Don’t make waves! Just keep doing it the way we always have. We just cannot handle the disruption amongst the staff if we make that change.
How many times have you heard those statements or, something very close, in your organization when it comes to making a change? The change was carefully analyzed by every expert in the organization and the rewards clearly outweighed the downside. The change would increase customer satisfaction, productivity and cash flow. The C-Suite was fully behind the change and it was announced at staff meetings across the organization.
Once word traveled through the organization, the ground swell of resistance quickly grew and opposition quickly grew. Leaders met with staff and heard their concerns, then regrouped to understand the challenges. The only objections that could be identified were simply related to change, both in process and culture. But, because of the volume of the adversity, the decision was quickly made because it wasn’t worth rocking the boat.
Unfortunately, this scenario plays out every day across all industries, within numerous organizations – even with organizations that profess to employ improvement methodologies like Six Sigma. The fact is, change is disruptive to the status quo! It is basic human nature to resist change in their surroundings. The further the change removes them from a comfort zone, the louder the protest.
Implementing an improvement methodology such as Six Sigma requires buy-in and full support of senior leaders. Typically, these leaders must understand that the process will initially be disruptive, as it will take people into the uncharted waters of change. Leaders must have 100% commitment to the process and ensure that it is clearly communicated. Leadership needs to be in a position to engage in very frank and open communication to ensure concerns are addressed while ensuring their focus is clear.
Training is required to implement Six Sigma. Everyone in the organization should be familiarized with the methodology and the outcomes expected. This will begin the change in culture and buy-in within the organization. Leaders must ensure they stay engaged with staff and encourage established conversations. As staff become more comfortable with the methodology, Leadership must stay focused on communicating support and vision for success. For some, Six Sigma will feel like SWAT teams, swooping in and raiding departments within the organization, causing significant disruption. These misconceptions must continuously be addressed by leaders. The end result will be a growing support for Six Sigma across the organization and success will be achieved.
This is a simplistic analogy, but one that cuts very close to the bone of organizations daily. Be encouraged that change is positive for your business and an improvement methodology like Six Sigma can make significant improvements across the organizations. Leaders must be champions of Six Sigma and staff must find ways to embrace change for the good of the organization. Disruption, much like change, can be a good thing. Embrace it.