Future State? Blow Up the Current State.

Posted on September 28, 2012 | in Change Management, Lean Tools, Lean Wastes, New Ideas, Process Mapping, Small Business | by

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Sometimes when we look to create an ideal future state of a process or situation, we are so heavily anchored in the non-ideal current state that our biases and familiarity with the old hold us back and actually minimize the impact our improvements can have. We’ve let our biases limit our potential success.

When I encounter such an anchor (such as a limiting groupthink), this is what I do (or tell others that are anchored what to do):

Blow it up.

Everything’s gone. Everything’s new. Nothing’s the same. Vamoose.

And start over.

If you could blow it all up and start over, assuming the customer expectations remain the same, how would you do it? What are our requirements, and why? If you could invent the perfect way to meet customer expectations, how would you do it?

And then map it out. Minimize opportunities for waste activities to plant themselves in the new process. Understand the needs of everyone and everything in the process upstream and downstream.

Will we eventually find that we simply can’t rid ourselves of some anchors? Yes, it’s possible, but it’s also much better to imagine the potential of a life and a process without them! Instead of trying to build something based on the anchors, think big possibilities and scale it back based on anchors you simply cannot eliminate (yet).

Believe it or not, this is where big game-changing innovations start.

The old systems, the old machines, the old steps in the process…they don’t have to be part of the future state if they don’t make the process better. (Of course it might cost some money to change out systems or equipment, but maybe it’s simpler than that!)

Don’t let old anchors dim the future state.

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