Overcoming Invisible Barriers to the Implementation of Improvement Programs.

CIM Montreal 2003
Abstract In times of crisis, companies usually turn to a formal quality management system, hoping to strengthen their competitive position by improving product quality and driving down costs. Although companies channel much energy and resources into these systems to benefit from them, history has shown that results often fall short of expectations. This is not because the companies lack the technical competence to administer the programs. The problem is mainly due to insufficient attention being paid to changing the organization’s culture. Successful implementation of any quality management system also requires changes in the behaviors and attitudes of employees. Unless people are convinced and willing to cooperate, their improvement potential will not be fully realized.

Numerous articles and case histories have been written to analyze the shortcomings of quality improvement programs. The vast majority of them are concerned with organizational failures and barriers. What has not been emphasized is the fact that emotional issues often act as invisible barriers, preventing employees from fulfilling their commitments. This presentation is based on the Edumine course “Total Quality Management for the Minerals Industry” written by the author, and will focus on why corrosive emotions, such as anger, apathy, cynicism, frustration, etc. can negatively affect an employee’s decision to cooperate. Transformation within individuals is necessary, so that employees will be empowered to subjugate their inner resistance to change. Practical suggestions, based on the author’s experiences, will enable companies to recognize the importance of invisible barriers and develop strategies to overcome them, increasing commitment to improvement programs.
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