“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishments”
We believe that for most small companies, the surest way to improved results is a series of relatively small improvements, each building on the last, to create a stronger, more competitive market offering. We have found the “continuous improvement” methods pioneered by Juran and Deming and perfected by the Japanese to provide a useful discipline for ensuring a successful result. In our work we use four informal “p’s” to communicate the steps [see sidebar].
We work with clients both in person and electronically, to ensure the right mix of efficiency and effectiveness. All sessions end with a one page plan that holds people accountable for change.
Our practice is all about change over time. Generally, it is changes in beliefs that result in meaningful, permanent changes in human behavior, and significant changes in belief take time. While a business process can be changed quickly, true behavior change might take one to three years and belief change might take two to five years. We like to work with clients over a relatively longer time frame to ensure the organization stays focused until we know that the organization’s belief structure has truly changed to embrace the new approach.
The Four “P”s
Problem Identification: The first stage of any engagement is a thorough analysis of the existing situation to determine the problem to be solved. Sometimes our clients have a clear understanding of what the problem is, but often they don’t. Not infrequently, they think they understand the problem but analysis reveals their initial understanding to be off the mark. You are unlikely to succeed by solving the wrong problem.
Plan: Having analyzed the problem, the next step is to determine needs to be accomplished and plan out the tasks to achieve these goals. Plan your work and work your plan.
Proceed: For our clients, our plans often imply a certain degree of behavioral change by senior managers in the business, changes that may not come easily. An important third step is to ensure that change actually happens.
Pathmarks: The fourth P tracks the results of the changes over time. Are we making the changes that we planned? Are the changes we planned having the effects we anticipated? What course corrections need to be made to ensure success?