You have a new change coming, do you communicate or just announce it?
I define communication as two-way where input and feedback is requested and announcements as one-way “this is coming or it’s already here” kind of messages.
Announcements are not an effective way to bring your organization along on your Lean journey. People feel done-to or it appears as though they have no voice. Announcements give the impression of very top-down leadership even if you had some of the front-line staff involved in creating the change (intent versus impact).
For people to be engaged in the change, ensure you are seeking input and feedback from those affected. Firstly, before you make a change or set a target condition you should have gone and seen the actual process. Use this time in gemba to get feedback about the problem. I have seen flipchart paper put in an area for staff to add input prior to developing counter-measures to trial. Use staff meetings to ask for thoughts before you start improving.
When developing counter-measures, share ideas with stakeholders or involve them in the trial. Ask them what works or what further adjustments should be made before it becomes the new standard work. Their input will make a better counter-measure and help them be invested the change.
After the standard work gets implemented, have leadership and key coaches on the floor soliciting feedback and providing clarifications. The counter-measure may have some missing pieces that are only discovered after “launch” or people may not understand it enough to follow it. This communication helps your organization sustain the improvement.
Honestly look at your “communication” strategy. Is it really just announcements or are you actively asking for feedback to be seriously considered? Did you bump the communication discussion from every agenda and now stuck in the mode of announcing because a counter-measure is developed and ready to go?
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