It didn’t happen on my shift, Boss!!

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It didn’t happen on my shift, Boss!!


If there is a culture of blame or finger pointing in any organisation then small wonder there may be little or no appetite for change or continuous improvement. If you are a fan of Homer Simpson (as I am) then that would be considered a ‘Doh’ or a NSS moment.

Deming, the grand old man of Quality, identified this key tenant of ‘Drive out Fear so that everyone may work effectively for the Company’ in his book ‘Out of the Crisis’ written in 1982, over 34 years ago.

Common-sense would suggest that the vast majority of people go to work every day to do a decent job. Common-sense would also dictate that people working at the coalface know most about any given process given that they spend, in most cases, 8 hours a day at it. So it shouldn’t come as a great surprise that they are hardly going to suggest or try anything new if they know they are going to get some grief if it doesn’t work out right. So what do you do?

  • First and foremost, communicate simply and widely that people are human and make mistakes and the key is to learn from them.
  • Secondly, focus on the Process and in a Team based and no blame atmosphere, identify where this human error can occur.
  • Thirdly, tapping into the creativity and knowledge of the foot soldiers, brainstorm as a Team to design out and prevent these errors by simple mistake proofing solutions (Poka-Yoke)
  • Lastly, impress on people the importance of following the Process and if they want to suggest or make an improvement or change that is exactly what we want. The key though is that we follow the company change control procedure to ensure the change is managed, verified and controlled and rolled out to all.

Then it might be an idea to join Homer in Moe’s Tavern provided there is some beer left!!


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