After applying the X-Matrix as a tool to engage people throughout the entire organization in strategy and change, the final step to convert the new way of working into standardized work is to develop a culture of countermeasures.
“We have moved towards a culture of how we are acting on deviations. Any issues that require actions are handled in the same way. As soon as we identify a need for change, we can immediately apply our way of making improvements as our employees already know how to act. The way we communicate has become easier, faster and more responsive.” – that’s how Juha Heljakka describes the countermeasure culture within Brand ID.
This culture requires the CEO to switch into a coaching role: not doing the work, but leading the teams to find impactful measures, strictly focusing on the process and allowing for ‘learning-by-doing’.
Caption: KAIZEN™ culture requires the CEO to switch into a coaching role: “The way we communicate has become easier, faster and more responsive.”
Impactful countermeasures are the template for the future. Originating from the Toyota Production System (TPS), countermeasures are distinct from problem-solving methods in that they do not identify root-causes, which can be a time-consuming exercise given the number of variables to be analyzed in any business. The approach is to rather develop the ‘best method of the day’, allowing fast improvement. The aim of a countermeasure is to rectify the trend, or correct the course of direction quickly, to keep the business on the right track, even when preventive action may not be immediately clear (as all the root-causes have not been uncovered yet. Countermeasures seek to implement improvements fast, without having to wait for the perfect solution.
“We analyze quickly, then make sure that we see a wanted or unwanted effect from what we are doing, and then fine-tune the direction. This we do every day, based on the learning through our team board, where we record feedback from outside and inside the company and discuss it in a pragmatic way. This gives confidence to communicate more ideas, more plans, more ideas to correct, leading to a more proactive culture”, says Juha Heljakka.
This type of countermeasure culture promotes a wide-range of learning opportunities within teams, rather than just remedying a problem in a rushed way. The result is a communication system with no unwanted surprises.
That is it!
Once this new way of working has become a standard practice, it empowers a company to succeed and grow, regardless of the severity of the storm. This is enabled by making strategy a business’ daily business, by focusing on creating positive impact and making deviations visible every day, and by building a countermeasure culture.