Why won’t people engage with improvement plans?

One of the issues that crops up most frequently when 4PS.Co run improvement workshops is “how to engage Clients in making the improvement”.

They describe how they’ve got a team together, done the analysis, created a plan.  It all sounds good.  Actions are SMART, clear about Who, What, When, Where and How.  However, when they come to implement the plan, they struggle to get others to make the changes necessary to deliver the improvement.  You know, people just won’t “get on board” and they wonder why.

So we ask them how they went about the implementation and, almost invariably, they go on to describe how they’ve assigned actions to others in their teams or other departments, hold regular reviews, follow-up with those responsible for the actions.  All great practices.  Yet, somehow, it all seems like too much hard work to get things done.

–  There’s no enthusiasm.

–  People have lots of good reasons why things are running late.

–  They just don’t seem to be engaged.

Why is that?

Well,we may be being a little unfair, but it seems like they’ve pretty much just given everyone a “To Do” list.  And, we ask you, how enthusiastic would you be if someone came along and gave you a list of “things to do”?  No real explanation, just more stuff to get done.

So what’s missing?

Very simply, it’s the “other W” – Why!

They forget that what really got them so excited about making the improvement was their sense of how much better things would be when they got it done.  Life is easier for everyone.  Results are better.  Customers are happier.  The company is more successful.  In short, they had a clear VISION for the improvement they wanted to make.

“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders.   Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.”      (Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, writer)


4PS.Co provide a story that cover this VISION and forget about WIIFM

WIIFM : its a shortform for ( What’s In It For Me ), yes its individually but yet we are an entity that present the business.

  • What’s the improvement opportunity we have identified.
  • Why it matters that we make the improvement.
  • Evidence to demonstrate how things are now.
  • A clear picture of the future – how things will be better. What will the impact be on the company and individuals.  What benefits will be seen –and here it’s especially important to identify the benefits for individuals – the WIIFM (“what’s in it for me?”).  And here, a tool like Stakeholder Analysis may be useful.
  • The overall plan of how you will get there.

Even better is to present the “Vision story” in a part-finished state, inviting the others affected to contribute their own ideas on how the improvements will be achieved.  This gives you the double benefit of a better plan and more engaged people; it’s now “their plan” not “your plan” and, of course, we’re naturally more committed to things we have created.

As a 4PSer, Yes WE care !

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