A Culture of Rapid Improvement: Creating and Sustaining an Engaged Workforce, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

A Culture of Rapid Improvement

Creating and Sustaining an Engaged Workforce, 1st Edition

By Raymond C. Floyd

Productivity Press

328 pages | 16 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Hardback: 9781563273780
pub: 2008-04-28

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Become a corporate change agent

Learn to implement and cultivate a culture of improvement with the assistance of one of the world’s most respected experts

Managing a business so that it achieves a supreme pace of improvement requires that all members of an organization can and do make their best contributions to the success of the enterprise. Management must provide employees with a shared set of values and beliefs so that they can decide for themselves how to behave in accordance with the expectations of a nurturing and empowering culture.

A Culture of Rapid Improvement is intended for those leaders seeking to encourage dramatic improvement within their organizations. It shows these change agents how they can—

· Develop the shared values and beliefs that serve as the foundation for a dynamic culture

· Engage all employees to join the new culture and provide opportunities for these stakeholders to initiate and participate in improvement

· Measure, evaluate, and manage the performance of the new culture

Filled with lessons garnered from practical examples, this text is based on Raymond C. Floyd's 40 years of industrial management experience, including his more than 20 years at Exxon Mobil. He is the winner of a Shingo Prize and also holds the unique distinction of having led businesses from two different industries that were both recognized by IndustryWeek magazine as being among the Best Plants in America.

 If you approach the task of improvement with proper action and full participation, improvement is not just possible, but inevitable. At six months, you will notice a difference in your organizational culture; at the end of two years, you will be operating with near–world-class performance.


“As Manager for our large manufacturing complex in Baytown, Texas, Ray Floyd and his team fundamentally changed performance by turning the entire workforce into an improvement-idea-generating machine. Over the seven-year period that Ray was manager, Baytown changed from a troubled plant to a world-scale example of manufacturing excellence. Manufacturing efficiency improved at a rate of 16 percent each year and employee participation grew to a level of 40 improvements per person per year – all resulting in outstanding bottom line profitability. I know of no one better than Ray to record and teach those lessons.”

— H. Eugene McBrayer, President (retired), Exxon Chemical Company

“Ray Floyd has compiled a complete collection of all the theory, practice and examples that you will need to create an engaged workforce. If you truly want world-class performance, you will want a copy of this book on your desk as a ready reference manual.”

— King Pouw, Executive Vice President Operations and Business Transformation, ConAgra Foods

“This book is a tour de force exposition of the high impact changes that are occurring in the world's best businesses to fully engage people and tap their exciting potential for improving performance. At Gilbarco I was witness to the power of these improvements as we increased productivity by a multiple of four in a four year period. Ray Floyd was the chief architect of those changes and one of the lead managers during implementation. This book contains detailed steps to implement those changes in your business buttressed with illuminating anecdotes from Ray's experiences in a number of different industries."

— Donald Powell, Senior Vice President (retired), Gilbarco, Inc.

“Ray Floyd is a World-class expert in creating improvement. He was a leader in adopting the Quality programs developed in Japan into a system for managing improvement that has been proven to work in both Europe and America. I can attest that the manager who thoroughly applies his concepts will see a meaningful improvement in the bottom line."

— John Webb, Formerly President of the GlobalPolymers Business, Exxon Chemical Company.

“Ray has brought the ideas in this book into reality for us. Currently our Chairman, Ray’s experience has assisted us in taking strategy from the Board Room to practical application in creating a true highly productive service culture. I encourage others to read this book and apply these principles to your business so that you may benefit from his insight and experience as we have.”

— Randall Dixon, President, Energy Capital Credit Union

“Ray Floyd describes what a high contribution, autonomous action organization is and why you want and need one. He goes on to provide specific steps, subtle suggestions, and personal vignettes that show you how to achieve this. Because he provided a thorough understanding of both how and why his culture worked, I knew exactly how the cultural benefit that he has created in the petrochemical industry could be recreated in consumer products. I found the personal vignettes particularly refreshing. I looked forward to each successive story to see whether it would parallel an experience of mine, bring me a new perspective, or simply make me smile.”

— David Roberts, Director Product Development (retired), The Proctor & Gamble Company

“This book is a must read for any organization wanting to out-perform their competition long term in a global economy. Through his own successful experience, Ray Floyd has demonstrated how a culture based on shared values and beliefs can drive the right behavior throughout an entire organization, and when coupled with using established tools and a ritual to review priorities and progress, can establish and maintain an environment of rapid improvement.

"If you want to get ahead of your competition and maintain a leadership position in your industry, this book shows the successful application of Ray Floyd's formula for establishing and maintaining an environment of rapid improvement and points out the fundamental importance of creating a culture based on shared values to drive the behavior of an entire organization toward the accomplishment of common goals."

