Don’t Be Afraid
When trying to solve any problem, a major stakeholder analysis is the way to go. One of the major components of the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence is to analyze the people involved in the process. Leadership, Customers, and the Workforce (categories one, three, and five of the framework) address the importance of having the best interests of individuals on your mind if an individual is worried about the best interests of an organization. Oftentimes, this aspect is neglected by individuals in leadership positions and it leads to the unfortunate demise of an organization. If companies are to succeed in the future, the management of the human being, an individual soul that is often forgotten, must be at the top of the list of priorities for leaders.
It can sometimes be really easy to get involved in the “nitty-gritty” as a person with high stakes in an organization. A leader could be so focused on operations that he misses out on strategy. A leader could be so focused on strategy that she totally forgets about operations. That is the beauty of continuous quality improvement. It allows you to focus on all of these different aspects and bring them together to help identify the major strengths and significant weaknesses of an organization. The key word there is “continuous.” Just because you evaluate an organization for the potential for quality improvement, does not mean that this organization is not currently providing quality. It just means that it can get better.
We have all been to those places we love to visit but really wish they would get their act together in one way or another. I think of the Seinfeld episodes when they would visit that manager of the soup kitchen with the best soup in town. His operations were flawless. The design worked marvelously and everybody understood, after the first visit, what they had to do to make sure they did not get kicked out of the store without receiving any soup. However, when you look at that exact instant, what could have been done to help make that soup kitchen even more desirable for customers or the workforce? Do you think those individuals enjoyed working under a dictator of soup? Was the experience a pleasurable one for the customers? I would wager that the answer is no and no and, despite the lines at lunch time usually being out the door, there is a lot of room for improvement in that lovely soup kitchen. Imagine if the customers enjoyed their experience there, would there not be even more business generated for the kitchen?
It is really easy to neglect the fact that we can always do better as individuals in an organization. Sometimes, accepting the status quo is deemed acceptable, but I would argue that is never the case. If innovation is not happening within an organization, it is surely happening at another institution. As a professional (and a leader), you have a simple choice to make. As a leader, you can continue to work in your niche and excel in that area, or you can take a chance to continue to revolutionize and ensure that you will not become obsolete anywhere in the near future. I do not know about you, but I want to continue to make an impact in this world and the only way to do so is to accept the fact that there is always room for improvement. Admitting that you can do better as a leader is not scary. Don’t be afraid.
* Learn more about Mohammad here: Mohammad Bushnaq