I just saw a new webinar from the Lean IT Association called Lean IT in Action -A Tale of Two IT Transformations. Very interesting. The basic premise of the webinar is that organizational transformation takes time and commitment at all levels. It takes holding employees responsible for carrying out the commitment. It means doing the hard work first, even if it’s not fun or sexy. Here are some examples.
The presenter, Mike Orzen, paints a picture of two organizations implementing Lean Management. One organization starts by implementing tools, enlisting teams that want to implement lean, and generally follows a more organic approach to the system. The second organization focuses on defining their purpose, principles, and systems first, defining responsibilities, and holding managers and teams accountable by memorializing those responsibilities in employees’ position descriptions. While the first organization had immediate success, the second organization had sustained success.
I think this story can apply to any organizational transformation effort. Our moms used to tell us to eat our veggies first, then we could have dessert. There’s a lot of wisdom in that. The basis of Orzen’s point is that we need to do the hard work of getting our strategy and processes in order first.