Process improvement tools offer great resources to improve results. Dr. Deming included understanding psychology as one of the 4 areas of his management system. He understood organizations where not machines but systems made up of people. Therefore management needs to reflect that reality. -Lee Fried discusses these ideas in It is All About the People:
I know now that in the early stages of Lean transformation improvement should not be measured by project charts or number of improvement events. The foundational work of changing the way people think and behave needs to be done first, done correctly and done at the rate it can be absorbed by those that are doing the work in the first place.
I see building improvement capacity of the organization, which largely means building the capacity of the people, as an extremely important focus of improvement efforts. It is, at times, important to slow down the pace of change to ensure that people can adopt and incorporate the new concepts fully. If not, the improvements tend to only take effect on the surface.
Improvements in results are important but it is also critical to have management improvement concepts adopted as the natural way of doing business. And reaching that point most likely requires a focus on making that happen as well as improving processes. This split focus may seem to dilute effort but it is the most effective long term strategy (the time invested today in building capacity will make the management changes much more likely to sustain over the long term and will improve results over the long term).