— David K. Christein, Vice President of Operations, Molex Incorporated

"Each chapter concludes with a succinct summarization of the principles and ideas covered in that chapter making A Culture of Rapid Improvement an ideal textbook for MBA programs, a highly recommended addition to academic and corporate Business Management reference collections, as well as an informed and informative read for anyone aspiring to improve their business management skills within a corporate structure."

– James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief of The Midwest Book Review, in The Midwest Book Review, September 2008

"This book is a must read for any organization wanting to out-perform their competition long term in a global economy."

– In Sir-Read-A-Lot, May 2008

Table of Contents

Industrial Culture: The Human Side of Change

Improve the Performance of Your Business by Creating a New Industrial Culture

The Importance of a Culture of Rapid Improvement

How Your Culture Affects the Potential for Improvement

How Culture Is Influenced by Strategy

A Simple Model of Culture

Element 1: Values

Element 2: Beliefs

Element 3: Behavior

Element 4: Rituals

How to Use This Simple Model of Culture

Designing a Corporate Culture

Elements of a Culture of Rapid Improvement: An Overview of How This Book Is Organized


Section I: Establish the Values and Beliefs of Your New Culture

Strategy: The Values and Beliefs of an Industrial Culture

Establishing Strategic Goals for Your Organization

Establishing Your Organization’s Tactical Goals

Setting Strategic Goals Is the Responsibility of the Senior Leader

A Process for Establishing Strategic Goals

Look Outside Your Organization

Evaluate Your Customers and Competitors

Consider the Owners of Your Business

Do Not Forget to Consider Your Employees

Assess the Needs of Your Organization’s Community

Next, Look Inside Your Organization

Analyze the Gap between Your Current Capabilities and Your Future Requirements

Write Your Goals

1. Strategic Goals Have a Simple, Memorable Statement of the Gap You Are Closing

2. Strategic Goals Have a Directionally Correct Statement of Future Needs

3. Strategic Goals Have a Credible Description of Current Capabilities

4. Strategic Goals Have a Few Objective Measures That Define Progress

5. Strategic Goals Have Interim Tactical Performance

Targets to Be Achieved

Present Your Goals to Your Organization



3 Making Your Cultural Values Personal

A Three-Level View for Translating Goals into Actions

The CEO’s Three-Level View

The Division Managers’ Three-Level View

Individual Department Managers’ Three-Level View

A Case Study of the Three-Level View of Translating Goals to Actions

Keeping the Whole Team on Board

Refreshing Your Goals

A Final Word on Translating Strategic Goals into Tactical Goals and Tactical Actions


Quality Stations: The Rituals of Your Culture

Rituals at Work

Using Quality Stations to Implement the Four Rituals of Improvement

Ritual 1: Quality Stations Help Show Tactical Goals

Ritual 2: Quality Stations Show Activities in Progress

Ritual 3: Quality Stations Show Projects Completed and Measure and Communicate Results

Ritual 4: Quality Stations Show Ideas for the Future

 Details on the Four Rituals of Improvement

Ritual 1: Show the Tactical Goals of the Team

Ritual 2: Show the Projects in Progress

Ritual 3: Measure and Communicate Results

Ritual 4: Make Ideas for the Future Visible

Culturally Appropriate Small-Team Leadership

Communications at the Quality Stations

Appearance of a Quality Station

The Work of a Quality Station

Management Quality Stations

A Final Word on Quality Stations


Section II: Engaging People in Your New Culture

The Objective Elements of Engaging People

Creating a Framework That Engages People to Help

Element 1: People Need Goals to Achieve

Element 2: People Need New Skills to Do New Things

Root Cause Analysis

Element 3: People Need Time to Work on Improvement

Element 4: People Need Access to Resources

Providing Funds

Small-Event Improvements

Element 5: People Need a Structure for Action


The Subjective Elements That Disrupt Engagement of People

What if Improvement Does Not Happen?

