Why Bother? : Why and How to Assess Your Continuous-Improvement Culture book cover
1st Edition

Why Bother?
Why and How to Assess Your Continuous-Improvement Culture

ISBN 9781032028286
Published October 26, 2021 by Productivity Press
292 Pages 97 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This book focusses on the importance of creating an internal assessment program to periodically assess the maturity of the organizations transformation journey. It discusses the best approach to designing and implementing an assessment program by answering key questions posed when people resist.

The book begins with selecting the positioning of the program not as an audit but as an opportunity to review strengths and opportunities, through to selecting senior leader support to design of the program and developing the assessors. More than 10 case studies are documented to show how organizations have approached their assessment programs, lessons learned, and successes and challenges faced.

The book leads the reader through the process of selling the concept and importance of transformation and Lean assessments to embed the desired behaviors within workplace culture. With many case studies, the reader is guided to design their own programs and develop their own assessors. This increases the probability of sustainability of the transformation program by focusing on and maturing the behaviors the transformation programs are trying to drive.

For example, one of the most well-known assessments is the Shingo prize -- This book explains the thinking behind the Shingo model and shares examples of assessments that support it. Other examples of assessments are covered, such as process maturity, quality and business assessments.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1—Why bother getting sponsorship?

Having assessments not only seen as important by the senior leadership but also owned by one of the executives. Sponsorship supports the gathering of evidence to assess whether the desired behaviors that you want to sustain in the organization are starting to embed and allows you to focus your efforts on areas that need more attention.

Chapter 2—Why bother defining behaviors and linking systems and behaviors?

Having clarity on what the desired behaviors are, deploying and then managing them is fundamental in sustaining a CI cultural transformation. Having specific measures of these behaviors in the form of KBIs drives the continual focus of refining the business systems and embedding these behaviors into the organizational DNA.

Chapter 3—Why bother assessing and managing behaviors?

Continuously maturing behaviors for existing employees and onboarding new employees into the desired behaviors is essential to sustaining a CI culture. There are a wide range of activities needed to manage and embed ideal behaviors. A behaviorally based maturity assessment is key to enabling us to track progress and identify actions needed to correct slippage or progress to the next level. Assessments that only review tools or systems will not support the development nor sustain the CI culture of the organization.

Chapter 4—Why bother designing your own strategic level behavioral assessment system?

Each organization has a unique context with a different start point, different culture, different business language, geographic complexities, and organization structure. As such, a lot of thought has been given to the approach, design and content of the assessment and customization to local requirements is critical to success. Designing your own assessment system will support the long-term sustainability of your CI culture. This chapter explains a detailed a step-by-step guide showing how to design and build your own CI maturity assessment system.

Chapter 5—Why bother defining behaviors and KBIs?

Key Behavioral indicators are essential to developing and maturing ideal behaviors that enable any organization to embed a sustainable culture of CI. They can be used across the organization in any area or function. This in-depth case study by Professor Peter Hines and ST Micro Electronics explains why KBIs are critical and illustrates their application in the HR function.

Chapter 6—Why bother focusing on the type of conversations people have?

The type of conversations people have is critical to understanding and developing ideal behaviors. Most behaviors involve conversation of some kind and understanding how to use our voice and consciously plan the most appropriate type of conversation is in depth paper by Kevin Eyre on the importance of conversations.

Chapter 7—Why bother seeing where it has worked and the lesson learned?

While every organization has unique context and requirements there is nevertheless a lot of value to be had from understanding the approaches that other organizations have taken. In this wide range of cases the authors share in their own words what they did. How it was applied, and the lessons learned. The case studies are from several different sectors and include telecommunications, logistics and distribution, aircraft maintenance, car manufacture, financial services, mining, and food production. The final case explores how maturity assessment s have been adapted and undertaken using a virtual approach necessitated by COVID-19 restrictions.

Case Studies:

NBN Co case study by Indrajit Ray, Clyde Livingston and Richard Perry

Panalpina Case Study by Andrew Lahy, Maria Pia Caraccia and Mike Wilson

Airbus Australia Pacific case study by Kim Gallant

CBA case study by Morgan Jones

BHP case study by Kim Gallant and Amelia Deich

Bakkavar Desserts case study by Leighton Williams and John Bowman

Virtual Assessments case study by Morgan Jones.

Chapter 8—Why bother aligning assessments, assessors, and calibration?

It is important to have consistency in the assessments to show they are both robust and credible to ensure the recommendations will drive the best focus for action planning. While there is always going to be a certain level of subjectivity it is important to make the assessments as consistent as possible to avoid potential confusion and mixed messages. Each assessor must be trained in depth to a standard that can be universally applied but at the same time recognizes their expertise and experience. The customer experience must be consistent.

Chapter 9—Why bother having a high-level roadmap to deploy?

A high-level visual roadmap is an invaluable planning and communication tool. It is a quick way to show the organization what is involved. It enables the creation of detailed action plans and milestone planning and provides a framework for initial design and ongoing improvement of the assessment system. Each organization has a unique context with different a starting point, different culture, different business language, geographic complexities, and organization structure. As such the roadmap in this chapter is meant as illustrative and we encourage people to adapt it to their own specific context and requirements.

Chapter 10—Why bother doing assessments?

The CI maturity assessment needs to be integrated into the strategic business planning cycle so that outputs and opportunities can be incorporated into forward planning. They should not be a stand-alone activity to business planning but rather a key check on progress and a key input for consideration in action planning. This chapter gives a summary of the key bullet points for the why, the what and the how of developing and undertaking CI maturity assessments.

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About the authors

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Chris Butterworth is a multi-award-winning author, speaker, and coach. He is a certified Shingo Institute master-level facilitator and a Shingo Institute Faculty Fellow and examiner. He is the winner of Best New Speaker of the Year Award for The Executive Connection (TEC) for his talk on Lean Thinking and the co-author of the widely acclaimed Shingo publication award winning books 4+1: Embedding a Culture of Continuous Improvement and The Essence of Excellence and is also the editor of the Shingo Institute book Enterprise Alignment and Results.

Morgan Jones has more than 30 years experience in Lean and twenty years in Six Sigma. He is a pragmatic and experienced improvement leader. He has delivered over $2.1 billion in hard savings to organizations, and improved customer-staff experiences and health and safety. The sustainability of business improvement have resulted in over twenty-three international awards and he has chaired twenty-seven international conferences around business improvement. He is also a Chartered Engineer, Certified Master Black Belt, Lean Master, and Executive Coach. 

Peter Hines is the co-founder of the Lean Enterprise Research Centre (LERC) at Cardiff Business School-LERC which grew to be the largest academic research in Lean globally.He has undertaken extensive research into Lean and written or co-written twelve books, including the Shingo Prize winning books Staying Lean, Creating a Lean & Green Business System, and The Essence of Excellence.