Achieving Sustainability

To successfully manage the change process, the team must deliver more than just the financial impact that justifies engagement in the first place.  They must also be able to demonstrate that the process is sustainable, and can, in fact, be improved on.  This sustainability and improvement possibility can and should be exploited to the organization’s benefit and should be identified and delivered by the team.

The mutually beneficial relationship that exists between the improvement team and the organization is one that can and should last through several iterations.  This occurs while the organization grows in depth of ability and progresses from process adequacy to competency.  A part of the demonstration of sustainability is the re-assessment of the organizations potential for further improvement.

Table 6-1

Table 6-1

One measure of a competent Team is the ease with which the organization absorbs and adapts to the improved methods and systems that comprise the changed culture.  If the changes have been introduced smoothly and the metrics (quantitative and qualitative) indicate a high degree of penetration after the installation period is well underway, the potential for a process sustainability is high.

If the implementation has been arduous and the organization personnel have been unresponsive, the potential for further improvement may be quite large, but the likelihood of success may be low simply because any additional proposed changes may be met with more than just antagonism.

The demonstration of sustainability is complete at this point, and the results speak for themselves.  The re-assessment of the organization’s competencies should be based on the gaps in ability from a theoretic industry leader versus the progress made to date.  No organization can demonstrate that there is no room for improvement and if the current program has been successful.  Therefore, there should be no serious impediments to moving forward with a re-assessment.

The interactive domains will still come into play, but with a well-established relationship the discussions with decision makers should center on the expectations for the organization not process expectations.

Cognitive domain

No matter what the outcome of the first program, the manager must have confidence that the gains made can be consolidated and built on.  The metrics are the first, best tools to demonstrate the change.  Beyond the financial and other performance data, the reactions and personal input form staff members and members of the general population should serve to reinforce his impressions.

Emotional domain

Change is uncomfortable, even if it is obviously yielding the state described in the visioning process.  Wave upon wave of change in an organization will not be welcomed by the general population.  The re-assessment process must appeal to those individuals who will most benefit from an additional degree of change.  The team members on site cannot expect to make the vast majority of the population happy about additional initiatives.

Behavioral domain

Demonstrating that the changes made are sustainable and that the desired behaviors will continue, hinges on timely and accurate generation of the metrics the Team has installed.  If the metrics are not being developed, published and circulated (not to mention actually used for decision making) the potential for moving forward with improvements is seriously reduced.

The on-site team members can prepare for further work in other facilities and in the same facility simply by delivering a complete, professional product and maintaining professional relationships with the organization.

This concludes the series of articles on the 5 Step Bar of Excellence.  If you would like additional information, please feel free to contact me at