Why isn't my program working?

Updated: Jun 21, 2021

Success shouldn't be like pulling a rabbit out of a hat..

Many well-intentioned improvement programs run into problems and need new life breathed into them.

Restarting or re-invigorating these isn't magic, but rather is about going back to principles and ensuring that the overall program is aligned with the organisational vision, is understood by everyone, is achievable and is focused on building capability and learning - not just quick fixes.

Top 3 issues we see...

Things slip back to 'old ways' of working...

​You've spent time and effort developing and introducing your new way of working, but when you review a few months later you see that this hasn't been fully adopted and many of the old ways are still in play. Things are now more confused with multiple processes in place. So what happened? Well, we've seen this before and know that this can be caused by one of many factors such as;​

  • not involving process owners fully in the planning

  • not uncovering the real processes going on

  • ineffective hand-over for 'business as usual'

  • missing the 'why' and the principles behind the change

  • insufficient senior leadership support for the change


The situation can be recovered​ by ensuring that all the stakeholders are engaged and that the causes are discussed openly, so that a better way of working can be developed. This may also uncover cultural issues such as employees feeling that they can't voice their concerns, so its often beneficial to have a neutral party to help create a 'safe environment' for open discussion.

You can't replicate the success in other parts of the organisation...

​You've had some successes and attempt to do the same thing in the next function or site, but it's not working. Leaders or employees tell you it feels imposed and that anyway their area is different, so it wont work for them. This often occurs where there is;

  • no overall roadmap or global expectations established at the top

  • leaders and employees don't know the 'why'

  • silos prevent sharing of good practice

  • resistance due to unaligned goals and objectives

  • trying to fit a square peg in a round hole

Part of the solution is allowing the new area to take ownership and bring their own flavour and to go through the process of developing ideas to build ownership, all still using the core principles of operational excellence to ensure alignment. What might work well in a high volume manufacturing line, may not be right for low volume batch processes, a laboratory, or an office.

The 'Big bang' has turned into a wimper...

​You've kicked off lots of operational excellence improvement projects and initially these have gone well, with high enthusiasm, but later you hear that these projects have stopped, people don't have the time and once the change team move to another area, the change stalls. The promised benefits are not being realised - what is happening? This can often be caused by over-optimistic teams just starting and thinking short rather than longer term by;

  • doing the wrong projects

  • doing too many projects

  • lacking visibility of all the projects / monitoring

  • not planning or executing projects well

  • not embedding changes fully

Taking advantage of high enthusiasm at the start of the Operational Excellence program is a must, but this needs to be tempered with the sustainable use of resource and considering the time it takes to change behaviours. It is far better to do fewer improvements extremely well and let these embed. Senior Leadership must help all levels to deploy strategy so that they are achievable. Think SMART. Having expert change management advice will help avoid many of these pitfalls.

If you think you are ready to let us help you develop your OpEx Roadmap, contact us today;

Email: michael.bladon@incight.co.uk

Mob: +44 (0)7747 166448

Tel: +44 (0)1235 550988

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