYS getting organized, picking their team name, designing their team tee-shirts, group picture, and of course … the catered lunches. It can be quite the festival! What fun!

Then the group descends on the workplace to transform it, more pictures, celebrations. High Fives!

If this is in any way a description of your company’s continuous improvement program you need to step back and ask yourself what in the world you are doing.

Examine your bottom line; do you clearly and unequivocally see the impact made by each of these events?

No? Then call us for a complimentary consulting session and we will help you get your program back on the rails.


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