PrintLogin to download pdfCreating change [KI]

One of the questions that comes up on some forums is: “Why is the implementation of Lean/OEE activity so slow?”….or “What can we do to speed up our Lean implementation?”.

I believe that I know a way that you can create huge, unstoppable change almost instantly.

Firstly, I would say that any improvement initiative will be very slow to implement if there’s no driving need to change. In fact I believe that if there is a big enough need to act differently, i.e. enough desire to improve or enough need to stop hurting, then change will be not just fast, it will be instantaneous. I also believe this is to be a universal human truth for all behaviour, not just manufacturing improvement.

The principles of NLP state that there are 2 key motivational factors to enable change:

  1. A need to move away from a current source of discomfort or pain. We call this “away” motivation.
  2. PLUS a desire to move towards a source of pleasure or enjoyment. We call this “towards” motivation.

**read more about motivation types at the excellent Pegasus NLP Blog**

In order to achieve change all individuals, and therefore organisations, need to have an appropriate balance of these 2 factors. Therefore, the ability of an organisation to change is directly proportional to the need for that change to be implemented, and this need is generated by combining the need to avoid particular results whilst simultaneously achieving better performance.

When the right level of “towards” and “away” motivations exist in an organisation we say that the team have ‘a burning platform’ to change. With a burning platform in place change happens. Fast. Unstoppably.

I wrote a blog about “the burning platform” a very short while ago: 


  • I’ve worked in bottling sites that are so profitable (especially in the spirits industry) that implementing minor changes has taken >36 months.
  • I’ve also worked in soft drinks sites where OEE has jumped from the low 50’s to the high 70’s in 12months.
  • Most radically in a powder packaging factory where OEE jumped from 23% (and about to massively short on customer orders) to 68% in only 8 weeks.

The contributing factor in each environment is the level of pain that’s felt by the management and operator teams. In the powder packaging example they were in such deep trouble it was almost literally “change or die”. In this environment change is fast, radical, and all-consuming – infact the challenge is to slow it down and make sure the changes are sustained.

So here’s a really great question for you to ask yourself:

“How can we create the right level of need to change in our business to achieve our business and personal goals?”

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