In my last post we all had a good giggle about how some improvement methods relegate the actual improvement to an afterthought, with managers doing it as a result of being sold and persuaded of a really good idea provided to them by a consultant type.

It would be wrong however to think that implementing the actual improvement is the last thing on the consultant’s mind.
In fact, it is the very last….


Of course I’m being totally unfair and one-sided. It’s what keeps me going.
In the traditional consultancy model, a guy coming in to sell recommendations either literally or metaphorically, has to have an exit at some point, whether they are external or internal consultants. If you leave, then there has to be something that happens last before you leave, it’s only logical.
The problem is, is the actual improvement itself the very last thing that has to happen? Just before the cleverclogs slips out the door onto the next set of people who want to be told and sold the answer?

In the pic above in the bit I’ve circled, there’s a curious equation.
The equation E=Q*A stands for…

Excellence=Quality multiplied by Acceptance

I.e. the excellence of an improvement project is equal to the quality of the solution itself and the degree to which it is “accepted” by the clients. Seems eminently reasonable, but the”quality” of a solution that ISN’T accepted by clients, ie the bit that is everything else OTHER THAN WHATEVER IS ACCEPTED? Whats that worth? I’d say it’s basically zero. It’s zero because it’s untested and only an opinion on a set of bullet pointed PowerPoints. The only actual quality of a solution is permanent and sustainable improvement in place for long after the cleverclogs has departed.

This entry was posted in command and control, lean thinking, plausible but untrue, public sector, systems thinking, vanguard method and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to E=Q*A FFS!

  1. fivebaldwin says:

    First off given the shear visual impact (rectangles, ovals, arrows, bullet points, stickies, oh my!) and polished corporate words of this diagram how can it be anything but successful? I’m sure the hours some consultant put in were far more valuable than finding out how well purpose is being met. This was another great post. I realized also how I am not properly fulfilling my role in this system (you blog, I read) by not regularly offering feedback. Thank you for this blog as your insights seem to always come at just the right times for me. Please keep at it!


  2. Monocled Mutineer says:

    And on the front line: Buy-in means “Daylight frontal assault on the machine guns next week! What song do you want to sing when we go over the top?”


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