Six sigma in organisational culture, by Kroese brands & behaviour

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Information about Six sigma in organisational culture, by Kroese brands & behaviour
Business & Mgmt

Published on July 13, 2009

Author: KroeseBB

Source: slideshare.net

Description

The power of an organisation is defined by the behaviour of its employees - the way they work together, solve problems and make decisions. In short: the organisational culture. Can an organisational culture be improved according to the principles of six sigma?

Six Sigma in organisational culture Concretising desired behaviour brings efficiency and synergy. Management terms such as customer sensitivity, cooperation and security are i m p o r t a n t t o e v e r y o r g a n i s a t i o n . H o w e v er t h e i r a b s t r a c t i o n c a n l e a d t o t h e s e terms being interpreted in different ways and to a confusion of tongues – and result in waste and ineffective cooperation. Managers who succeed in focussing o n p r i o r i t i e s i n b e h a v i o u r w i l l r e a p t h e b e n e f i t i n t e r m s o f co o p e r a t i o n , c u s t o m e r satisfaction and financial results. T h e p o we r o f a n o r g a n i s a t i o n i s d e f i n e d b y t h e b e h a v i o u r o f i t s e m p l o y e e s – t h e wa y i n wh i c h t h e y wo r k t o g e t h e r a n d s o l v e p r o b l e m s . I n s h o r t : t h e o r g a n i s a t i o n a l c u l t u r e . H o we v e r , d o e m p l o y e e s a l wa ys c o n c e r n t h e m s e l v e s wi t h t h e p r i o r i t i e s o f the organisation and do they derive benefit from effective cooperation? Are they a c t u a l l y f u l l y a l i v e t o t h e p r i o r i t i e s ? A n yo n e wi l l a g r e e , f o r e x a m p l e , t h a t a c o m p a n y m u s t b e s e n s i t i v e t o i t s c u s t o m e r s , t h a t t h e t e a m m u s t wo r k t o g e t h e r e f f e c t i v e l y, t h a t g o o d c o m m u n i c a t i o n i s i m p o r t a n t . B u t t h e n i s i t a l s o c l e a r t o everyone what terms such as these actually mean in everyday practice? S o , b e s i d e s ‘ c u s t o m e r s e n s i t i v i t y’ , t h e r e a r e n u m e r o u s ( a b s t r a c t ) t o p i c s wh i c h a r e o f i m p o r t a n c e t o a n o r g a n i s a t i o n : c o o p e r a t i o n , s e c u r i t y, q u a l i t y, e t c e t e r a . T h e diverse possibilities for interpretation often lead to a confusion of tongues, at b o t h m a n a g e m e n t l e v e l a n d i m p l e m e n t a t i o n l e v e l . F i r s t l y , t h a t wi l l r e s u l t i n wa s t e : e m p l o y e e s a r e o c c u p i e d wi t h t h e i r i n t e r p r e t a t i o n o f t h e g o a l , n o t wi t h t h e r e l e v a n t p r i o r i t i e s p e r s e . S e c o n d l y , d i f f e r e n t i n t e r p r e t a t i o n s wi l l l e a d t o r e s i s t a n c e wi t h i n the organisation, resulting in time and energy being lost due to the attendance of unnecessary meetings and organisational politics. Thirdly, a lot of opportunities wi l l b e l o s t d u e t o t h e i n a d e q u a t e e f f i c i e n c y o f i n t e r n a l c o o p e r a t i o n . T h u s wa s t e a n d l a c k o f c o o p e r a t i o n a r e t h e b i g g e s t c o s t i t e m s f o r o r g a n i s a t i o n s . Six Sigma is a quality management method based on measurements of the n u m b e r o f e r r o r s i n a s e r i e s o f p r o c es s s t a g e s o r e n d p r o d u c t s . ‘ S i x S i g m a ’ a l s o r e p r e s e n t s t h e h i g h e s t l e v e l o f q u a l i t y , wi t h 3 . 4 e r r o r s p e r m i l l i o n p r o c e s s s t a g e s or products. So almost perfect. Could the basic considerations of Six Sigma be 1

