Why Do Continuous Improvement Programs Fail? There are 5 Reasons!
Reason No.1: Failure to Understand the Problem!
Every continuous improvement initiative begins with a problem. Understanding the problem is critical, it determines the best analysis technique or method required. In the absence of a proper understanding of the problem an inappropriate method or technique is often applied. In this case, the solution is elusive and guesswork becomes a recommendation that often falls short. There is nothing worst then applying an inappropriate technique or method. It wastes time and frustrates all involved – something that doesn’t foster a positive culture. This leads to another reason. Why do continuous improvement programs fail? Because problems get delegated!
Reason No.2: Problems Get Delegated
Management often delegates problems to employees. Sometimes these employees don’t have the skill to solve that problem. When management delegates a problem what are the chances an employee will decline to work on that problem? No way it’s going to happen. This leads to another reason. Why do continuous improvement programs fail? People use techniques they know!
Reason No.3: People Use Techniques They Know
People will often use a technique to study a problem simply because that’s all they know. When people lack the knowledge needed to approach a problem they should decline to work on a problem. But this is unrealistic and leads to another reason. Why do continuous improvement programs fail? Fear of failure!
Reason No.4: Fear of Failure
The fear of failure is worse than implementing the wrong solution. When you implement something at least you have something to show for it, even if it didn’t work, at least you can say you tried. But the problem with this approach is wasted time and money. This leads to another reason. Why do continuous improvement programs fail? Poor teamwork!
Reason No.5: Poor Teamwork
Teamwork is critical when your inherent knowledge is insufficient to study a problem. Picking the right people to work on the problem is critical. If you pick people that don’t have the right knowledge then you have the wrong people working on the problem. This just wastes more time and money. But I often see cases where the right people were working on the wrong problem. This upsets management and wastes more time and money. This leads to another reason. Why do continuous improvement programs fail? Failure to understand the problem!
Failure to Understand the Problem
When you understand the problem you can pick the right approach, the right people, with the right knowledge to help you. I guess that’s why the first phase of the Six Sigma DMAIC protocol begins with the problem statement.
There are many reasons why continuous improvement initiatives fail. The cause is most often a failure to understand the problem.
Now it’s your turn. Have you experienced any of these five reasons? If so, I’d like to know your story. If you have another reason why a continuous improvement program failed – then I’d like to know. Please leave your comments below. I look forward to what you have to say!