HOW DOES THE SHINGO MODEL TRANSFORM CULTURE?
Over the twenty-four years The Shingo Prize has been studying and evaluating companies, we have sadly learned that the vast majority of improvement efforts fail to sustain themselves long enough to achieved the promised returns. Organizations that have been successful at long-term organizational transformation, universally, have done it by fundamentally changing the culture of their organizations.
Culture cannot be changed by merely implementing a “program” of continuous improvement, by immersing large numbers of people in training programs, simply by organizing many improvement “events”, nor by assigning the work to a charismatic personality. Culture can only be affected by changing the way people think. Operational excellence is only achieved when everyone, top to bottom and side to side, align their thinking and hence behaviors with correct principles of operational excellence.
It is often said that; “the only thing that you can count on to remain the same in any organization is the fact that it will change”. Leaders change, products change, markets change, competitors change, strategies change and even visions change. The only things that can provide grounding for the culture of an organization are the principles upon which it is built.
Principles are universal truths that govern the outcomes or consequences of a particular action. Principles have always been true; they are true now and they will be true in the future. Only when the values and mindsets of every single person in the organization become anchored in correct principles will their behaviors and therefore the culture, change.
THE SHINGO MODEL
The Shingo model represents ten guiding principles that govern the creation of operational excellence and organizes them into four dimensions. Additionally, the model includes what is called the transformation process (the diamond). This diamond illustrates the critical relationship between principles, systems and tools. When leaders focus on these principles and managers align systems to drive principle-oriented behavior, the transformation of the culture is accelerated. Improvement tools, which have historically been our point of focus, enable the systems; they must never stand alone.
It is true that changing a culture is a long-term process, however; by using the Shingo model any organization can begin to systematically manage and even accelerate the process.