a p p l i e d t o o r g a n i s a t i o n a l c u l t u r e ? I n o r d e r t o m a k e p e o p l e a wa r e o f p r i o r i t i e s , t o e n a b l e t h e m t o wo r k t o g e t h e r m o r e e f f e c t i v e l y a n d t o s u r p r i s e c u s t o m e r s b y providing an extremely high level of service? T a k e ‘ c u s t o m e r s e n s i t i v i t y’ a s a n e x a m p l e . C a n t h a t t e r m b e c o n c r e t i s e d i n t e r m s of desired behaviour? In the case of a call from a customer, for example? E m p l o ye e s wi l l i n t e r p r e t i t i n t h e i r o wn wa y . F o r e x a m p l e : ‘ I a n s we r t h e q u e s t i o n . ’ T o a c e r t a i n e x t e n t , t h a t i s b e i n g s e n s i t i v e t o t h e c u s t o m e r . B u t wh a t i f t h e a i m i s for the customer to consider the company as customer-sensitive? The priority can t h e n b e c o m m u n i c a t e d c l e a r l y: yo u a n s we r t h e q u e s t i o n a n d a l s o a s k wh e t h e r t h e c u s t o m e r i s s a t i s f i e d – f o r t h e n y o u wi l l k n o w f o r s u r e ! A n d wh a t i f we g o o n e s t e p f u r t h e r b y l i n k i n g t h i s wi t h i n t e r n a l c o o p e r a t i o n : yo u a n s we r t h e q u e s t i o n , establish that the customer is satisfied and also update the customer management s y s t e m s o t h a t c o l l e a g u e s k n o w wh a t i s h a p p e n i n g . S o t h e a b s t r a c t m a n a g e m e n t t e r m ‘ c u s t o m e r - s e n s i t i v e ’ c a n b e e x p a n d e d i n n u m e r o u s d i f f e r e n t wa ys . F o r e x a m p l e , i n t h e c a s e o f a c o m p l a i n t , wh e n a p r o d u c t i s i n t r o d u c e d a n d s u c h l i k e . That is how an organisational culture becomes concretised, measurable and manageable! In the example given above, for instance, customers can be asked f o r t h e i r o p i n i o n wh e n t h e y c a l l b y a s k i n g a q u e s t i o n : ‘ I a m g i v e n a n a n s we r a n d a m a l wa y s a s k e d wh e t h e r I a m s a t i s f i e d . ’ S o , a c c o r d i n g t o t h e p r i n c i p l e s o f S i x Sigma, it is possible to measure how employees score in terms of behaving c o r r e c t l y i n a wa y t h a t wi l l m a k e a n o r g a n i s a t i o n s t a n d o u t . D o e s n ’ t t h i s wa y o f wo r k i n g c r a m p t h e i n s p i r a t i o n a n d r i c h n e s s o f i d e a s f r o m e m p l o y e e s ? O n t h e c o n t r a r y : b y c o n c r e t i s i n g b e h a v i o u r a t p r i o r i t y l e v e l , t h i s wi l l e n a b l e t h e m t o d i r e c t t h e i r i n i t i a t i v e s c a r e f u l l y a n d a d d t h e i r o wn i d e a s . I n t h e e x a m p l e g i v e n a b o v e , a n e m p l o y e e a s k s wh e t h e r a c u s t o m e r i s s a t i s f i e d . H o w t h a t customer is satisfied is still a question of initiative and the personal responsibility of that employee! M a n a g e r s wh o h a v e c o n c r e t i s e d a b s t r a c t m a n a g e m e n t j a r g o n a t b e h a v i o u r l e v e l h a v e f o u n d t h a t t h i s i m p r o v e s c l a r i t y wi t h i n t h e o r g a n i s a t i o n wh i c h i n t u r n l e a d s t o i n c r e a s e d p r i d e , b e t t e r c o o p e r a t i o n a n d l e s s wa s t e . I n s h o r t : a s t r o n g e r organisational culture. Drs. Theo Kroese (theo@kroese-bb.com) is the founder of Kroese brands & behaviour. 2

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