Skip to main content

Do you need to change your approach?

Improvement projects rarely run according to plan. You make a change to your business processes and then find out that your initial assumptions were wrong. You gain new insights and these can be re-invested into your revised attempt. The key is to know when to change tack and when to hold.

When the results just aren’t appearing you need to ask yourself if the people who are involved with the change really understand what is happening. This is not a condescending point, this is reality. Communication within a change project often leaves people wanting. The instructions that get handed down are usually lacking and this can lead to a less than satisfactory attempt.

The method that is being used may not be as efficient, or effective, as you may have hoped. If the initial expectation is that there is a lot of work to be undertaken then try stopping the work after a few hours have passed. Can it be done differently? Can a different approach yield results much faster? A little bit of doing and a little bit of thinking can make a big difference to the rate of change experienced. Just ploughing ahead with a less effective strategy does not make sense.

Sometimes the idea just doesn’t seem to work. It might be the idea itself. It might be the people involved with the change. It might be the culture you work in. It might be a number of factors at play. The ability to isolate the handful of factors that encourage success may be outside your control. It is at this point that you may need to consider a course of change that suits the characteristics of your business better.

Knowing when to stick with a change programme and when to tweak it is a skill. It is a skill that can be developed over time and I hope the above helps.

Recommended Actions


  • Review your change projects for their rate of implementation, look for those lagging behind.
  • Decide which projects aren’t a good fit for your business and consider reconfiguring or replacing them.
  • Review the methods being used to implement the changes and question their effectiveness.
  • Ensure that communication of the ‘why’, ‘what’, ‘when’, ‘who’, ‘where’, and ‘how’ is clear and consistent throughout the change process.



Giles Johnston
Author of 'Business Process Re-Engineering', a practical plan to improve business performance.

Popular posts from this blog

Stop firefighting, start performing!

Another weeks passes and another example of unnecessary fire fighting demonstrated by a business I have been to help. If you have this taking place in your business, let me ask you a few questions: 1. What keeps on happening? Regain control with this practical book Can you pin down what it is that you keep having to do, to get out of trouble? If you can't, is there a pattern you can observe? 2. Do you want it to stop? Is it causing you enough of a problem that you want it to stop? If the answer is yes, keep reading, if not park it for another day. 3. Find out what is going on Do you know why you are having this issue? If you aren't sure where the issue is arising from, then take a few minutes to have a look around. When you have some idea, go to the next step. 4. Cause and effect Do you know what is truly causing the fire fighting situation? If you spend the time to get to the root cause of the situation , you have a good chance of permanently eliminating this situation. Most p

Kaizen improvements need to be specific

Do you find that your Kaizen improvements don't always go to plan? If you do, then you're with the majority! Whilst there is great deal of 'trial and error' there is a simple approach that can help. Available from Amazon Being specific about critical parts of your improvement can uplift your results. So, how do you go about doing this? The most direct route is to be clear about which parts of your improvement are critical. From here you can explain, in detail, what you want for those items. This might take some practice as many of us have become lazy in this regard. We take it for granted that our team 'get us' and will know what they need to do. If you ever feel that something basic is missing from an improvement ask this question: "What does good look like?" The answer should put you back on track. About the author: Giles Johnston is a Chartered Engineer who specialises in helping businesses to grow and improve through better business processes and

Are your teams clear?

I have recently finished working with a team that were struggling. They were struggling to meet their production schedules. They were struggling to respond to customer enquiries on time. They were burnt out and frazzled. After some prodding and poking it became clear what their issues were. In particular, it became obvious that expectations of the team weren't clear or defined. Defining what you expect from teams is a standard management approach. The problem with most teams is that leadership describe the standards in vague terms . So, what happens if you get the standards crystal clear? You should expect to see the team produce the right outputs. They should produce the outputs at the right time. And, they should produce them in an agreed way. Be clear with your teams. Ask the question: What does good look like? If you want to get some more ideas on how to define effective standards and visions, get your copy of my book today . What does good look like? is a practical guide to h