We have to change to stay the same
What does sustaining performance really mean?
I was recently having dinner with a friend and I spotted the sign in the picture below hanging in the restaurant. I believe it to be a modified quote from Il Gattopardo (The Leopard) one of the most important novels in modern Italian literature. The importance of the sentiment should certainly chime a chord with you too.
I have plenty of conversations with teams that have had isolated improvement success or even significant business improvement that tell me how hard it is to sustain the standard they have reached. And here lies a problem.
Maintained performance for several months is not sustaining. This is going backwards at a lesser rate than you were! Sustainment means the continuous improvement of performance.
It’s extremely hard to keep a performance figure the same if you are not trying to improve it.
Consider the physiological impact. Constant monotony in doing the same thing again and again and again. No learning, no esteem, no long term self fulfilment. (If people are happy to stay in this type of organisation they are not the people that will drive it forward)
The Lean approach is not a project, it is never ‘done’. It is not about holdingperformance and there is nothing ‘after it’.
It is the relentless development of you and your people to see waste and increase value
Toolboxes can be enhanced with six sigma and/or agile tools to tackle specific wastes of course but these are not the ‘next step’, rather just further approaches to enhance your Lean organisation.
Tancredi in the Leopard was correct. You must change to stay the same.