- Category: Weekly Link
- Published on Saturday, 13 October 2012 09:15
It is not unusual to observe that when things are not running well, it is mostly due to people not executing the basics well. But we find it to be a particularly strong theme of late.
Readers may recall our writing just a few months ago about getting back to basics. Furthermore, what we wrote about last week regarding the tourism supply chain and the immigration queues at Suvarnabhumi airport is really about the same. But it used to work better though, right?
A specific twist to what we have been personally experiencing of late is of things sliding backward. For example, we are beleaguered Toronto Maple Leafs hockey fans. At the start of the season they were playing so well, and what team management and players all talked about was how well they were executing the basics. But they have just experienced a terrible slump in performance resulting in the coach being fired. And what does the new coach talk about? Getting back to basics. Huh, they had to bring in someone new to conclude that?
A client with whom we have been working quite a lot over the past year experiences the same. We made some nice improvements in many areas of the business. None of it was "rocket science". All just explaining the basics, all just trying to "walk before we run". But over and over again, it was people either got busy and slipped back into their old ways or in fact never really got into the new way in the first place because they were too busy.
The pivotal point surely is organisational culture "This is how we do things around here" _ and personal mindset. No matter how good it seems right now, however good or bad, it is never going to be "good enough". The question becomes: what does good look like? We will come back to that very point in the coming weeks.But first, we wish to take you back to the foundation we have promoted many times over the years of Weekly Link. We trust many readers will remember the diagram in which we present the Strategy-People-Process-Tools doctrine.
Talking it through, ever so briefly, as a reminder:
Strategy: Everyone in the organisation, and we mean everyone, must understand and believe in the vision, the way forward, what kind of organisation you want, what you are going to do and how you are going to do it, what is expected of every single individual. Based on this, management must subsequently prepare a business plan that interprets the strategy for each part of the business, by function and/or process, to enable execution.
People Everyone in the organisation must internalise "how we do things around here", where the organisation is headed, the values, their individual part. This is enabled by continuous communication as well as having the right performance measures in place to drive behaviour and performance. Education, answering the question of why do we want to do it this way, is the requirement in this perspective.
Process: It is only after people understand where you are going and how they can contribute to the design of processes and determine the details of who does what and when. Once that is designed, in detail, then training is called for to align thinking and ensure everyone understands the supply chain. Tools: Finally, only after the previous three aspects are adequately attended to can people really figure out what tools are required to enable execution of processes in the best and most efficient way. Tools include both physical items such as material handling equipment and computer-based software solutions. So very often, people focus on the Tools first, and what should be the preceding three aspects are afterthoughts.
This is the foundation for continuous improvement in any situation, business or otherwise. It is the foundation for making improvements stick. Not slipping backward. Avoiding having to do it all over again. The mindset must be to make improvement the No.1 priority, no matter how busy you are.
Original article published in the Bangkok Post: 7/03/2012 at 02:58 AM
Newspaper section: Business