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  • Writer's pictureAlessandro Lasi

The Sweet Spot / Where Continuous Improvement Thrives


”The point on the club head with which a ball is hit perfectly”

I bet you’ve never heard before about the Sweet Spot related to Continuous Improvement… but maybe you are a Golf player, then you got the point… (or maybe not??)


Whatever the case is, find here below the 3 + 1 top dimensions to build up a winning, self-sustaining, Continuous Improvement Culture!


THE 3 + 1 TOP DIMENSIONS…

After having worked for 17 years as a Continuous Improvement leader for different companies, industries, and at different levels of the hierarchical pyramid, that’s what I found out.


Come on, 17 years, and you come out with 2 arrows and a circle? Just that? Maybe better if you go play Golf than!


And what about the “+1” element you claim?


Simplicity is my answer. People out there love talking a lot about tools (5S, TOC vs Lean, SIX SIGMA vs TPS, the 17 S from consultants, bla bla bla…), I guess because getting just one shot results out of tools or projects implementation is simpler and faster.


However, the real long term game changer is getting Continuous Improvement to its own self-sustainability level.


That’s the Sweet Spot, that’s where it gets embedded in people’s hearts and minds, meaning when a True Lean Culture is built and maintained (and you are likely to recognize it is not about tools). How to get there?


WHERE TO START?


Larry Culp’s hallmark: teaching Lean on the Gemba!

The Sweet Spot (circle in the middle) starts when a clear Top-Down commitment (top arrow) on Continuous Improvement matches with an enduring Bottom-Up involvement (bottom arrow).


Having clear Values and a good Safety Net make this sustainable! That’s what I call the Sweet Spot!


That’s where the game starts being sustainable, and it sticks.






TAKEAWAYS FROM MY EARLY DAYS


Back in my early days, just out of University, I was tasked as a young engineer to improve First Throughput Yield on an assembly line for a Tier 1 automotive manufacturer.


Operators came explaining their issues, why the bracket jammed on the planting machine, what the challenges were with lubrications, why the hour by hour board was red and how it related to that basket of O – rings…


I also noticed the Plant Leader (a Senior Executive responsible for 3000+ employees) sweeping the shop floor…

“Hey, does he really need to do that? Don’t we have money to Pay for Cleaning Services?”


I only realized much later that:

First: People need to feel comfortable to speak about challenges…guess what? They need to feel confident this wouldn’t backfire! Did you say Psychological Safety?


Second: When problems are not hidden, they can be discussed and solved!


Third: Yes, you have a lot to learn from operators, even if you hold a full mark Degree. And even though you are a high-level Executive, it’s a very good idea to show people your humbleness directly thru behaviours! Don’t be afraid of getting your hands dirty to Plant your Lean Seeds!


SO… HOW DO I GET MY COMPANY THERE?

Can you recognize anything about the Sweet Spot?


More details on what it takes to build those 3 + 1 dimensions for a sustainable Continuous Improvement Culture:


· Here’s my VodCast with Dr M

· Stay tuned for the next articles!


WAIT, WAIT, WAIT: AND THE +1 DIMENSION?


Tie it all together!!! That’s the role of Catalysts, like Continuous Improvement Professionals internal to the company.


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