Whilst working in a major public sector
organisation, one of the internal consultants that I had been mentoring for a
while asked how it was possible that we always seemed to focus on exactly the
right area to resolve the issues that were hurting the operation, even when it
wasn’t obvious what the issues were. Let alone what the solutions needed to be –
is this some kind of witchcraft?
Although the internal consultant had completed his Green Belt and was currently working on his Black Belt, the subject of an Operational Diagnostic had not been covered in sufficient detail for him to get a thorough understanding of its power and importance. Nor does the belt system (Or any other method of study) give any of us that rare commodity – experience.
He had only the experience of applying the things he’d learned in one environment and as a wise man once said to me “Isn’t ten years’ experience doing the same thing, simply one year’s experience repeated ten times?”
I explained the step by step approach taken when carrying out the Operational Diagnostic, which is based upon common sense, a proven structure to enable the root causes of issues to be identified and the experience across different sectors and industries which can be fed into the development of the solutions required to address these root causes.
I also assured him there was no witchcraft involved!
Regardless of the industry or sector, one key activity is ALWAYS used as the starting point – The Operational Diagnostic. This critical activity gives insight into key business issues, the root causes of these issues and areas for improvement and forms the basis of all improvement activity that follows.
It goes without saying that without this activity, no improvements could be made, no benefits would be delivered and there would be no change to the bottom line (Which is usually the be all and end all for most big companies).
Unfortunately for most smaller businesses, this activity only comes linked to a larger piece of consultancy work and forms the basis for benefit estimations and planning, as well as being used to sell additional services into the client business.
more details about this crucial improvement activity, read Operational