Today organizations are looking not only to increase but also to accelerate value for the customers and shareholders. Complexity is the biggest obstacle that they must overcome to achieve these goals. It is usually an unwanted outcome of organizational growing that emerges because of working in silos by adding SKUs, tasks, processes and procedures without an E2E approach. The unintended accumulation ends up in a higher level of complexity than the required to attend to customers and market needs. The type of complexity which organizations are facing is “dynamic” because the causes are not only separated from effects in space but also in time. This means that is not obvious for a process observer to know which the drivers of both outputs and outcomes are, hence a “deep dive” of some sort is needed. Although the impact on operational performance and costs, organizations tend to “normalize” abnormal situations and quite frequently problems became part of the processes. Organizations prone to include problems as part of their BAU combined with the dynamic nature of complexity are the most important barriers that any continuous improvement process must overcome. It is of a fundamental importance to understand that the current way of working is not only supported by management and work systems but also by beliefs that underlie decisions and actions at all organizational levels.
Leadership to create transparency and manage E2E capacity
The delivery performance affects directly customer satisfaction and it will be determined by the current capacity management. In order to make the best possible use of current capacity it is essential for leaders to adopt not only a customer centric but also an E2E approach. This will allow to have a more streamline process with a reduction in lead-time and an increase in delivery performance. Another essential leadership role is to reduce the management cycle to create transparency in performance. This will allow to mitigate the effect not only of complexity but also of its dynamic nature by making closer causes to outputs and outcomes. It is also part of creating transparency in performance to distinguish within the BAU normal process from problems, and to make visible not only at a management level but also for the team the daily current cost of problems in time and effort. This is essential to see working in solving problems as a “time investment” with a ROI in capacity creation by eliminating time devoted to deal with problems on daily bases. It is not for the leader to provide the solution but to empower the team for problem solving as well as capacity creation and then to make the best use of the capacity from an E2E perspective, to maximize the delivery performance and to deliver great customer experiences.
Engagement to maximize and stabilize capacity
Operational effectiveness will be an outcome of technology or equipment’s availability, process performance and time management, and finally the “right first time” and the outputs quality. Although the leadership role is important to empower the team and escalate issues with other areas such as IT or Maintenance, it will depend upon the team and its engagement to maximize two of the three components of operational effectiveness: time management and “right first time”. Although the process nature and its organizational context will have an impact as well as the leadership role is essential, a more engaged team will always have more and more stable capacity, than a team which is not so engaged. It is on daily capacity creation were team engagement plays an important role. Even though automation have reduced headcount in both manufacturing and offices environments, almost every industry relies to some extent on people hence it is of fundamental importance do not commit the same mistakes of “scientific management” to handle time management and quality mostly from the “outside” and only through procedures because instead of stability what the organization gets is rigidity. The best possible use of time and quality in every task will be achieved in a team only through engagement. Therefore, it is key for leaders and organizations to look for performance from “within” the processes through people by empowering a engaging them on daily basis.
Developing leadership, engagement and flexibility
To transform the current management systems, it is necessary to develop a new leadership style which is above all motivational. Coaching is an essential leadership capability within this new style. Leaders “Go and See” for themselves what is happening in the process first hand instead of only managing limited to results. With an E2E perspective and by knowing the drivers of performance, it is essential to define high performance key behaviours to role modelling them. The transformation of the work system will require to grow team’s engagement on daily basis. Although leadership is key to connect team with purpose and to develop talent, to have a meaningful purpose and career development plan within the organization will create a better context for engaging people. A R&R program can do wonders to further develop and sustain engagement within the team at all organizational levels. HR supports is key not only to define which leadership and associate’s profiles are a better fit for the Lean Operating Model but also to establish performance reviews to promote both new skills and behaviours development. In line with the management reduction cycle and agile transformation, this performance review should provide both leaders and team member with feedback on much more frequent basis. Flexibility will be achieved because of motivational leadership and team’s engagement developing a more agile organization to improve business results not only short but also long term. As Nelson Mandela wisely said “It’s always seems impossible until is done”.
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