The Shingo Model - Cultural Enablers


Cultural enablers make it possible for people within the organization to engage in the transformation journey, progress in their understanding and, ultimately, build a culture of operational excellence.

Operational excellence cannot be achieved through top-down directives or piecemeal implementation of tools. It requires a widespread commitment throughout the organization to execute according to the principles of operational excellence. A culture must be developed where every person in the organization demonstrates a high level of respect for every other person. Developing a culture of mutual respect and humility takes a consistent commitment over a sustained period of time.

Lead with Humility

One common trait among leading practitioners of operational excellence is a sense of humility. Humility is an enabling principle that precedes learning and improvement. A leader’s willingness to seek input, listen carefully and continuously learn creates an environment where associates feel respected and energized and give freely of their creative abilities.

There is also a need for humility on the part of all members of an organization. Ideas can come from anywhere. One can learn something new from anyone. Improvement is only possible when people are willing to abandon ownership, bias and prejudice in their pursuit of a better way.

Assure a Safe Environment


There is no greater measure of respect for the individual than creating a work environment that promotes both the health and safety of employees and the protection of the environment and the community. Environmental and safety systems embody a philosophical and cultural commitment that begins with leadership. When leadership is committed, then the organization creates and supports appropriate systems and behaviours.

In short, safety always comes first!

Develop People


People development has emerged as an important and powerful cultural enabler and goes hand-in-hand with principles of operational excellence. Through people development, the organization creates the “new scientists” that will drive future improvement. People development is far greater than just classroom training. It includes hands-on experiences where people can experience new ideas in a way that creates personal insight and a shift in mindsets and behaviour.

An organization’s leaders must be committed to developing people and expanding the knowledge base. Leaders come to realize that expenses for education and training are necessary investments for long-term health; as such, the commitment to this investment does not waver.

Empower and Involve Everyone


For an organization to be competitive, the full potential of every single individual must be realized. People are the only organizational asset that has an infinite capacity to appreciate in value. The challenges of competing in global markets are so great that success can only be achieved when every person at every level of the organization is able to continuously innovate and improve. Elimination of barriers to that innovation becomes the responsibility of management.

Fundamental to the Shingo model is the concept of teaching people the key principles (the “why”) behind everything they do. When people understand why they become empowered to take personal initiative. Managing a team of people who share a deep understanding and commitment to the key concepts and principles is much easier than managing the work of those who are only doing what they are told. Empowered employees who understand relevant principles are far more likely to make good decisions about the direction and appropriateness of their ideas for improvement.

Similarly, when employees have a clear sense of direction and strategy and have a real-time measure of contribution, they become a powerful force for propelling the organization forward.

Respect Every Individual


Respect is a principle that enables the development of people and creates an environment for empowered associates to improve the processes that they “own.” This principle is stated in the context of “every individual” rather than “for people” as a group. Respect must become something that is deeply felt for and by every person in the organization.

Respect for every individual naturally includes respect for customers, for suppliers, for the community and for society in general. Individuals are energized when this type of respect is demonstrated. Most associates will say that to be respected is the most important thing they want from their employment. When people feel respected, they give far more than their hands; they give their minds and hearts.

Respect for every individual becomes a powerful “why” for many of the values espoused by great organizations. For example, simply stating important values such as safety first, empowerment or open communication often fails to create uniform ideal behaviours throughout the enterprise. This is because these values are “whats” that fail to answer for people the question of “why.” The principle “Respect Every Individual” answers the question of “why.”

Example of ideal principle-based behaviour

Leaders


  • All leaders routinely spend time at the actual work locations where the actual work is performed.
  • Leaders continuously seek the input of others, listen to their input and adapt their actions based on what they learn.
  • Leaders in all areas demonstrate a willingness to learn and publicly acknowledge important insights they have gained.
  • Leaders take responsibility for applying principles of operational excellence in their own lives and ensure these principles become the foundation of organizational culture.
  • Leaders engage people at all levels in defining ideal, principle-based behaviours and support managers in the alignment of all business and management systems.
  • Leaders develop systems to ensure they remain publicly accountable for their own principle-based behaviour seeking feedback from all levels and across the entire enterprise.
  • Leaders ensure products and services do not have an unintended negative impact on the sustainability of communities and the planet.

Managers


  • All managers constantly work with others to better align systems with ideal behaviours as defined by the guiding principles.
  • Managers act as coaches and mentors to others in the execution of principle-based systems and are constantly receiving personal and organizational feedback for improvement.
  • All managers are visible in the workspace and demonstrate an openness to listen and learn from others.
  • Managers across the enterprise ensure associates have the information they need to be successful in their work and push decisions out and down to the appropriate levels.
  • Managers create a safe and productive work environment, keeping the safety of all associates as the highest of all priorities.
  • Managers regularly review the skills and competencies required of all associates and work with each one to provide appropriate opportunities for associates to gain new insight.
  • Managers ensure appropriate systems are in place to protect the environment and support for the communities where they are located.

Associates


  • All associates, every day, demonstrate a commitment to the policies, principles and standards developed for the areas in which they work.
  • Associates seek out and learn from others in the organization including leaders, managers and peers.
  • All associates take full responsibility for their own personal development in relation to their contribution to the enterprise.
  • Associates demonstrate an eagerness to learn new skills, take initiative and share their learning and success with others.

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