When discussing management, it is important for culture to reflect improvement when issues arise. That concept starts with management, which is why we believe there is a powerful dynamic between management and culture. We teased this thought with our Friday quote a couple weeks ago from Isao Yoshino, which read; “Managers need to create a culture where people are not afraid of making mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes. We can learn many things from the mistakes we make.” A great deal of this idea goes beyond someone making the mistake and finding the root cause of the issue. Typically, we can find that many mistakes are avoidable if the process were error-proofed--poka yoke in Japanese. This means putting devices into a process to prevent the possibility of error. Not literal devices in all cases, but some do actually require a physical device to prevent errors. An example of this would be standardizing a daily report and automating it rather than having an employee copy-paste different data sources. This is a simplistic example, but something that companies are exposed to as the copy-paste style of updating a report is very error-prone.
Powerful Processes For Culture ChangeError-proofing is not an easy task. However, it is usually relatively easy to find an issue in a process because something has gone wrong! Once something has gone wrong, the root cause and corrective action (RCCA) process typically begins (unless you are working through a more proactive improvement process).
Two common methods of root causes analysis are Fishbone diagrams and “The 5 Whys.” A fishbone diagram or Ishikawa diagram is designed for managers to work to brainstorm reasons why something went wrong. Essentially, this is a cause and effect style activity. Once all the potential reasons for an issue are laid out, you can begin to work through how to improve upon them.
The idea behind The 5 Whys is to ask “why” five times and you will get to the root of the problem—pretty simplistic, but highly effective. After you get to the true root cause, you can work to implement countermeasures to prevent the problem from happening again.
Additional Dynamic Management TacticsOther methods of root cause and problem solving include Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA) and the DMAIC cycle. FMEA is very in-depth and involves forming a cross-functional team. You then identify the scope and possible failures, causes, and consequences. Each failure should have root causes associated with it. Also, you must identify the controls in place for each failure causation. For each consequence/effect, rate the severity from 1-10. Do the same for each cause and the occurrence rate. Evaluate the detection rating for each control on a scale of 1-10 as well. When you multiply the severity, occurrence, and detection, you get the risk priority number (RPN). This ranks all the issues on a numeric scale and should be addressed from greatest to smallest. Each action to resolve these should have a target completion date.
The DMAIC cycle stands for design, measure, analyze, improve, and control. You define the problem, measure the problem in whichever way makes the most sense, identify the cause, improve by implementing an action to address the root cause, and control by ensuring the improvement is working. It is usually seen as a cycle since the process would address one problem at a time. This is one of those activities where the entire issue does not get resolved in one DMAIC in most instances, but the group usually tackles a small piece of the problem at a time.
These are only a few of the ways that managers can work to improve and learn from mistakes. One of the most important keys to management is ensuring that the culture of a team or organization is understanding of mistakes and willing addresses how to fix them from happening again. A good manager will take note of issues and help employees or coworkers navigate these problems. What other powerful dynamics between management and culture do you believe exist? Comment below!