Determining Your Speed of Change

Excerpted From: © 2021 Manufacturing Mastery: The Path to Building Successful and Enduring Manufacturing Businesses; Taylor & Francis, Author: Rebecca Morgan

“I have long advised clients that together we will identify and implement new strategic capabilities as quickly as they can handle. One of those strategic capabilities is always the ability to effectively create and integrate value-adding change more and more rapidly. Why would any business choose to improve its competitive position more slowly than it could? Changing faster than it can risks breaking the company. As leaders we must master walking that fine line as we advance it.

“What does breaking look like?

“In the 1990s, Toyota decided to significantly expand its geographic footprint and number of operations. Unfortunately, it did so faster than it could effectively embed its business operating system, extraordinary design thinking, and expectations of working towards perfection in the new operations. That growth-oriented decision diluted those critical aspects of the company’s success worldwide. Its internal process performance standards effectively fell. Quality problems arose and other challenges, though less obvious to the customer, continue. Breaking doesn’t have to mean close up shop, but it certainly means a turn for the worse…

“Reacting with an on/off mindset–changing everything or changing nothing–fails without exception. Go fast, but not too fast. It is the leader’s responsibility to ensure that the organization responds smoothly to the requirements of change. At any point, an organization has a maximum rate of healthy velocity and then acceleration. To prevent breaking, leaders must establish a governor to ensure it is not exceeded. As the organization gains agility, the cap increases, and the business changes to reach the new capability. Finding that sweet spot is a requisite skill for leaders to constantly build and adapt.”

Manufacturing Mastery

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