We are working with four executive teams this fall who are looking to implement major new initiatives aimed at dramatically shifting their organizational culture and performance. One is a large international retailer completely revamping their entire supply chain process. Another is a major global mining company determined to dramatically boost their safety performance. A mid-sized law firm is concerned about succession planning and changing how their partner team works together. And an executive team of a large nuclear power plant are using the concepts of “Lean Production” to streamline and improve their operations (if you’re not familiar with Lean, see Wikipedia’s Lean Production article for more on this tool.)
During a recent team building session with the nuclear executive team we used our Bolt-On/Built-In chart below to discuss their critical role in leading the Lean implementation. I first developed this chart when I wrote Firing on All Cylinders: The Service/Quality System for High-Powered Corporate Performance. My previous company, The Achieve Group and Zenger Miller used it to help executive teams assess their readiness and discuss what behaviors they needed to change for their service and quality improvement efforts to succeed.
The Commitment Continuum has now been used to successfully frame executive behaviors for many improvement initiatives. Here’s a selection of links to a series of blogs, newsletter items, and other articles around the Continuum as well as related issues and examples:
- Assessing Management Commitment – a blog excerpt with a general description of the five stages.
- How Total is Your Quality Management? – an article I wrote drawn from my book, Firing on all Cylinders, in the earlier years of the what’s now become the Lean Production and Six Sigma approaches.
- Bolt-on Programs versus Built-In Culture Change – features a chart with the critical difference between change and improvement initiatives as a program versus deep and lasting culture change.
- Why Most Change Programs and Improvement Initiatives Fail – brief summary of the top five failure factors.
- The “Soft” Side of Productivity Improvement is Really Hard – this blog post focused on productivity but is equally applicable to implementing Lean, safety, customer service, or quality improvement.
- Walking the Talk – an article by Barrick Gold’s SVP, Don Ritz, on how they focused on executive behavior and the Commitment Continuum to drive dramatic culture change that ultimately reduced their safety incidents by 75%.
- Practical Role Modeling: Barrick Gold Provides Specific Guidelines – this newsletter item outlines some of the early work we were doing with Barrick Gold when they were just starting to see dramatic results. Click on the link end of the sentence “you can see the tool he developed here” to see a high level description of the behavior guidelines Barrick developed for all positions in their company.
- Lean Leadership: Energize Lean, Six Sigma, and other Quality/Productivity Improvement Initiatives – a description of approaches we use to work with Clients implementing Lean. It features our Transformation Pathways and Leadership Principles frameworks for assessing and aligning organizational culture and leadership skills.
Most of the work we do with the Commitment Continuum is highly customized around a Client’s organizational dynamics and the objectives of each executive team we’re working with. If you are leading or are part of a management team looking to implement an organizational change or improvement initiative, use the Continuum to assess your readiness and establish the Involved Leadership behaviors that will lead you to long term Integration.