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The Big Miss·take

Lean Articles

The ‘big miss’ in golf terms refers to a bad golf shot, one from which the player cannot recover par.  I was reminded the other day about another type of ‘big miss’, this one occurs in the workplace rather than on a golf course.

It takes a lot of hard work for a lean team and the folks on the floor to gain momentum in their journey to improve.  Setbacks and struggles often occur causing the progress to be slower than anticipated, but in most environments, this is not out of the ordinary.  In any improvement or change process there are four stages a team must pass though in order to be successful – (1) Form, (2) Storm, (3) Norm, (4) Perform – and this process takes time.

As the organization and teams move through these stages, many make the same mistake when they reach the Norm stage.  From my experience, once an organization has moved through the Forming and has begun to come out of the Storming stage there is a tendency to slow down; as everyone is so happy not to be Storming that the entire organization, as well as departments and small teams, want to enjoy the peace and quiet of the Norm stage.

Slowing down at this stage is a big mistake –the ‘big miss’ if you will.  If a slowdown is allowed to happen, the gains of the past will be lost. Once you’ve done the hard work to move out of the Storming stage don’t rest.

Your job as the leadership of this process is to push individuals, teams and the organization through this Norm stage and into the Perform stage. There will always be reasons and issues that crop up that make it easy not to move forward in the learning and implementation of lean. Be aware of those feelings and desires to rest, and instead push-on with steadfastness and determination. Avoiding the ‘big miss’, a mistake from which your program might not recover, is the essence of true leadership.

If you’d like to chat about keeping your improvement program moving forward, give us a call or drop us an email.