Our Community Mission - Helping the Automotive Industry

DOING IT RIGHT! This blog is a community work focused on improving the automotive industry, specifically, but it is a "melting pot" of ideas that will help ANY enterprise. The "founding" authors have a combined total of 152 years of experience in improving quality, productivity, costs, and the Quality of Work Life on the plant floor for General Motors, Ford Motor Company, DaimlerChrysler, Honda, Toyota, and many others. Collectively, we have seen "Best Practices" at individual plants and headquarters around the world. And it amazes us how little these Best Practices have been taken up by other plants and other companies. The very things that would have averted the current crisis in the American automotive companies are already in their possession; in one form or another and in one plant or another, they have what it takes to win. Dysfunction in their cultures appear to prevent the deployment of the best. There are still "chimneys" in these companies that have endured all the "chimney breaking" programs of the last two decades. There are still "buzzword societies" flourishing within the companies. And we still see punishment meted out for unpopular successes and failure rewarded. This blog is NOT an indictment of the industry. This IS a collecting place for the Best Ideas for fixing what ails these companies! It is our hope that the best thinkers in industry will contribute their Best Ideas in one or more of our categories here and that the whole will be much greater than the sum of the parts. ......................................................................................................................................... This blog is copyrighted. All rights reserved. Small segments may be copied for either news articles or scholarly papers.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Leading and Managing Culture Change

In this section of the site we mean to examine Big Ideas for leading change in our business cultures.

What culture do we want and why? How do we eliminate fear of change and pull people and attitudes in this direction? What tools are there for assisting us in the transformation process? What are the processes and metrics we need to put into place? And once we know the changes we want and how to measure the "new way", how must our reward and recognition systems change to help create and reinforce the transformation?

At GE, during the Jack Welch years, we performed one of the more successful transformations ever. From a sort of "hide bound", well-entrenched, cautious company with an almost Ivy League institution sort of feel we made a fast-moving, dynamic, growth and cash oriented "dancing elephant." Jack provided a compelling and compact vision:
Be Number 1 or Number 2 or you're out of business
Rationalize everything - if you don't know why you're doing it stop doing it.
Through what we called "Work Out" the company went through the process of rationalizing all the business processes in every business unit - taking out cost and building new speed, agility, and cash. Through this process we not only got a "sleeker", more capable business, we also got decisiveness up and down the leadership ranks.

Finally, there was Crotonville - GE management development institute in Croton-On-Hudson, New York. Investing not only money but his own personal time in Crotonville assured that the vision was being transmitted, that line management on up was given the tools to make that vision a reality, and that high potential people were identified and moved up into critical positions.

To do this we had to look at the organization in different ways.

We would like to introduce some new "lenses" which might be of value in viewing our organizations.

The most important of these is what I call: real time Decision Quality. Promoting Decision Quality is a formal process whereby we align our systems to put more (and more timely) information and knowledge into every decision made within the organization and to make the decision more quickly, turning it into Action as swiftly as possible. All of this of course is meant to make better decisions and turn them into actions more quickly and increase our Operational Tempo to the point where the competition just can't keep up.

Allied with Decision Quality is the process of making Knowledge / Math Based Decisions. The focus here is more on decisions made in planning rather in real time execution of the plan. Of course, too many of our decisions are made using conventional wisdom when we should be utilizing Logic and Math Models already out there.

How do we leverage our new Knowledge / Math Based decisions and the Operating Tempo and efficiencies provided by Decision Quality to turn them into real market place advantages? One way is Variety Based Competition (VBC).

The goal of VBC is to provide a wider and wider variety of more customized-to-customer-desires product but to do so at or less than traditional Mass Production costs and prices. Here again we face obstacles, not the least of which is: How do you produce variety ("variation") when all the SPC tools and controls we have painstakingly put in place are designed to REDUCE or ELIMINATE variation?

These are the various issues and potential solutions we will examine in this section.

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