Culture: Creating An Environment of Sustainment

Is it the culture of your organization that is blocking sustainment? Most will tell you that one of the biggest challenges in implementing a 5S strategy is capturing the elusive element of Sustain. An effective 5S process is built around the elements of Sort, Set In Order, Shine, Standardize and Sustain. Quality leaders are typically very adept at implementing the first four elements, but struggle with the last. More times than not, the blame for the struggle is culture. Fact is, culture may be in the environment, but the root case is leadership failure.

Culture Change With Strong Leadership

Leadership is the elusive quality required to change the culture of an organization. Successful organizations understand the deep rooted connection between the culture and the leadership. It is never easy to be a leader. Effective leaders inspire others to success. They create that inspiration through several important behaviors:

– Effective Communications – They know how to communicate vision, goals and expectations clearly, without being a tyrant. There is no such thing as a ‘one-sided conversation.’

– Standardize Work – A great leader is present in the work area to communicate, train and support workers. There is a clear process and they demonstrate it in everything they do.

– Clear Responsibilities – Every worker clearly understands their responsibilities. Great leaders ensure these responsibilities are reasonable and balanced between workers. Assignments and responsibilities are not randomly determined as the day goes by.

– Creating the Team – Flexibility is the key to success, and a great leader enables an understanding of teamwork. Workers see themselves as part of a team that is required to achieve goals. When things happen, workers jump in to help out others to meet common goals. This must become instinctive.

– Accountability – Nothing defines a leader more than accountability. An effective leader holds themselves accountable publicly, in everything they do. They set the standard. They then can hold others accountable to the established standards. A great leader will never walk past or ignore a violation. They seize the opportunity to understand why it occurred, explain the standard, provide training as required and support the worker involved. Meeting the standard is a daily habit for effective leaders.

Changing Leadership Changes Culture

Effective leaders are so present and involved in the environment that the culture changes without much fanfare. Their presence encourages and inspires quality and team spirit. When you hear that an organization has a culture that is adverse to change, they understand the issue is really about focused leadership. Change always begins at the top.

“You need to overcome the tug of people against you as you reach for high goals.”

George S. Patton

Contact us at 6Sigma.us and find out how we can positively change the culture and operations of your manufacturing unit. We offer Green Belt and Black Belt training programs, as well as a Master Black Belt program.

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