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Home > Business Applications
Barriers to Long-term Improvement
by B. Powell, 8/27/03
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Charles Handy said, "Change isn't what it used to be." And as the rate of change increases, organizational survival depends on our ability to think and plan ahead.

It's a fact that most improvement initiatives end in failure. It's even difficult to sustain initially successful improvement programs. This workshop reviews the feedback structures that can work for us, instead of against us, to create long-term improvement. Participants rank the barriers, see the group's ranking of their relative importance, and learn how to increase improvement initiative success. This humorous and insightful workshop changes perspectives on the root causes of organizational behaviors.

Barriers to Long-Term Improvement (291K): This short paper explains why most improvement initiatives end in failure. It's even difficult to sustain initially successful improvement programs. Here are structures that often work against us, because we don't understand them. But they can work for us.

The Session with the Colorado Springs Chapter of the American Society for Quality:

The session reviewed the barriers to long-term quality improvement based on the systems structures described in the meeting. The structures on which the barriers are based and the Pareto ranking of the barriers are shown in the file on the session. Each of the sixteen ASQ participants used proportional voting to distribute 12 votes among the 27 barriers reviewed.

The top 10:


Experienced Quality ProfessionalsÂ’ Rankings
of Barriers to Improvement


Lack of Management Investment in Training


More Reward & Recognition for Firefighting than Prevention


Excess Short Term Pressure from Wall Street


Reactive Maintenance vs. Preventive Maintenance


Ad hoc Changes to Processes


Excess Focus on Correcting Defects


Job Insecurity Due to Fear of Blame


High Organizational Complexity


Attribution that People Are the Problem


Excess Scope of Initiatives

For a full ranking by ASQ participants, see the Overview and Summary of the session (344K).

URL: http://www.exponentialimprovement.com/cms/Barriers.shtml

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Facilitating Group Action
Exponential Improvement
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Making Strategic Choices
Project Management Dynamics
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