The Subjective Elements That Disrupt Engagement

Element 1: Some Teams Do Not Trust Management

Element 2: Some Teams Have Disruptive Members

Intentionally Disruptive Team Members

Direct Relationships with Management

Intentionally Disruptive Individuals

Unintentionally Disruptive Team Members


Section III: The Social Design of Your New Culture

Understanding the Theory of Industrial Culture

Personalities and Personal Cultures at Work

Each Business Has a Culture That Defines the Workplace

Social Cultures at Work

Three Typical Responses to a Dominant Culture

1. People of Different Cultures Will Appear to Fit the

Dominant Culture at Work

2. People of Different Cultures Will Adopt a Neutral Behavior while at Work

3. People of Different Cultures Will Resist the Dominant

Culture at Work

What to Do about These Three Responses to Your Dominant Work Culture

Situational Cultures


The Social Design of a New Culture

Social Design in Industry

Social Consideration 1: Precision and Timeliness

How to Handle Routine Work

How to Handle Nonroutine Work

When to Begin

Social Consideration 2: Collaboration and Teamwork

Communicating about Differences within a Team

Different Expressions of the Same Family Values

Different Interpretations and Assumptions of a Simple Task: Getting the Mail

How to Handle Aberrant Behavior

Social Consideration 3: Inclusion and Contribution


Valuing Individuals

Five Elements of Valuing Individuals

Element 1: Develop Corporate Awareness That Individuals Are Different and Valuable

Recognize That Many Personal Qualities Are a Mixed Blessing

Element 2: Provide Emotional and Social Support during Cultural Changes

Dealing with “Heritage” Issues

Establish Affinity Groups

Facilitate Meetings of Affinity Groups

Unexpected Affinity Groups

Establish a Group of “Diversity Pioneers”

Element 3: Establish New Policies and Practices for Your New Culture

Element 4: Enforcement of Your New Culture’s Policies and Practices

Element 5: Celebration of Your Cultural Change


Managing Emotion at Work

Exploring Emotions at Work

Listen to What Your People Tell You about Their Feelings about Work

Everything Is Not Good When Real Change Is Happening

Interpreting the Emotions of Change

If You Cannot Interpret Emotions at Work, Find Someone Who Can?

Interpreting Emotions Is Key to Implementing Successful Change


SECTION IV: Managing and Sustaining Cultural Change

How Communication Reflects Your Culture

Three Types of Messages from Management

1. Delivering News

2. Making Statements of Belief and Support

3. Giving Instructions for Action

Organizational Implications of Communication: The Role of Senior Management

The Role of Middle Managers in Communicating

Problem 1: People Do Not Get Your Message

Problem 2: Middle Managers Are Disenfranchised

Manage and Measure the Communication


Measuring the Performance of Small Events

Principles of Measuring Small-Event and Autonomous Improvement

Measuring How Engaged Your People Are in Improving Your Business

Using Bulk Measurements to Ensure You Are All Working toward the Same Goal

Measuring Visible Results Reinforces an Intuitive Understanding of Performance

Make Sure Your Measures Are Consistent and Credible to the People Being Measured

Make Your Measurements Direct and Exact

Keep Your System Fair and Accurate

Create a Subject Matter Expert for Measurement

Other Interesting Measurements

Useful and Nearly Objective Assessment of Subjective Data

Use Bulk Measures When Individual Data Are Not Available

Look for Useful Trends in Meaningless Data

Defend Your Measures


Managing the Competence of Your Employees, Especially in

Business-Critical Roles

Early Assessments of Individual Employee Competence

Recognizing the Importance of Critical Positions to the Overall Performance of the Organization

The Basis of Data Gathering to Assess Employee Competence

Measure the Percentage of Critical Positions Occupied by Highly Competent People

Measure the Overall Performance of the Organization

The Process of Data Gathering to Assess Employee Competence

Step 1: Identify the Critical Positions in Your Organization

Step 2: Assess the Individuals Working in Your Critical Positions

Correlating Personal Competence with Organizational Performance

Management Lessons from Competence Assessment

Focus Your First Personnel Development Actions on Critical Positions

Begin Promptly

Spread the Word about Competence Management

Recognize That Not All Managers Need to Be Highly Competent

Many Critical Positions Are Underappreciated

Lessons to be Learned from the Exceptions


Section V: Getting Started in Your Organization

Phase I: The First Six Months

Create Strategic Goals For Your Business

Give Your People New Capabilities or Tools to Practice Improvement

Single Minutes Exchange of Dies

Total Productive Maintenance

Reliability Engineering

Value-Stream Mapping

Task 3: Establish the Basis for a New Social Culture That Is More Inclusive and More Autonomous

Task 4: Conduct Your First Pilot Project

Task 5: Sustain Your Gains


Phase II: The Second Six Months

Complete the Process of Deploying and Translating Your Goals

Initiate a Second Round of Pilot Projects

Take Formal Steps to Include Individuals in Your Culture Change

Implement New Tools and Methods in Your New Pilot Projects

Use Quality Stations

Sustain Your Gains in Communication and Performance


Phase III: The Third Six Months

Create Quality Stations That Small Teams Will Use to Advance Your Goals

Establish Pilot Projects on the Front Line

Select New Tools That Support Autonomous Action

Create Affinity Groups to Ensure Inclusion of All Individuals

Sustain Your Gains by Establishing New Formal Practices


Phase IV: The Fourth Six Months

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Quality Control