It is critical, as Covey has stated, to “begin with the end in mind.” In addition, we may also stray from problem to problem.
Too often when we are tackling the problems of our business, we try to boil the ocean. We then tend to find ourselves playing “whack the mole” as issues arise. During this fire fight mode we are simply that, putting out fires. We may or may not get to the root cause of the fire – eliminating the risks for next time. By doing that we also have not performed the most important step: sustain. During a PDCA cycle, (plan do check act) we much see the results and adapt our plan to make sure the root cause is sustained and does not happen again. If we are in the damage control mode, our ability to truly assess (check) the results are limited. The most important thing has our attention at that time.
We must have a vision. When approaching a problem we must analyze the situation. What is the current state? What is the vision – the end desired result – the goal? In between the current state and vision state we have obstacles. Complete a successful solution to the obstacle and progress towards the goal. By doing this slow progressing and many PDCA cycles the results are more easily obtainable. As new obstacles present themselves a new problem solving event occurs.
Consider the current state your beginning destination and the vision is your travel destination. Along this path you left the Garmin at home, but you have an idea of the general way. During the trip you may face weather, road construction, traffic jams, general directional issues – but you have the idea to go north. You have a general idea of how to get there.
Several off ramps, detours, and stops later – you arrive at your destination.
- Continuous Improvement Plan Do Check Act (supplychainimprovers.org)
- PDCA Revisited (palletone.com)
- Plan, Do, Check and Act (palletone.com)