The #1 Post: Implementing Change – Get it Done!

Things Have Got to Change

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Implementing Change – Get it Done was the top post on this blog in 2010. It was the last in a series on the topic so you may want to click here to see the series in order. Readers found the topic of change implementation to be interesting and two posts from this series of articles made the top 5 for last year.  The series was originally posted in July.


[tweetmeme] This is the last of a six part series on Implementing Change. We will quickly recap the first 5 steps then finish with the final 3 in more detail. As previously noted, the key to successful change, is early management. There are several steps to successfully implementing change, even before your roll it out:

1.) Identify the Improvement Area {click on the link for more detail} Use the 80-20 Rule to narrow the ideas down to the vital few. Set SMART Goals in order to have well-defined expectations of the team.

2.) Explore options. There will often be several potential solutions. Solicit ideas in team meetings or more casual conversations in the hall or on the factory floor. Use tools like the 5 Why Root Cause Analysis if you are addressing a specific breakdown or quality failure.

3.) Decide on the best option. You have discussed several options. Decide which path of improvement you will take. Make the decisions at the right level.

4.) Communicate the change. You will need to broadly communicate the decision for the change. Be honest about your plans. Be open to discussions about the potential roadblocks. Follow up with the key players to ensure understanding and buy-in.

5.) Overcoming resistance to change. You will probably hit some resistance to the change throughout the process. People are often afraid of change because of the unknown. Open and honest communication and involving your team in the process will help reduce the fears and concerns.

6.) Document the best practice. Your new best practice needs to be documented and incorporated into your training program in order to give yourself the best opportunity to sustain the gains. Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s), One Point Lesson (OPL’s), Operator Checklists, and other documentation will need to be developed or revised depending on the scope of the change.

7.) Implement the change. The actual implementation can be anti-climatic if you have done the first 5 steps properly and have a solid improvement plan. Select a date and time that the change is effective and give the green light to go.

8.) Follow-up. Sustaining the improvements can be the most difficult part of the change process. It can be very tempting to move on to the next project in today’s busy manufacturing environment. But don’t let up just yet because you are likely to see everyone drift away from your new best practices if you do not have the right systems in place. There are a few important points if you are to Sustain the Gain:

a) You will need to follow-up with the key players to see what issues they may be encountering. You will often find that you would benefit by making modifications to the new Best Practice. Reserve the right to learn, get smarter, and to continuously improve.

b) You will need to establish systems to support the change. Data may need to be collected for Leaders to review. Data would be helpful if the change involved process set point changes or other measurable parameters. Forms will need to be created to document that the new procedures are being followed for new Quality inspections and other similar changes.

c) Leadership must ensure that there are robust systems in place and follow-up at the right level of the organization to ensure the change becomes a reality. Follow up will be needed to ensure that the change is implemented as intended. Proper follow-up will enable you to work through those unforeseen issues instead of ignoring them or being blissfully unaware.

Working through these 8 steps will enable you to overcome the resistance to change that you will meet as the leader of your team. These steps will also enable you to be the Change Catalyst you need to be to reach your potential as a leader.


The other posts making the top 10 most read Lean Leadership blogs follow:

2.  7 Steps to 5-Why

3.  Complex 5-Why’s

4.  Change Management and the Pareto Principle

5.  What Could Be Easier?  The 4 Step Deming Cycle

6.  Lean Goal Setting

7.  Launching 5S – The Pre-Audit

8.  The Hardest of the 5S’s – Sustain

9.  Simple 5-Why’s

10. Implementing Change

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About Christian Paulsen

Christian Paulsen is an Executive Consultant with 20 years of Lean Manufacturing. Chris adds value to organizations by driving process improvement and bottom line savings. Chris intends to help others by sharing the lessons learned after a quarter century of operational leadership, marriage, parenting, and even longer as a Cubs fan. Your comments on this blog are welcome. You can also connect with Chris via LinnkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook in the right sidebar. Chris welcomes your comments. Christian's professional services are available by contacting him through LinkedIn (right side bar)
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1 Response to The #1 Post: Implementing Change – Get it Done!

  1. This comment was left by Mike McMahon on LinkedIn • The 7 steps to 5 why is a great post. It is simple…yet can easily be forgotten as the primary way to get to root cause. The example is concrete and could be used as a learning tool during a staff meeting.

    Mike McMahon – Deluxe Corporation – Chicago

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