A significant challenge in corporate America today is performance
improvement. Improvement requires an organization to undergo transformations
involving its processes, its structure, its technology, and its human resources.
Better Change says a rapidly evolving science of managing change and implementing improvement in corporate America is surfacing. The book, a by-product of the efforts of the Price Waterhouse Change Integration Team, provides a guide for anyone initiating, leading, participating in, or feeling impact of change.
Improvement must involve change at all organizational levels; including the senior-executive level where strategy begins and at the management and employee levels where workers strive to achieve the goals.
Better Change seeks to give readers the confidence and the will to create change. It centers around 15 principles discussed in detail:
1. Confront reality. We believe that what we have built will always flourish. Our beliefs, however, do not meet current standards. We must slay organizational "sacred cows," whether they be products, services, or the structures, processes, and technologies that support them. Confronting reality requires honesty, openness, and candid communication.
2.Focus on strategic contexts. Focus efforts on payback. Don't waste resources on activities that will not improve performance.
3. Summon a strong mandate.
4. Set scope intelligently. Focus on improving performance in areas most important to the organization.
5. Build a powerful case for change. Do not assume that others are prepared for change. Work to generate consensus throughout the organization.
6.Let the customer drive change. The customer's needs dictate change.
7. Know your stakeholders. Segment, understand, and prioritize the needs and motives of your stakeholders, such as customers, employees, owners, suppliers, and other business partners, as well as you and your team members.
8.Communicate continuously. Continuously communicate with stakeholders as you envision change.
9. Reshape your measures. Build your vision. Then design performance to coincide with its goals.
10. Use all of the levers of change.Key points of application that will repay your efforts should include markets and customers, products and services, organizational structure, human resource systems, and supporting technologies.
11. Think big.
13. Build skill levels. Make skill building a key for all employees.
15.Integrate your initiatives. Balance entrepreneurship of high-initiative members with the need to adhere to a focused strategy. An unplanned patchwork of change will promote bitter competition.
Better Change describes well the evolving science of managing change; it is a book we could all benefit from since change is an important part of all of our lives.
Ask the Manager
Q: Should we "abolish the annual merit rating and management by objective" or should we place greater emphasis on "pay for performance?", i.e., do we stick with Dr. Deming or do we do as the Japanese are doing--take another look at some form of merit rating?
A: Deming says that organizations should abolish the annual or merit rating and management by objective. His concern was that these practices tend to rob people in management and engineering of their right to pride in workmanship because they focus on management by the numbers and disregard most other business concerns.
In today's world, work quotas can be misinterpreted as imposing quality and production ceilings, rather than targets, and Deming says these are demotivational tools. In other words, management by objective on a go, no-go basis is no longer appropriate. This is compatible with Deming's claim that everyone can and should be a leader and that everyone must work as a team, working toward the good of the team. There is no one best reward/motivational system for all situations.
Q: What was the major contribution of W. Edwards Deming?
A: According to "Instant Management" by Carol Kennedy (1991, Wm. Morrow & Co., Inc., NY), "Deming was responsible, with his fellow American, Joseph Juran, for instilling the quality philosophy in postwar Japanese.
"He is revered internationally for his simple yet revolutionary principle that all processes are vulnerable to loss of quality through variation: If the levels of variation are managed, they can be decreased and quality raised. He also believed that 85% of product faults are the responsibility of management, not workers."