What drives your business?

BY KIA - 2016-07-01

What drives your business?

Its CULTURE and not Tools. Culture is the most important part of your business.

[Culture can be defined as the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices]

It has been observed that most of the time the Kaizen/ Lean efforts fail because it never becomes a culture or a habit. It is always taken as a time bound project or a problem solving machine. Several claims are being made on internet about the failure rate and majority of them proves that the Kaizen/ Lean efforts fails at most of the places. Tools or willingness to change or methodology do not cause failure, it’s the organization culture that causes failure.

A true culture of continuous improvement” is what is required. Jeffery Liker has identified the primary problem most organizations face in implementing large scale change, weather it is Lean, Six Sigma or some other company wide initiative. What is called for is a new culture, a culture of continuous improvement, a culture that embraces change. The primary reason most companies fail in their Lean implementation is because they fail to successfully change the culture.

The key before you embark on Kaizen/ Lean journey is to have Vision, Mission & Culture statement.

Alert: Changing organization culture is the toughest task and it will take time. You will feel like pushing a rock uphill.

Culture is often formed considering the style & comfort zone of the founder or the prevailing management system and therefore the entire paradigm shifts takes time. But note, unless the top management is involved & willing, culture cannot change and therefore TOP MANAGEMENT COMMITMENT is must. And culture change should be organization wide (by engaging everyone), be supported by training, process alignment, driven from top, etc. Therefore organization or top management needs to understand that tools cannot help to change the culture, it can only enable. What it will require is flow of information, leaders who can drive this, standards, policies related to employee promotions, pays, performance management, etc.

Research shows that there is a correlation between ENGAGEMENT and Service, Sales, Quality, Safety, Retention, Profit & Shareholders return. Read more

“Our research continues to show a well-substantiated relationship exists between employee engagement – the extent to which employees are committed, believe in the values of

the company, feel pride in working for their employer, and are motivated to go the extra mile – and business results.” – ISR Global Research Director, Patrick Kulesa

Wasting Time at Work Survey, Salary.com reported that 89 percent of respondents admitted that they waste time at work each day. A small percentage even admitted they waste at least half of an eight-hour workday on nonwork-related tasks. And this is exactly what we talk about in Kaizen/ Lean; waste, obstructions which adds up to the TAT or TPT. The job has to be meaningful, has some variety, autonomy and support from team in order to make the role effective else it is going to result in disengagement and various other problems discussed above.

Team engagement & alignment is the key to success of Kaizen/ Lean and to develop a right culture. This will help to build right kind of habits . So unless the daily habits of people (from doorman to chairman) change, transformation will never happen.

4 sutras that will help to change habit/ behavior and culture:

1.    Involve all employees

2.    Develop competence of people so that they can see, address & go to the root causes of the problem

3.    Facilitate implementation of standard work

4.    Monitor & control key KPI’s

Have you considered all these in your Kaizen/ Lean plan?

In conclusion, remember TOOLS are enablers and not the medium to achieve success.

Always keep on learning…

In case you missed it, my last post was The Ohno and the Gemba Walk

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