This month Paul Borawski asked ASQ’s Influential Voices to explore sustaining excellence for the long term.
There are several keys to pulling sustained long term excellence. Unfortunately, experience shows that it is much easier to explain what is needed than to build a management system that delivers these practices over the long term. The forces pulling an organization off target often lead organization astray.
Each of these concepts have great deal more behind them than one post can explain. I provide some direct links below, and from those there are many more links to more valuable information on the topics. I also believe my book provides valuable additional material on the subject – Management Matters: Building Enterprise Capability. Sustained long term excellence is the focus of the book. A system that consistently provides excellent performance is a result of building enterprise capability over the long term.
- Viewing the organization as a system – to build long term improvement systems thinking is key. Without it divergent forces tear apart cohesive long term strategies.
- Process thinking flows from viewing the organization as a system. Only by building a network of reliable processes is sustained excellence possible. To build those processes an understanding of process thinking is required (understanding variation, monitoring using in-process measures, visual management, continual improvement etc.).
- Engaged and thinking people with the authority to act at the gemba are required for the robust, continually improving management system – which is required for sustaining excellence. Everyone must be focused on continual improvement and reacting when necessary (respect for people, visual management, standardized processes, proper training, coaching, trusting environment where fear doesn’t cripple improvement…).
- Customer focus is also tied to long term success in a way that is often overlooked. Obviously building up a dedicated customer base is extremely valuable. But true customer focus, where the organization understands what problems the organization solves for customers, results in a forward looking organization that is constantly providing more and more value to customers. And this proactive focus is needed to to sustain long term excellence. Some related concepts: value stream mapping, outcome measures, visiting the user gemba…
Related: Distorting the System, Distorting the Data or Improving the System – Sustaining and Growing the Adoption of Enterprise Excellence Ideas in Your Organization – Managing to Test Result Instead of Customer Value – Good Process Improvement Practices – Change is not Improvement – Managing Our Way to Economic Success Two Untapped Resources by William G. Hunter – Software Process and Measurement Podcast With John Hunter – Customer Focus by Everyone