I spoke with an executive that complained about the quality of information she was getting. Part of her complaint was that she was being “shielded” from certain types of information. These shields may be put up by people that want to protect their turf or appear to be better than they are. Whatever the reason, the result is that the higher the level of management information from the lower echelons of the organization becomes more filtered. Sometimes, the information received at the top bears no resemblance to the genesis of the information. Yet CI (continuous improvement) depends upon fast, accurate information.
However, the ultimate responsibility for the success or failure of any CI initiative rests with the CEO. Who else in the organization has the absolute power to force decision-making processes to fall in line with the goals of the organization? Who else has the absolute power to hold all levels of the organization to achieving performance improvement goals? This is something that Jack Welch, former CEO of GE, picked up early in his career and this realization looks to be instrumental in his approach to management and creating the culture of continuous improvement at GE. His autobiography “Jack – Straight from the Gut” is a great read.
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