Barriers to Success
T.Q. is a radical innovation for most companies, requiring a major change
in attitudes and behaviors. Considerable organization barriers may have
to be overcome.
Radical change will not occur overnight. It takes time to establish
T.Q. firmly in everything we do.
Implementing T.Q. will require our constant vigilance and awareness
of barriers which could be obstructing efforts to improve Quality. We
should be aware of:
- The types of barriers we are likely to meet
- How we can identify them clearly
- What we can do about them
- How to ensure we do not build barriers ourselves when implementing change
It is the responsibility of management to
make quality the unexcelled priority. And the determination of all the
workforce to accomplish that priority. - General Motors.
OVERCOMING BARRIERS AND EFFECTING CHANGE
When looking at business situations it is usual to break problems down
into their measurable elements and begin analysis of the problem from
there. Edward de Bono, in his book 'Atlas of Management Thinking', suggests
that some of the less obvious ways of overcoming problems can be overlooked
by thinking in this 'linear' way. He says that the clarity with which
you visualize a situation is the basis for any subsequent decision or
action. By increasing this clarity the effectiveness of these decisions
or actions may be improved.
In the same way that you do not need to measure a friend's nose to recognize
his face there are images that can be used to simulate business situations
which can generate instant recognition and improved perception.
THE 'CHANGE' IMAGE
In the Total Quality Management Process so far we have assessed 'where
we are now' through the diagnostic survey and through brainstorming. We
have also generated a 'vision' of how we would like the organization to
look. To achieve this 'vision', we will require some kind of change in
the way things are done; the consequences of not changing have not been
defined but they are regarded as not being acceptable. Preventing us from
changing are a number of barriers.
Faced with barriers the usual reaction is to attempt to break them down.
Using the image above, however, and imagining it as representing the flow
of business along a sort of 'pipeline' it is possible to see other ways
in which change can be effected.
Here the old route is simply blocked off. People are forced to use the
new route. Old forms are, for example, discontinued and systems just switched
off. This type of abrupt switch over is necessary when it is not possible
to run both old and new methods side by side imagine
switching to driving on the right over a period of time! The problem is
that it may bring confusion and resentment. To avoid this, the changeover
- Simple to understand
- Much heralded in advance (the actual change becomes
This method may prove to be ineffective. Blocking the old route does
not in itself make people adopt the route you desire. Indeed, if the existing
barriers to the desired route are still in place a completely new branch
of undesirable practices may arise (equivalent to a burst pipe or the
appearance of a new outlet).
Although this may seem the most positive course of action It is not
always the most successful.
Disuse is a natural way to kill off an old behavior pattern. Disuse
will come about if there is a much more attractive competing route or
if the old route becomes inconvenient. Laziness can be a very effective
way of changing behaviors. Allow the old route to persist but make it
increasingly more difficult. Watch out though because the new methods
may also be inconvenient, or appear so, especially at first when they
are new and have to be learnt. One way of causing atrophy of the old route
might be the removal of funding, training or management support for the
'business as usual' method.
This course of action may be regarded as complementary to the last one.
The new route is made to seem more attractive than the old route simpler
and more convenient. This is shown by the much greater width of the start
of the new route. The extra width may be necessary in the first part of
the new route but that is enough. AR that is required is that initial
comparison should clearly favor the new route.
It may be impossible to sustain the extra attractiveness but this is
not deceitful, it is just acknowledging that changeover periods are ones
of difficulty and strain.
We spend far too little time on packaging of change for fear of misleading
people. It is just as misleading to ignore the packaging and expect people
to assess the new situation without any help. If you knew nothing at all
about chocolate and it was not wrapped, would you every buy it?
One point worth drawing from the image overleaf is that through the
initial temptation, or widening of the new route, it can be possible to
encourage change and overcome initial barriers without ever tackling them
- Removing existing barriers
By directly tackling the barriers to the desired route they may be removed,
thus enabling free transition to the new route for any people who should
wish to take ft. Without doubt there are some barriers whose removal is
mandatory before change can be effected, but others can successfully be
overcome in other ways using one or the other change images.
Removal of all the negative factors or barriers whilst opening up the
desired route does not necessarily encourage its adoption. In the above
picture the route to the vision and the 'business as usual' route now
have an equal chance of being followed.