The secret ingredient to process improvement success

Working with hundreds of organisations, we get to see the inner workings of a lot of different workplaces, across different industries and different regions. We also see the full range of methodologies and frameworks including ISO 9001, LEAN, Six Sigma, Business Excellence to name a few.

We see first-hand, from an objective viewpoint, the different levels of success that our clients enjoy.  In fact, it gets pretty easy to spot the companies that are achieving real business benefits in return for their improvement effort. Sadly, equally obvious are those that are going through the motions yet achieve almost no benefit at all.

In my humble opinion, the #1 most overlooked factor in this failure or success is… leadership.

We think leadership is so critical to success, that we have a governance model we recommend to all our clients – at the top of the pyramid is the Chief Process Officer (CPO). The key to  good leadership from your CPO?  100% belief in constant change and improvement, 100% belief in your people, and the guts to step up and visibly support their efforts regularly. Like a shout-out at a team meeting, or a mention on the Promapp bulletin board.

With good leadership from the CPO the champions in different parts of your business are empowered to shift from process ‘administrators’  to real change agents who can add real value. With the right person in the champion role (a people-person, results driven, stubborn, hard-working and a brilliant communicator) huge improvements can be made and in the case of our best clients, they often are.

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Comments (3)

  1. alan russell:
    Apr 19, 2013 at 10:37 AM

    The Leader believing is a starting point... but only that. Being able to communicate the need and belief at all levels in an organisation is also vital to ensure the cultural shift occurs from paperbased or non process driven to Promapp. I have also found that the Process/ Lean / Six sigma Champion needs to be backed.... not just in words but by actions if need be as unfortunately within a multi level organisation the need for process control and governance is seen as an item thats way down the list for them.

  2. Alan Jones:
    Feb 19, 2013 at 02:13 PM

    Couldn't agree more, Ivan. You've nailed the characteristics required, i.e. a people-person, results driven, stubborn (I would say 'determined') hard-working and a brilliant communicator. The number of people with all these traits are rare, so we need to work with what we've got and continually encourage our CPOs

  3. Michelle:
    Feb 20, 2013 at 12:32 PM

    Unfortunately, the leadership is driven from the top and if it is not a priority for them it becomes less and less important on the ground regardless how much work the Process Champions do towards its success.

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