I have talking to several service organizations that want to know more about systems thinking.  Some have Lean Six Sigma, Lean, Six Sigma, TQM, technology, customer service training, etc. or some combination of these.  Most of the Lean Six Sigma folks I have spoken with are already coming to the conclusion that  LSS does not work the same for service organizations as it does for manufacturing.  I command for recognizing this.  Others are disappointed in their inability to sustain the improvements.  One executive described their efforts as “we fix one problem only to create 2 – 3 more and the ones we fix are broken within a few months.”

As a “reformed” Master Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma I can tell you that LSS has many shortcomings and have blogged about many of them. Other efforts in customer service training fail in other aspects as they assume the problem is with the worker only.  The reality is the problem lies in the system . . . the people, the technology, the work design, motivation, decision-making process, etc.  I have seen people attempt to make things better, but not change their thinking about the causes of waste.  Their organizational change management programs focus on the symptoms and not the causes of these wastes.

To have sustainable improvement organizations must choose a path. One leads to more tools and treating of symptoms . . . or for those that believe they are improving . . . “doing the wrong thing, righter.”  The other path is a systems thinking approach that leads to better thinking and treating the organization as a system.  You have a choice.  You may want to know your options.

Tripp Babbitt is a speaker, blogger and consultant to service industry (private and public).  He is focused on exposing the problems of command and control management and the termination of bad service through application of new thinking . . . systems thinking.  Download free Understanding Your Organization as a System and gain knowledge of systems thinking or contact us about our intervention services at [email protected].  Reach him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/TriBabbitt.