Taking action to capture potential improvements is what change is all about. For the past 100 years, we have used a process-focused approach to do that with limited success. Some companies report significant improvements in production or cost but how many of those improvements are sustained? Other companies experience shortfalls in the expected returns, both for profit and culture change. Again, process changes are made but the results just don’t materialize.
Logic tells me that there must be barriers preventing our actions from having the impact that they should have on performance and culture and that those barriers reside outside of the process work.
What is sitting on the outside of process improvement work? The culture and the management system, the sources of barriers to change.
The lid on a jar prevents anything in the jar from escaping and prevents anything on the outside from getting in. Barriers to change act like the lid on a jar – they hide potential or keep it just out of reach and they prevent new ways of thinking from helping us change faster. We have a vision for what can be accomplished but the invisible lid on the jar prevents us from achieving it. We can’t see the lid, so we don’t understand the dynamics at work – we just know that we are doing great work on the process side and things still don’t change as expected. With millions at stake, it is time to focus on the barriers to change and take the lid off the jar.