Years ago when I began to understand how Dr. W. Edwards Deming’s philosophy intertwines.
Deming (statistician) indicated that only about 6% of the problems are caused by bad or unwilling employees.That means that 94% are not caused by the employees…
I could not have that right before, but felt that he probably had a point there.Only when I could put the link with “bad Processes” and the (chosen) blindness of the management to do nothing about those bad processes, I started to understand it.
When you as a manager try to improve the processes, you admit that they are not optimal, you take responsibility for bad processes on you (vulnerable), you can actually no longer blame a (innocent) employee for problems ( And you as a company are weak when an accident occurs.
After an accident, it is much simpler to find something where the victim has not completely kept up with the procedures.The victim is then guilty of his/her misfortune. No compensation can be requested by (relatives of) the victim and by saying “even tighter” on the procedures and arranging for further training, the company easily gets rid of it.
Break the Spiral
If you as a manager do not see the procedures as a protection for the company, but as a tool to be able to work safely and efficiently and as protection for the employees, you also actually admit that most problems do not arise by Unwilling employees, but by bad processes (which makes benevolent [94% employees get into trouble).
An involved manager supports his/her employees in the continuous improvement of the processes.They do this together because the employees know the best that works well and safely and the manager is like certification (many industries such as automobile and medical do not want any changes in procedures at all) and influences to other departments (System Think). When the employees themselves can improve the processes (in a systematic and scientific manner), the “compliance” (you adhere to) is much higher than if it was drawn up by “a specialist”.
Addition 26 June:
I make a clear separation between behaviour and work.In behaviour I have clear boundaries and I do not tolerate that people have no respect for each other.
Work is different (except behaviour such as avoiding work, blaming someone else, etc).If someone has a problem I’ll never blame anyone, but investigate where the problem comes from and try to make that part of the work easier and clearer (improving processes). The employees get so more confident, don’t have to guess how to tackle certain things and we have a faster walk through with less problems…
Yes I recently fired someone, but that was because that person received a sick message every 3 weeks at another doctor for each time another complaint.This had been going on for over a year under the previous owner. This is again clear behavior (which cannot by the bracket). Everyone was relieved when I told about the resignation.
I once heard a nice example of Toyota.A new employee at the lacquer turning department was telling exactly how he had to mix the lacquer components. When there were complaints that the lacquer did not want to dry, the foreman came to him and apologized because he himself apparently did not do anything well.He reassured the new employee and together they explored the steps. It soon became apparent that there were two almost identical cans of lacquer components on the shelf next to each other. The employee had taken the wrong look. The cans were then clearly marked and the look that was not needed was stored somewhere else. The procedure was adjusted so that it was clearer. Then there were never more problems.
How it usually goes….
However, if you blame the employee, it will not tell you exactly what he had done.You will be hard behind the real cause (elusive and vague answers). Because of this, you can’t really make any improvements, and other employees are probably making the same mistake. You have not created a situation where there is no guilt, learned and improved.