So far, the Chicago Process Excellence Leaders’ Meeting has proven to be a great forum for exchanging ideas between deployments whether new in their journey or established. The themes that were covered will no doubt become topics of future blogs.
One of the first themes that we tackled was around building a case for change in the early stages of a deployment. With more and more process improvement deployments being developed without the traditional top-down push that was used by GE, this overall theme becomes even more important.
While there are many ways to accomplish this, one approach that was advocated was to facilitate this exercise with each business partner to better articulate the dissatisfaction with the status quo while understanding the linkage between our process improvement approach and the challenge being faced. While the above seems pretty straight forward, it can be a very important step to ensure proper alignment of the deployment.
In one case, a colleague highlighted that it took their organizations over 10 iterations to develop as different leaders had very distinct reasons for embracing process improvement ranging from revenue growth, competitive differentiation, quality improvement and cost reduction. Alignment on the reason for existence will be critical to the approach being pursued, the project selection approach and in securing sustainable buy-in for process improvement.
In a separate discussion, it became apparent that this validation of the case for change needs to become an internalized process to be reviewed every few years. In fact, a colleague in the insurance business shared how their deployment had stalled and nearly became obsolete after 6 years as there hadn’t been regular validations of the Voice of the Customer, causing a disconnect between the Leadership and the overall program.
However we articulate the message, it appears to me that the underlying theme is that deployments need to periodically conduct a Voice of the Customer with their primary internal business customers.