In case you’re wondering, this isn’t about the old Dusty Springfield track. Sorry to disappoint if that’s what you were wishing and hoping for! Instead, this blog looks at the role of the manager.
In all too many organisations it appears that the majority of managers don’t really understand their role; they’re not sure what to do. Often they have performed extremely well in their previous role and been promoted as a result.
If they are lucky, they will have received training in a variety of topics, including, for example, interview techniques, budget setting, appraisals and report writing. But many organisations fail to see the need to train their managers in process management and improvement activity.
As a result, the processes aren’t effectively managed and the people in the process are often seen as the cause of process problems. Deming summed it up very well:
“Eighty-five percent of the reasons for failure to meet customer expectations are related to deficiencies in systems and process… rather than the employee. The role of management is to change the process rather than badgering individuals to do better.”
I like to describe this as ‘working on the process with the people in the process to continuously find ways of improving the process.’ For that to happen, of course, the manager needs to be clear on the role and needs to be aware of the various tools and techniques that can be used to help improve the everyday process performance.
Lean Six Sigma pulls together a vast array of improvement tools ranging from the very simple to the more sophisticated statistical analysis techniques. In the quest for everyday operational excellence, managers need to understand the tools that are needed to help manage their processes. This does not need to be as comprehensive as the toolkit required by Green and Black Belts, for example.
Ideally, though it will enable them to not only improve their everyday performance, but to also take on board at least some of the common language of Lean Six Sigma, as well as more easily provide the information needed by Green and Black Belt improvement projects that link to their processes. Catalyst’s ‘Everyday Operational Excellence’ training programme aims to help managers and team leaders by enabling them to work on their processes, ensuring:
- There’s a clear customer focused objective with prioritised customer requirements
- There are appropriate process or value stream maps in place
- A well managed data collection process that provides a balance of input, process and output measures enabling the correlation between these variables to be understood and managed
- The process performance is stable and predictable
- The process has been error-proofed
- There’s a control plan in place that clearly identifies what to do if things go wrong, for example, or where the ongoing data indicates a warning in some way
By the way, all of the relevant tools and techniques are described in ‘Lean Six Sigma For Dummies’ written by John Morgan and Martin Brenig-Jones.
Owning and managing processes is part of the change of thinking and behaving that is an essential ingredient in successful organisations, otherwise, managers can find themselves in the middle of nowhere.