Saturday, March 02, 2013

The "Jesus Syndrome" is alive and well

During my years spent in the business world I never had a fondness for outside consultants. Most of them seemed to gather information from internal workers and then in a fancy fashion produce a glossy report that costs millions of dollars and gave it to the executive team for implementation with the offer to guide the working team through a change or transformation. It was just hard to understand why the company would spend so much money to an outside group when the answers were right under their noses.
Often the outside consultant’s suggestions were met with barrier ridden internal anguish that literally stopped any kind of process improvement efforts that might benefit the customers. I was an internal quality and process improvement consultant for years and my team also met roadblocks and anguish at every level of the organization when change was needed.

Dr. Deming said “Change comes from outside the system.”
What I learned the hard way was that it takes a systems thinking person/team that can see the end-to-end- process and how all the parts are interdependent upon each other to improve the overall process/system for the benefit of the customers. Just as important the finding from this type of analysis must be made in an unemotional manner where the outcomes benefit the system as a whole. This thinking cannot be met with internal people/workers who are blinded as to how the changes will affect them personally.

However, the actual work and changes that must be done requires the subject matter expertise of the internal workers since they know how best to do the job. The key is to mesh the outside analysis with internal expertise and to educate and partner with each other as to the benefits of the whole through the eyes of the customer. This takes a strong leader to make this happen and the work cannot be delegated by the executive team. They must lead the efforts for lasting change to take place. If they do not have the time to do this then the change is not required. What could be more important?
Dr. Shewhart said Changes that result in improvement come from application of knowledge.”

Over the years I called it the “Jesus Syndrome.” Luke 4:24, 28–29

24 And he said, Verily I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country.

28 And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath,

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29 And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong.
Our Education System in the United States is riddled with this kind of thinking both within a school and then with the school’s home district. Administrators, Counselors and Teachers are convinced they each have the answers and any kind of change will only result in failure. Perhaps as I have found it has to do more with additional work and comfort zone than it does with the change.

Note: When I mentor students about College and Career Readiness I often hear a parent say " See he is telling you the same thing I have been telling you." You see because I am from outside the system the student tends to believe me more than the Parent.
What the stakeholder’s folks need to understand the lasting change that must be done needs to be done in a systemic manner that requires a team effort that must be done in the summer where time is more readily available and then the probable changes/solutions need to be tested in the upcoming school year.
Another Bastion of resistance from any outside change or interference is in the Federal, State and Local Government. The best example of this type of inexcusable representation of leadership is what is going on in Washington with Budget Plans -
Look at the City of Detroit who for years and years will not take ownership of their problems and refuses to understand systems thinking and what it means to represent their customers.

Take a step back people and get over yourselves – you are not that important. There is more at stake than your insecurities and self-esteem.

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