New Ideas, Experimentation and Faster Change Must Be The New Norm

Posted by on Feb 21, 2014 in Continuous Improvement, Efficiency, Process Improvement | 0 comments

We’ve all heard the adage, “If you’re not changing, you’re standing still and falling behind!” many times in the last 15 years.  But I think it is even more appropriate today in the fast paced world we live in.  Look around and you’ll see companies that were thriving a few short years ago are now struggling just to keep the doors open.  Why is that?

I think part of it is that organizations fall into the trap that the status quo is fine, it’s working, and if it’s not broke, leave it alone.  There’s also the fear of the unknown and being afraid of making a mistake or worse yet failing.  No one wants to go out on a limb and try something new in fear of looking bad in front of their boss.  But making mistakes and failure are all apart of the learning process and should be accepted to a certain degree.

How well does your organization accept change?  Does your culture allow people to experiment, try new ideas, and possibly fail from time to time?  Are employees allowed to think and make suggestions for improvement without criticism.  A friend and I were discussing this very issue yesterday.  He retired a few years ago and said that he had made a few suggestions during his career, but was told several times by his boss to mind his own business and do what he was being paid to do.  My friend didn’t make any suggestions after that.  What a shame!

As a consultant, I’ve had the opportunity to help quite a few companies implement new ideas and become more efficient and profitable.  As I get engaged with them I’m always amazed that it usually takes an outsider to come in and make the simplest of changes to get the ball rolling.  When I ask employees how we can make their job easier, it’s never that they have to stop and think about it, but typically have several ideas and are just waiting to be asked.  These employees often work at companies who tout “Our employees are our greatest resource!”  It’s a shame these same companies don’t respect their employee’s ideas.  Just think how much more successful they would be, if they’d ask and listen to their employees more often.

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