Water Well Journal

August 2016

Water Well Journal

Issue link: http://read.dmtmag.com/i/705618

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Page 49 of 71

C ontinuing to do what we have always done and expect- ing different results is the definition of insanity. Given we accept this definition, I submit to you the "status quo" is a reflection of the "continuing-to-do" mantra. Do you agree? Through the past 50 years we have learned and used vari- ous tools to help us examine different ways to do our work. From Industrial Engineering to the Total Quality Management movement of the 1980s' Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI), to Six Sigma and Lean in the 1990s at General Elec- tric, to the current Kaizen and other tools available, we have always been bombarded with the need to change. With that as our entry point, I want to have a discussion on what we do in our businesses and our jobs. In other words, I want to talk about the status quo. We are in the customer service business. We supply sys- tems and services and parts and supplies. Most of you do this work really well. That is where the trap shows itself. "Good" is the enemy of "better" or "best." When we are good at any- thing, we tend to repeat it and we get very comfortable at it. That's the good news, but there is a bad news balance to it. We get complacent and stuck in a rut. You think to yourself, "I am good at what I do. Why do I need to change?" Well, that is when good becomes the enemy. Becoming a Roadblock You get in a rut. You keep doing things the same way you have learned to do them—your way, your good way. Now you become the point of resistance. You become a roadblock. You get in the way of improving things. You start protecting the status quo. Obviously this is both good and bad. It is good if what you do is the best it could possibly be. But how likely do you think that might be? So there's the answer to the title of my article at the top of the page: The status quo is generally a foe. "When the world around you is changing at a rate faster than you are, the end is near," said former General Electric CEO Jack Welch. The truth is the world in which we live is constantly chang- ing and the rate of change is accelerating. The world our cus- tomers live in has changed and continues to change rather dramatically. How have you adjusted your work to adapt to your customers? We introduced an electric engine into business in the 1800s and it replaced the steam engine. We changed the tool, but it took a generation of management before we changed the methods and the processes to reflect the new tool. We intro- duced the computer in the 1950s. We implemented dealer business systems in the 1970s and 1980s. What we did was we copied the forms and put them on a computer screen as an input map and did everything faster. We didn't change much, but we installed the new tool and we were proud of the fact we were up to date. However, today we need to change the methods and the processes to reflect the true advantages of the tool. Because we are in a rut, we aren't jumping through hoops to make changes. We are resisting change. Yet we need to enlist everyone on the team to help us change. How about we do something different? Let's focus on the customer. What are the needs and wants of the customer? Human nature, another oxymoron reflecting the status quo, says we will work harder to satisfy our customer than we will to satisfy our boss. Needs and Wants With that, start with the needs and wants of the customer when we are going to challenge the status quo. Ask the ques- tions of your customers: What are your needs and wants? Do we satisfy your needs and wants? It will be clear what we need to do. If we know what the customer wants and needs, then it should be clear what we need to do internally to satisfy those needs and wants. That is, we need to operate in the most effective method and efficient manner possible. That describes internal excellence. We need to use all the tools at our disposal and evaluate everything we do to satisfy the customer. We then need to put into practice the internal excellence we have identified as necessary. That is quite straightforward. Find out what the customer needs—and pro- vide the methods to excel at satisfying those needs. Once we know what we need to do to excel, it will be clear what kind of training and tools and technology we will need to provide to our employees to excel internally. This is the RON SLEE THE AFTER MARKET THE STATUS QUO Friend or foe? waterwelljournal.com If we know what the customer wants and needs, then it should be clear what we need to do internally to satisfy those needs and wants. 48 August 2016 WWJ

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