Ever wondered whether your only issue with redesigning your business to improve performance is finding a big enough hammer or chainsaw? The current 'wisdom' when performance is poor or inadequate can seem to boil down to taking drastic measures. In reality true experts in business improvement will advise understanding the problem before selecting the most relevant and effective solution.
As we near the end of our journey around the Flow & Feedback (2F) Diagram we come to Processes for Design and Redesign of the whole business system, including focusing on individual processes within it.
The implication of the words design and redesign is that a rational process is involved. Intuition and experience may guide you, although it must be backed up with evidence and reason. However, quick-fixes, ideology, cant and dogma only damage your business. Those skilled in improvement of performance and quality will tell you that the key to it is the Study-Act-Plan-Do (SAPDo*) improvement cycle. You can apply this to an individual process or the whole organisation, indeed this 2F diagram is based around it.
*You may recognise this as Deming's PDSA cycle or even PDCA.
We like SAPDo because, usually, everyone of us is always and already in the middle of life, as some psychologists would say. Therefore it seems to us that to start at Study prompts us all to find out 'What is actually happening?', which provides better evidence for effective action. An evidence base for this means a sound understanding of how the work is working and customers are behaving. To do that requires a methodology and, ideally, good measures of performance and quality.
Once you have studied and have reliable performance and quality measurements you can develop your solutions for
(a) The cause of a particular drop off in performance and or quality
(b) Possible opportunities for performance and or quality improvement
Then you have to decide how and when to Act. It is true that sometimes a cause for a particular drop off in performance cannot be identified. The decision may then be to continue to monitor the situation until there is more data or perhaps the recurrence of a problem.
Then you need a Plan to implement the changes to the organisation or a particular process that you have decided upon. This must include how you continue to measure performance and perhaps quality to decide whether the change was an improvement.
So then you Do it, running the revised organisation or process in as near true operating conditions as possible. And after a representative trial period you are back to Study to see whether the change actually was an improvement that you can adopt, adapt or abandon it. Indeed you may find it necessary or desirable to repeat the cycle a number of times to achieve a particular outcome. Real life doesn't always come up with neat answers, solutions or outcomes. The really important thing is that everyone is open to learning and searching out a better way to make the working work and customers happy.
So hang up your hammer and or chainsaw. There are better ways to improve performance, that is, if you are truly interested in increasing performance.
Contact us if you would like to ask any questions about opportunities for improvement in your organisation.